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The Root Cause of Men's Shame: Women

Why don't men talk about their feelings? Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, knows the answer: it's all about how men and women deal with shame.

The surprising thing, as Brown found out in her research, is that men's shame is actually not primarily inflicted by other men. Rather, it is the women in their lives:

... for men, the overarching message is that any weakness is shameful. And since vulnerability is often perceived as weakness, it is especially risky for men to practice vulnerability.

What Brown also discovered in the course of her research is that, contrary to her early assumptions, men's shame is not primarily inflicted by other men. Instead, it is the women in their lives who tend to be repelled when men show the chinks in their armor.

"Most women pledge allegiance to this idea that women can explore their emotions, break down, fall apart—and it's healthy," Brown said. "But guys are not allowed to fall apart." Ironically, she explained, men are often pressured to open up and talk about their feelings, and they are criticized for being emotionally walled-off; but if they get too real, they are met with revulsion.

Andy Hinds of The Atlantic has the post: Link


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Men feel shame because they feel they must live up to a certain gender role in order to be attractive to women, but I call bullshit on women actually enforcing it to any substantial degree. Often, we have our own conclusions about what others think and feel and project those conclusions onto the actions of others.
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Mature, healthy people of either sex are not motivated by external judgements, including shame. Nor do they stay in relationships where the expectations of the other party make them feel shameful.
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I'm glad that it didn't apply to you, Edward - but the old stereotype of the strong silent males exist, and this research by Brene Brown is one attempt to explain why.
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