As is becoming a mini tradition in The Normal Male land…I have provided (below) a comment and response between myself and a reader that found me on the web. It is becoming quite apparent to me that there are a number of women who are interested in the troubles of the males in their lives and this is becoming a place to share and vent…all of which I welcome.
I wrote a post earlier in the week about Dead-Beat Dads and received comments that ranged from men laughing it off to women who struggle to understand why men don’t pay attention to them and their children. I liken it to the photo accompanying this post in that males, and I have done this for sure, can have so much pent up anger about being wronged in their lives that the only “chip” left to play is their participation. And, too many women have witnessed how men will use their participation as their carrot stick when not showing up for a visit or missing out on a school or family event.
Participation is the weapon of choice in every aspect of their life and that of yourself and those around you. The irony is that so many of the dead-beat dads out there don’t even know what it is they are rebelling against by ignoring their partners and children.
You will see my theory below and know that it comes from years of observation, work, and discussion with men, women, and children. We can all learn a lesson though which is that whenever we “steal” another human beings right to speak and advocate for themselves we pay a steep and emotionally expensive penalty down the line.
It has become common place to tell others what they are feeling, when, how, why, and/or if they are wrong for the emotions they reporting. When dusk falls, all each of us has is the body we were given and the thoughts running through our mind ( I choose not to explore religion/spirituality here) and if we treat our mind and body with disdain and with very little trust then you know what…we will act out in the name of preservation.
Men have feelings…haven’t been taught how to interpret them, when to share and how, and the impact of not doing so. The result? Young fathers who end up being the “repo” man in their own lives. They want to go back to a time when they had a “say.”
No excuses. Just the truth. Doesn’t take men off the hook, in fact it puts the hones on them. Just because any one of us was not taught something does not mean we can’t learn or develop a few tricks along the way. Oh and by the way…guys can’t use the excuse anymore that, “I’m too old to change” because science has proven elasticity has more growth potential in your brain than even your waistband. Get off the couch. Participate in your responsibilities and don’t worry about being perfect. Showing up is 90% of the job–believe me!
Enjoy the exchange of comments below….
Normal dads… I think a BIG problem is the age of men who have kids. A lot are younger, and I’m not making this into an excuse for men, but no matter how much a 22 year old father loves his child, he is still unable to get away from being a “normal” 22 year old male. Is it really that hard to realize your responsibilities?
My ex, the father of my son, has been a dad for almost 3 years now, and he still doesn’t get it. It leaves me to be mommy and daddy. It’s exhausting, and sad. I don’t get any help because he’s too busy being 23.
Dr. Rod’s Response:
I greatly appreciate your honesty and am saddened by your current experience…but not surprised….only because I hear that all of the time….I have to think that soooo many males feel like they have been slighted (many don’t even know it) since they were little and so now they want to “show you” and me that they can make their own decisions.
Too often when boys are young they are told how to feel, act, to not show emotion etc…The long term effects are just now being realized.
When a young child falls and skins their knee–it hurts. When an adult tells the child (boy) that it doesn’t and don’t cry a mixed message is sent…which is…
…that you can not trust your body or your mind. In our adult world that would be like going into a room that is boiling and being told it isn’t and in fact it is cold…we might feel crazy inside and learn a lesson not to trust what we feel.
Our society has gone to great lengths to say males are not emotional beings when in fact we are and if we don’t get training on how to handle those feelings…well then watch out!
Thanks again for your comments and I wish you well.