There’s a popular notion that some people are logical and others emotional. Do you identify with one or the other?
Stuffing your emotions down inside will lead to illness like heart attacks, headaches, ulcers, alcoholism and addictions. In my case, buried emotions elevated my blood glucose to the point I’m diabetic. I had a childhood where emotional display was not encouraged nor welcomed.
I see this “logic” claim from men, mainly. They often say their superior intellect allows them to make decisions without silly emotions getting in the way. I see it in TV programs where couples are buying a house. She loves the kitchen and wants to buy the place while her husband pumps the brakes and says “Let’s check out the area and think about it.”
Look, let’s face it — those who claim to be logical are deeply emotional. They can’t admit it, nor can they help it. The husband who doesn’t want the quick house purchase is displaying of one of the most powerful emotions — fear. Anger often does the dirty work for fear.
Fear can come out as sarcasm (veiled anger), withdrawal, avoidance and, as in our house-buying male above, an inability or unwillingness to make a decision.
I’ve seen it as a mediator facilitating couples splitting up. The wife is done, shut down emotionally, while the man is angry. In fact, the anger is a front. He’s scared shitless of being alone in the world. One of my goals as mediator is to make the session a safe enough place for him to admit it.
I no longer mediate but I often wonder what happened to my couples, if they found a way to move forward in their new roles as ex’s and/or co-parents of their children, or if they continued to hate each other. The latter is a pretty harsh way to bring up kids. How do you expect any children to learn how to resolve conflicts if they don’t have good role models? It’s therefore unsurprising that both divorce and long-term, healthy marriages tend to be generational.
The epitome of manly men exhibiting manly emotions are NFL players, who proudly exhibit their aggression in each game. Google “football” and “aggression” and you’ll see the two are so linked there are ways of training that bring them together.
It’s also true in hockey, where fights between players bring a crowd to its feet. I was surprised — well, not really — to find out some players are recruited onto teams just for their fighting abilities. They’re not expected to score goals.
Professional sports are must-see TV for many people, and unhealthy aggression can’t help but infiltrate their brains. There’s an idea that men who get into bar fights, who drive aggressively or call down others on social media think themselves superior to those who exhibit a more measured response.
I think women have an easier time — now more than ever — when they rage against social issues, call out a boss for being passed over for promotion or ask for a day off to recover from the death of a pet. Or maybe they just find ways to express themselves that keep them out of jail.