The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

The Frustration of Expressing Masculine Emotions

A blog colleague recently posted an extremely well-expressed break up note. I don’t know if he actually sent it the note to his ex. Perhaps he only wrote for his blog. He posts anonymously, by the way. You can read the whole note here but I’ll be quoting the most relevant quotes in this post.

If your goal was to reconcile with me, repeating the usual pattern of ruining a perfect night by rejecting me wasn’t the smart thing to do. I don’t know what I’ve done with words or with actions that made you believe my response to tonight’s rejection would be anything but negative. Did you take my kindness for weakness or something?

I’ve read books on this stuff. Rejection piles up. Our fight started 8 days ago because, after that wonderful date, you said, “I’m not feeling it” at bedtime. You didn’t want to have sex then, and it pissed me off. The best way to reconcile was not to repeat the exact same thing again last night.

My first reaction was “that’s a lot of butthurt going on.” But on consideration of this bloggers age and life experience – quite similar to mine – I mentally retracted my first reaction and replaced it with “He makes a lot of sense”. As both the blogger and I went through the 80s and 90s, we experienced the full cultural typhoon of “men should be more in touch with their emotions.” We were expected to be sensitive, new age guys (SNAGs)

Machismo was ridiculed and the phrase “don’t be so macho” was heard often. Of course, the hypocritical irony of this era was when Ms Magazine published a photo of a nearly naked Burt Reynolds as a centerfold, a la Playboy. [Thanks to commenter Zorro, I have to change this to Cosmopolitan magazine. It was not Ms Magazine] Reynolds was the sex symbol of the day and he was certainly the opposite of the SNAG. Too many guys growing up in that period of social history transformed themselves into SNAGs.

This blogger is angry because he was rejected sexually from a woman with whom he had some heavy emotional investment. He expressed is anger in an excellent and eloquent way. He’s not whining, he’s expressing his frustration with that situation as a way of dealing with it in an emotionally healthy way. He’s not being insulting. He’s not being critical of all women. But there is definite anger is in his words. Good for him.

Our society has a real problem with masculine anger. When that anger is manifested as physical violence, it gets serious attention. The public, especially women, assume that if one man expresses his anger through violence, all men will do the same. So, ordinary guys feel the pressure to suppress their anger.

Sometimes a guy erupts in strong verbal anger that inevitably ends up on the Internet. Certain male spaces are a perfect place to express that anger. Reddit has several subreddits where a man can vent his spleen about women, sex, relationships, society, whatever. Here’s a classic example. Because the anger stands out so much, all the words from other guys around the rant mostly go unnoticed. There could be 10,000 thoughtful and reasonable comments or blog posts, but it’s the angry ones that get shared around the ‘Net with the typical man-shaming remarks. It’s extraordinarily predictable.

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28 thoughts on “The Frustration of Expressing Masculine Emotions

  1. Great post, PM.
    People, especially women, need to understand that masculine anger does *not* automatically mean violence against others. It may not even mean violence against inanimate objects…sometimes it’s shouting, needing to be left alone (this is my own way of dealing with frustrations), punching pillows, breaking worthless crap (I have a coworker who saves irreparable consoles to smash with a hammer for when he’s pissed), or just venting (my lover’s preferred method).

    It is insulting to know that there are people out there…again, usually women…who view every man who posts about his anger as “violent”. Apparently the only emotions a man is allowed to show are the positive ones. Sadness, anger, depression, and frustration are simply “too much”. And Gods forbid the guy should actually cry…

  2. “I’m not feeling it.” As if he always feels it, planning dates, remembering anniversaries, paying, working, paying and working some more, humoring, complimenting, etc., etc. As if a bang (surely not so unpleasant even when one isn’t “feeling it”) were such a horrible burden.

    There is no such thing as relationship equity with a woman like that, one who sees no obligation or even advantage in preserving and advancing my health and happiness and well-being. You’re well rid of her.

  3. Jon was discussing this only the other day.

    Men are told on one hand that “bottling it up” is seen as unnecessary machismo, as toxic masculinity, as dangerous to sanity; and on the other that the only way to “let it all out” is the girly, effeminate way. This creates four behaviours. 1: The guy who rejects the girly emotions, sees bottling as his only solution and holds back until he erupts, by which time someone is going to suffer. 2: The guy who embraces the girly emotions and does everything he’s expected to do, lowering himself in everyone’s eyes, even his own. 3: The guy who tries to let it all out, doesn’t do it “emotionally enough” or “in the right way” and is told off for not crying into a piece of cake (at which point he becomes a 1 or a 2). 4: The guy who disregards it all and uses his own company to vent his natural emotions in a way that becomes him.

    All have problems. The first guy snaps, the second guy is dragged through the dirt, the third guy can’t sustain his behaviour and the fourth can become a social pariah or confused with the first.

    We live in a society that genuinely doesn’t understand what emotions men feel, when they feel them, how intensely they feel them and how they let them out. People think that a hot chocolate and a chit-chat is what guy 1 needed to avoid snapping. That guy 4 is an idiot bordering on a breakdown. That guy 2 is sensitive and good, but maybe too emotional. That guy 3 is socially awkward and in danger. We push men to becoming women and won’t take “no” for an answer.

    • patriarchal landmine on said:

      yes, and unfortunately all 4 of these men will end up psychologically tortured in one way or another.
      1 gets henpecked until detonation, at which point the rage just will not stop. his outbursts are fueled by further shaming language that he is “bitter and mean.”
      2 will be openly called a pussy and a faggot by men and women. he will slide further into the abyss of depression and self loathing, likely never to escape.
      3 and 4 are probably the most healthy to masculinity, but are still forced to suffer the indignity of endless shaming language and harassment for being a genuine and honest person. they might succumb to crippling self doubt after enough time and enough abuse. even if he doesn’t, it will be a persistent problem as long as women are considered to be the “correct” form of emotional human being.

      the collapse might be the only solution worth a chance of straightening out these problems, by this point.

      • Sadly all true. My only hope for any sons I have is that they inherit the low empathy that runs in the family so they’re happy to act according to their nature and strive for Alpha independence, despite the social problems it could cause. Otherwise the world as it’s going could destroy them.

    • No that are not the only options. A man can learn to be a Stoic, to only deal with what he can affect and let that kind of silliness pass by him

      Those options listed are feminine in nature and not appropriate for men

      • That would fall into group 4. Not all men are capable of stoicism and those that are will likely become social pariahs as they are very easily confused with a group 1 guy about to explode. Stoicism and/or fast emotional processing is just another way of managing your own emotions in a vacuum.

        Also, considering it was not myself but a men’s man who came up with them, I can’t say for certain if the options are masculine, but I can say I trust his judgement and that I have observed all four behavioural types “in the wild” so to speak.

  4. Thanks for the comments, Private Man. I always love your insight. For the record, 90% of that post is exactly how it was sent. I added 10% to express more macro issues with post-divorce dating, such as the ‘baggage paradox’. Which, if I do say so myself, is a funny zinger.

    Psychologists claim men are conditioned to express anger, lust, and sometimes happiness. As a result, (they say) we redirect other emotions to those three. If this is true, then it stands to reason that the male way of expressing frustration should be as equally legitimate as any other.

    You have a way of writing about high issues in easy to understand language. I love your blogs!

  5. “When that anger is manifested as physical violence, it gets serious attention.”

    Don’t i know it. Even imaginary ‘violence’ simply as a written word to express an idea capable of getting through female solipsism – to evoke empathy – to put one’s feet into someone else’s shoes.. will do the trick.

    The middle half of my post using the John McCain joke:
    http://whoism3.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/an-apology-of-sorts-and-other-stuff-that-happened-yesterday/

    • Holy heck…M3! How are you, man?

      • Hey Tarnished. Doing good, you? I’m still just lurking for the most part 😛

      • I’m good, still blogging, wishing I had the time to finish everything in my drafts…you know how that goes.

        If lurking is what you need for yourself, keep doing it. Take care of yourself, watch your health, and keep going your own way. Maybe one day you’ll grace us with an update or two. You have helped so many in the manosphere already…hell, you were my first red pill follow! Some of us just want to know you’re doing okay. Glad to see you’re still around.

    • Very true, M3. Certain female bloggers complained about the InCel post where it was discussed that you felt like “punching a woman in the face” for her talking about going a couple of weeks without sex.

      So let me get this straight. It’s not OK for a man to actually punch a woman in the face. That, I get. But a man writes that he FEELS LIKE punching a woman in the face (doesn’t actually DO IT, just says he FEELS LIKE doing it because of some stupid incendiary thing some woman said), that’s also “violent” and “antisocial” and “threatening” and “dangerous”?

      He can’t release his feelings at all not even by WRITING about them and talking about how he honestly feels? Even the mere writing down of a man’s feelings is dysfunctional? WTF?

      • It’s pure solipsism…
        They can’t empathize to the point where they’d understand such emotional turmoil, especially in regards to a topic that’s already over used by feminists. (The fact that they’ll constantly say men like M3 are exerting “male entitlement” by talking about a lack of sex/intimacy, as though he’s stating he automatically deserves sex from random women…which he never says.)

  6. I guess those women who tell men to express more emotions, often just don’t know what they are asking for. On some level they assume he has the same stuff on the inside, as she does. Not something I’m going to shame women about, since it’s impossible to know everyone, until you actually listen to them while they are honest. But once men become honest, their feelings are foreign and unexpected, and there is feminism around to explain them away as something unnatural and evil. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    • “But once men become honest, their feelings are foreign and unexpected…”

      How so?

      • Well, for one, a man, when asked what he really likes in women, sexually, might answer “big boobs and youth”, but that would be offensive to the woman. He might also admit to his gf that other women are tempting too, but he’s not gonna cheat. That might be offensive too. Or if his gf asks him to rate her sexiness between 1 and 10, he might say “7”, and she’ll be sad because it wasn’t a 10 (this problem crops up surprisingly often!). Yet none of those things mean the man loves her any less, or is trying to cheat or upgrade.

        Or it might be about anger. Instead of crying in some situation, a man might get angry. Or explain to her that sex is actually very important to him, and she’ll find out that his sex drive is higher and less discriminate than hers. All this might sound animalistic to a woman who doesn’t understand. At worst, she’ll conclude feminists were right. At best, embrace his (and her own) human animal nature.

      • Thanks for the explanation.I suppose having all male friends for so long has made me used to this, so I didn’t understand what you were referring to.

        What I don’t get now is how saying “other women are tempting” or “I think you’re a physical #” is offensive? I’ve heard both from my lover, and it’s fine because *I* certainly don’t own his body. Of course other women are tempting…I point them out to him when we’re out and about, lol.

        On anger: So long as you’re not hurting anyone (non-human animals included) or destroying someone else’s property, I think the vast majority of anger release methods are valid and healthy. Keeping it bottled up can actually be life threatening after a while, as it leads to problems involving the heart (increased blood pressure, swollen ventricles), prostate (prolonged stress usually results in difficulties ejaculating), and digestive system (“coping” by over drinking leads to liver problems, “coping” by over eating leads to increased weight gain, poor body image, potential diabetes, hyperglycemia, and gout). This doesn’t even touch on what it does to one’s mind!

        If women truly cared about their men, they’d be supportive and happy he trusts them enough to cry/show anger around them.

      • “What I don’t get now is how saying “other women are tempting” or “I think you’re a physical #” is offensive?”

        I think it comes from believing that your way is the right way to love – a mixture of solipsistic thinking and maybe erroneous beliefs stemming from society. I have the impression that a woman in love thinks her man is a 10, even though she would not rate him that way if he was just some random man on the street. He is the most fuckable man to her, and no one else compares (of course it might change later, I’m not saying this feeling lasts forever), so he’s a 10. Men, on the other hand, separate lust and love more easily. But a woman might think he should be more like her, and lust only after her, or else she feels jealous.

    • Anonymous Reader on said:

      I guess those women who tell men to express more emotions, often just don’t know what they are asking for. On some level they assume he has the same stuff on the inside, as she does

      Yes, female solipsism combined with feminist lies all but guarantees this.

      But once men become honest, their feelings are foreign and unexpected,

      And alarming to women. Because for all their talk about expression, women do not really want to know inner details of a man’s mental life. They just don’t.

      and there is feminism around to explain them away as something unnatural and evil.

      Sure, because “men bad, women good” and other lies of feminism.

      But it doesn’t have to be that way.

      For it not to be that way, women would have to actually view men as human beings rather than a combination of robot, vending machine, and beast of burden plus women would have to actually respect men. I don’t see either happening very much, and the combination of the two? Almost impossible.

  7. “Of course, the hypocritical irony of this era was when Ms Magazine published a photo of a nearly naked Burt Reynolds as a centerfold, a la Playboy.”

    That wasn’t Ms. That was COSMOPOLITAN.

  8. patriarchal landmine on said:

    women fear our anger because they know we can use it to change things.

    women don’t want us to be allowed to have that power. to women, power and “equality” are a zero sum game. of course, we have seen what happens when women are allowed to have power, but the ladies themselves haven’t gotten the clue.

  9. lol, and then people like Emma Twatson go in front of the UN saying we “can’t express our feelings”…

  10. really good to see you’re still around, PrivateMan. Good post.

  11. InvisibleInk on said:

    I’d co-sign the overall tenor of the comments here. Male emotions are typically pathologized, described as violent/scary, and generally demonized. A man in pain, yelling, is seen as sick or crazy. A woman in pain, yelling, is seen as liberating, empowering, or worthy of adoration.

    Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to create a false dichotomy. I’m just saying that, when people talking about The Patriarchy and Feminism, etc. etc., and someone like (as mentioned earlier) Emma Watson gets up trying to involve men in the discussion/ask for their help, there’s a disconnect going on which makes plenty of otherwise stand-up fellows grumble, side-eye, and walk back the way they came.

    But, a lot of commenters mentioned that “society” doesn’t understand this. And I just wanna emphasize this point, because when we talk about “society,” let’s be REALLY CLEAR that we’re talking just as much about other men as we are about women. There are, in fact, just as many men who simply don’t understand this topic as there are women going about trying to discuss it as wrong-headed as you please. Sure, we can try to reach across that aisle to the women in this discussion, but I’d rather start by asking our fellow guys why aren’t they speaking up about men expressing their emotions? I mean, can we get a Jon Stewart or an Anderson Cooper to say: “he’s not violent — he’s upset.”

    All that said, change on this is not going to come from women, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, but from other men standing up and expressing their emotions and other guys just letting them be without acting/pretending to think they’re scary.

  12. Pingback: Then There’s Me | A Northern Observer

  13. An epic citation – thanks for posting this.

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