by Stephen J Cocconi 2009©
To my Men friends and clients:
I have been one of those men who you could say: walked the “road less traveled.” It has seldom been glamorous, yet often perilous both socially and financially. While it has been a most rewarding journey, it has sometimes been lonely and often frightening.
I have been a person who because of principle and fear eschewed the competition of the marketplace and thought of myself as an outsider, I was aware of the alienation that I felt toward some, and other times felt that they held it toward me. Yet, over time, I have heard these sentiments expressed by many men! That they also, even those traveling a more traditional course, have felt alone and even estranged from other men. The years have made me curious and my desire for connection caused me to seek out men of various ilks. I have discovered some common dilemmas that many of us share, at least in part.
I call these “the dirty dozen of men’s isolation.”
- He is a man of very few or no friends. But almost certainly he has no-one with whom he shares his vulnerable emotions deepest desires or unforgiven secrets.
- He is a man who has been depressed or quiet until he allows himself a bit of alcohol, or pot, to open up…then, it is usually with women.
- He is a man, who might be very committed to his marriage, but his wife and he seldom have sex, talk deeply about their relationship (unless it involves money, kids, or health), and might not even socialize together any longer.
- He may be a single man, who continually looks for a woman to fulfill his every need without seeing that neither his money nor his persona will sustain a long term honest relationship. Then usually, he blames women for the difficulties.
- He may be a man who now believes, as his father once did, that humor, fun, play, tears, are childish, frivolous, or unmanly.
- He is a man, who might be deeply religious or spiritual but uses it or God to justify his loneliness as proof of his uniqueness, or a divine burden of a quest.
- He is deeply distrustful of other men, fearing confrontation, defeat, loss-of-face, or secretly, even violence.
- He is a man who believes he must be in control; to be respected, feel safe or have power in his life. So he adopts and defends staunch views, beliefs, or dogmas in the name of “that is what a man does!”
- He is a man who is caught in the better-than or less-than spiral. He shows one persona for work, one for family, one for friends, none of them the same or real.
10. He is a man for whom external rewards, titles, accolades, and accomplishments are the only things define who he is or give his life meaning!
11. He may be a man whose life has not played out the way he wanted it to and now fights bitterness and cynicism and beneath the surface, shame and regret.
12. He is a man, who in spite of monetary success, still longs for some sense of meaning, aliveness, passion, purpose, or contribution.
What is there to do about these conditions that befall modern men?
One answer, and the best I have discovered so far, it to seek healing in the fellowship of men!