“The best a man can get.”
For too long we’ve allowed taglines such as this one dictate what a man should be. We’ve allowed our relationships to be affected by them as well. Toxic masculinity can be seen worldwide, and has been widely accepted on many different levels. But how does this affect our mental health as men and our relationships with the women we love?
I sit and watch as two young boys are wrestling with each other, making sure they do not come too close to my daughter. One of the boys, clearly bigger than the other, pushes the smaller boy down. That boy then runs to his mother in tears. Now I sat back and watch as this mother grew angry with her son. She told him, “What the hell are you crying for? Get back over there and push him back!” Sounds crazy right?
Boys become men and those men make decisions based off of past experiences and what they learned. So when it comes to relationships, how does his learning lessons in life dictate how he will react in a relationship?
Remember that young boy we talked about earlier? He is now in a relationship and his current girlfriend has done something to hurt his feelings, so how do you think he will react? This man was taught to show no emotion but anger, just like a huge percentage of men are taught. We aren’t taught how to vocalize our emotions, rather, we sit and stew in them while building anger and frustration and take that out on the ones we love. Sometimes men do so in violent ways.
Domestic Violence is no game. But this behavior is something that stems from toxic masculinity. Most times, it comes from a man not understanding how to deal with his emotions. Is that an excuse? Far from it! Rather, if we understand the problem, we can then work on a solution. There are many different signs to look for in these types of men, many of them have been deemed “cute” or desirable by many women. But, this is a very dangerous concept and has brought many women to a very toxic relationship. What are some signs to look for in men that may battle with this toxicity?
Extreme homophobia – Now many will disagree here, and that’s ok. But, a straight man does not have to worry about being gay. The only thing that makes a man gay is an attraction to another man. So when you have someone on an extreme level, it raises questions. Why is this even needed?
Extreme manliness – Someone who always has to prove that he is a man. They are not proving it to you, they are trying to prove it to themselves. There is a saying “what’s understood doesn’t need to be explained.”
No emotion – A man that does not understand how to release his emotion is very dangerous. That means he only knows anger. Now I am not saying find a man that will always cry, but, rather one that understands a balance of emotions is important.
Misogynistic – Now this should be a clear sign, but it is not. Many women find certain things appealing and many of those things fall in this category. We live in a new day and age, a lot of these ideas are very outdated and certain men will use these ideas to gain control, or to feed into their egos.
Now I hear what you are probably saying. “What does a new day and age have to do with this?” Listen, laws have changed, women are no longer only homemakers or maids, and women are now very vocal in how this world turns. So the idea that gender roles have a place in this world now is dated. But many men still hold those same ideas and live by them. It is very dangerous. How can we change this though?
If you know you struggle with some of these, seek help. It is perfectly fine to realize you have a problem, but it is not ok to never seek help. It is also our job to make sure we do all we can to not raise our kids with these behaviors. We should make sure we teach our boys and girls about this early. Remember we are always continuing to better ourselves, the moment you reach the point where you feel perfect? Then you definitely have a problem.