A Mental Health Moment
By Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPCC, CCHt, Licensed Mental Health Therapist
The Truth Contributor
The majority of my clients are females but I do have an astounding number of men who see me for individual counseling. I applaud them due to statistics that often show how females outnumber men in seeking counseling. In addition, both genders are often seeking help with relationship issues and state their frustrations on how they “just don’t understand” the opposite sex. I also see individuals who are not heterosexual and also seek relationship help.
Both genders suffer from disappointment, frustration, unhappiness and broken hearts. Regardless of sexual identity, I felt it important to address the issue of men and their emotions. I hear time and again from women that men seem to just be able to experience a break-up or disappointment without any regard to showing emotions.
Over the many years of counseling, I can attest that those men do carry many emotions and, yes, they even cry. Men and women process emotions very differently but it does not mean that either of them hurts any less when it comes to matters of the heart and overall emotions.
I have a current male client who is heterosexual and who volunteered to give some feedback on his mental health and emotions. Of course, he will remain anonymous for purposes of this publication but I will address him as Ben.
Ben has been my client for almost two years, he is in his late 20’s, has never been married with no children. His purpose for seeking counseling was due to a break-up from a long-term relationship that he described as on and off again over the course of three years.
Upon his assessment, Ben described feeling frustrated, angry, hurt, confused, difficulty sleeping, eating and concentrating. When asked why he felt this was the end for good of this relationship he stated that “when I saw her with another man unexpectedly out in public, I knew it was over for good, I was shocked, I felt jealous, I really wanted to beat the guy down but instead I called a good friend to come pick me up, I was so shook up I couldn’t even drive and I did not want that moment to cause me an assault charge or worse.”
Ben admitted that he cried, felt sick to his stomach and knew he needed some help. He reached out to me and set up an appointment to address the issue. I quickly normalized his feelings and genuinely commended him on his decision to seek counseling.
Today, Ben is in a new relationship but stated “I really like this woman but I’m not sure what this is because I still go out with other women and I’m having fun meeting women and just dating but honestly I’m trying my best not to make this relationship serious, too serious right now.” Over the course of the two years Ben has been coming to sessions, he’s grown comfortable in talking out many issues that don’t even involve relationships but things like asking himself “what do I want for my future, where do I want to be in 10 years?”
I wanted to give Ben the opportunity to voice some questions he has for women on this platform and here are some questions Ben has for you ladies: 1) “what do women want, it’s so confusing trying to guess what they like or need? 2) “when it comes to sex, why don’t women correct us in bed, if I’m not doing something right or something she wants why won’t she speak up?” 3) Lastly, “why do women put eyelashes on their cars?” When I asked Ben what does he like in ladies, he responded, “I love a well put together woman, hair, nails, clothes – I love to step out with a woman who looks good and I know everyone is looking at … I also like ladies who know what they want, if we go to dinner it’s kind of frustrating when they can’t even make up their minds because it tells me they probably don’t even know what they want period, and lastly, I love a woman who is confident, walking around the house putting yourself down or asking me if you’re fat is not sexy.”
I know that Ben does not represent all men and he acknowledged that he is not trying to be the voice of all men. Every man and woman have their likes and dislikes in relationships and have the right to choose.
Men do have feelings and while they may not respond to heartfelt pain the same as women.
Ladies, please know that they are human and feel all the things humans feel. While we women may cry our eyes out at the drop of a dime, men may choose to go detail their car, play basketball or spend hours on an Xbox, their emotions do not magically disappear.
Take a mental health moment (Men) and ask yourself are you dealing with your emotions and overall mental health appropriately? If your emotions are causing you or others harm, when you finish detailing your car, consider getting some professional help, there are both male and female therapists so go with whom you feel most comfortable discussing your mental health.
Thanks, Ben, for your input, I have had the honor to watch this young man mature emotionally in many ways, and while he confessed that he still on some days wishes things had worked out with his lost love, he was grateful for the experience and has learned how to express himself more freely and can control his emotions without allowing his ego to cause him harm and stunt his emotional growth. Ben does want to marry and have a family one day but until then he said he chooses to enjoy life, and has the confidence to continue to do his best at “figuring out women.”
Bernadette Graham is a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. She is also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Provide feedback or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org For appointment information please call 419.409.4929 (Appointments available on Tuesdays and Fridays only and some Saturdays). Office location is 3454 Oak Alley Ct. Suite 300 Toledo, OH 43606 www.bjgrahamcounseling.com Available for team building, employee empowerment in motivation and better understanding mental health in the work place. Accepting new clients ages 13 and older.