Help for Male Anxiety and Angst?
As the words manxiety and mangst suggest, it is about the worries, burdens and perceptions that lead to anxiety or angst in men.
What is Manxiety?
Men and women can suffer from stress and anxiety. The world we live in today raises expectations of efficiency and effectiveness. The internet has led us to get used to a quick service and as a result we are less patient and more demanding. Companies and other organisations are always looking for ways to cut costs and improve productivity. Individuals look for ways of doing the same by getting the best telephone, broadband and energy deals. The world is becoming a tougher place.
Success brings its own pressures too. You might have the nice house, car, holiday and family but do you have the garden Jacuzzi yet or the second car? Do your children go to the best schools and are they performing well?
Historically men have had to do battle and face competition from others. Men may compare themselves to their friends, relatives and colleagues unfavourably. If a friend gets a new 4 x 4 do you feel under pressure to do the same?
Anxiety or angst affects both sexes but manxiety refers to stresses that a man typically, but not necessarily exclusively, experiences.
What Leads to Manxiety?
In the not too distant past, men were seen as the protectors of women and children and in doing so needed to exert an appearance of power, courage and invincibility. Women came to expect this of their men which added to the pressure they may feel under. Weaknesses could be exploited and so these denied and covered up as much as possible.
Possible Historical Substitutions in Modern Life
The sword has been swapped for the oratory skills – sarcasm, verbal put-downs, intellectual bullying or threats
The chariot or steed has been swapped for a car, 4×4, motor bike – road rage, speeding, hogging the fast lane can all be a sign of competing on many levels
The castle or fortress has been swapped for a house or apartment – fences, boundaries, disputes with neighbours and the need to protect your space add stress and tension
Even though in modern times we no longer fear for our lives outside of our castle or home, genetically, the same pressures may be present.
Even more recent past influences including generations of male relatives (father, grandfather, uncles etc), bring judgements of manliness. Watching films as a child (think of John Wayne westerns) can add to a male child’s a perception of how he should be: tough, brooding, uncompromising.
The Influence of Historical Maleness
If we take the idea of the stereotypical adult male with these sorts of influences, he may :-
Avoid seeing his doctor about an issue unless or until it gets serious – the implications of this avoidant behaviour can be fatal.
Believe he has to keep problems and particularly emotional difficulties to himself – it’s a hang up from misunderstanding that only weak men cry.
Shy away from even telling his friends that is struggling with something – often this is a fear of being shamed, bullied or teased by friends. Historically he may have been challenged for his position if a man’s problem became apparent
Suffer in secret believing that he will be judged harshly if he admits to any issues.
Feel the pressure of introjections (an internalised sense of someone else). He may mirror the judgments of his older male relatives, such as a father or grandfathers even though they may have died some time ago.
He may fear a loss of independence and worse still become dependent on someone else.
Feel more competion as women become more equal in society and challenge him – how will he and others judge him if he loses a promotion to a female colleague?
Feel a growing sense of depression if his wife is the breadwinner and he feels less of a man maybe?
Society is Changing But Have Inherited Genes Kept a Pace?
Today it is more acceptable that the male and female roles aren’t as well defined or as rigid as they used to be. Women can now fight on the front line in a war. Man can become house husbands and be the primary carer for their children. Men can be the cook and women have the more practical DIY know how. The world of men and women has become more flexible and roles can be interchangeable.
However, whilst many men and women have made the transfer to a more homogenised sense of roles and responsibilities many men have retained a historical perception of their place in society. They still feel that they should be the one to lead from the front and emotionally to hide what might be seen as a chink in their armour.
Perceptive Weaknesses May Actually Be Strengths
Manxiety can be reduced by changing your perception of who you are and who you believe that you need to be. Anxiety is often caused by the difference between fantasy and reality. Trying to live up to being John Wayne or your father will never bring you happiness.
So the release of anxiety begins with acceptance. Acceptance of yourself for who and what you are right now. Denial will not help you and depression may be the outcome if you feel trapped in a role that becomes more and more difficult to sustain.
Depression is a sign that something is wrong and needs to change. In the past depression has been viewed as a sign of weakness. In reality depression is a sign of strength. To have depression means that you have endured an unhealthy and non-thriving situation for far longer than anyone else would have done. You have, if you needed to, proved your resilience. Now it is time to resolve the situation that caused the depression.
Suicide rates amongst men are 3 to 5 times higher than in women. Putting up with manxiety is not worthwhile and taking self-responsibility can be life-changing and as well as life-preserving.
It can take courage to admit to doubt, difficulties or problems. In fact, if we turn an old perception on their head, it can be a weakness not to take self-responsibility to seek help. Sharing a problem really can provide release and relief. It’s interesting to notice with your friends how they can then feel able to admit to their stuff once you have done it.
Hypnotherapy Helps Manxiety and Mangst
Steven Harold is an experienced London based therapist. He uses hypnotherapy and EMSRP (Expressive Meta-Schematic Re-Patterning) to help men change their life-limiting perceptions. He recognises that it takes courage and strength to admit to a problem and ask for your help. He provides a confidential therapy service that respects and protects your need to privacy.
by Steven Harold BA(Hons) DCH DHP Hypnotherapist & EMSRP Practitioner in London and near Essex