Trail Mix

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The Male Mode of Depression, Part 2: Where It Comes From

The three most destructive words that every man receives when he’s a boy is when he’s told to “be a man.”
Joe Ehrmann

In part 1 of this series of articles (here), we found out what male depression looks like. I started there because I wanted you to know what we’re talking about and to have an idea of how it differs from so-called “clinical depression.” Armed with that knowledge, we’re now ready to explore how men get that way. If we know that, then maybe someday preventative measures can be put into place. In the meantime, let’s start our exploration by picturing a young boy standing in front of his father, step-father, brother, uncle, grandfather, coach, male teacher, priest, minister, or any other significant male figure in his life. Picture him hearing, over and over again, the words, “Be a man.” …

The Male Mode of Depression, Part 1: What It Looks Like

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Henry David Thoreau

The official diagnostic criteria* for depression include such symptoms as a sad mood, loss of interest in things, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, and so on. These symptoms are pretty obvious, so we might say that someone who has them is “overtly” depressed. Further, it’s interesting to note that statistics show at least twice as many women get diagnosed with depression as do men. Does that mean that women are more depressed than men or is there something else going on here? We’ll see that it’s not so obvious when most men are depressed, thus the term “covert” depression gets applied informally. What does this male mode of covert depression look like? What makes it “covert?” Let’s find out! …

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Relationship Using Self-Justification

I yam what I yam.
Popeye the Sailor Man

Your relationship started out great. You were crazy in love, wanting to spend as much time together as possible. Your partner was perfect, couldn’t do anything wrong, made you feel terrific! And now? They drive you crazy! At some point, the reality of your partner set in. You noticed some things that didn’t sit well with you and you mentioned them to your partner. All you got back were justifications for why they were right and (even worse) why you were wrong. Now, they don’t listen anymore. They don’t care what you think. How did you get here? What happened? Can we please go back to the way we were (you say)? Let’s look at what happened and whether your relationship can return to it’s former glory. …

The Tragedy of the Walkaway Wife and the Too-Late-Woke Husband

“Why didn’t you tell me you were this unhappy?” asks the Too-Late-Woke Husband to the back of his wife’s head as she walks out the door rolling her eyes.

This article is aimed at all you clueless husbands (I would say you know who you are, but you don’t). Also, severely discontented wives might find it interesting to conspicuously leave a copy around the house before they finally give up on their relationship. The idea here is to wake you (the husband) up to the reality of your wife’s negative feelings about you and your marriage before it’s way too late. Many a husband doesn’t get “woke” (as the kids say these days) until they watch their long-suffering wife walk out the door with suitcases in her hands. They have now become a “woke” husband, realizing that their wife really means business. …

Coming to Terms with the Reality of a Difficult Relationship

“I don’t want to believe it!”
Female Client

Over time, I’ve worked with many people in difficult, if not toxic or abusive, relationships. These have included women married to confusing men on the Autistic Spectrum (formerly called Asperger’s Disorder), men married to angry women with Borderline Personality Disorder, and women married to verbally abusive men. With few exceptions, these people have trouble coming to terms with the reality of who they married. “I never realized.” “He wasn’t like that in the beginning.” “I felt sorry for her and felt I could really help her.” “I don’t believe it!” “I don’t want to believe it!” and the ever-popular “What do I do now?” In this article, we’ll explore some of these situations, why they occur, and what to do about them. …

Inside the Head of an Abusive Man

Abusiveness is not a product of a man’s emotional injuries or of deficits in his skills. In reality, abuse springs from a man’s early cultural training, his key male role models, and his peer influences. In other words, abuse is a problem of values, not of psychology.
Lundy Bancroft

Contrary to popular belief, abusive men are typically not clinically mentally ill, deranged, or have so-called personality disorders (Narcissistic, Antisocial, etc.). Instead, they simply believe that their behaviors are perfectly OK and justified. In this article, we look at the beliefs the abusive man has, his mentality you might say, and offer you an opportunity to gain some perspective about someone you might know (husband, father, grandfather, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, boss, priest, minister, President of the United States, etc.). …

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