Emotional HealthPsychology

6 reasons why men hide their feelings and emotions.

6 Mins read
men hide their feelings
men hide their feelings

Let me dive into why men hide their feelings.

It is obviously so clear that men don’t like showing their emotions or just expressing them to say the least. Women are more prone to be emotional and care free when it comes to expressing what they feel.

Some may say that it is because, we as men, are ill equipped to handle emotions, that our emotional intelligence may be quite small. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, but isn’t finding the truth to this matter why you are here.

I have heard a few girls say that it is easier for them to deal with an incident in which their boyfriend/girlfriend cheats on them, they went ahead to say that when the roles are reversed, we men, would crumble. And I don’t disagree, maybe it is because women have been desensitized to cheating because of how frequent they have to deal with it in almost all of their relationships.

Some people say that men find emotions scary. As much as that may be the case sometimes, it doesn’t explain why all men do it, because not all of us are scared of our emotions.

Another common belief is that, men are emotionally immature. Yes, men choosing to hide their emotions may be catastrophic because they end up not saying what they mean thus resulting in miscommunication, misunderstanding and poor relations and conflict resolutions.

I believe this where most of us end up using the term toxic masculinity.

What is toxic masculinity

Toxic masculinity refers to harmful behavior and attitudes commonly associated with some men, such as the need to repress emotions during stressful situations, and to act in an aggressively dominant way.

With that said, some of us may hide our emotions but still tend to them. We may not tell you we love you but we will buy you presents, spend our last dime on you, buy a house for our loved ones, call our moms when we are down and even cry in our own private chambers, you just won’t know it.

We may also go the extra mile to exercise excessively to detox our frustrations and also aggressively do tedious work to deal with what we have inside. By doing this, we avoid taking it out on others and acting in an aggressively dominant way. Therefore, men hiding their feelings, isn’t a sign of emotional immaturity unless the emotions are not acknowledged by the man himself.

Dr. Adam Dorsay , a psychologist, explains why expressing emotions are a big downside for men, and how hiding emotions can have a major downside to successful men in this Ted Talk video;

As a man myself, I’m going to fill you in on the real legitimate reasons why I and my fellow dick carriers choose to hide our feelings and emotions.

why men hide their feelings and emotions

6 reasons why men hide their emotions

Upbringing and childhood experiences

Most men were raised by fathers who were emotionally distant to them or at least had a certain level of emotional withdrawing when it came to raising the boy child. This is also what happened to our fathers too, and since, as kids, we are bound to emulate and follow the example of our fathers, we end up being like them.

We are our fathers’ children

Most of us men were brought up to believe that expressing our emotions or showing any form of weakness is unmanly, not that we were all told that precisely, but it was mostly implied by how we were told to behave and how our fathers handled emotional situations.

Sometimes I wonder if emotional intelligence is hereditary, especially because it has been proven that we are bound to behave and have traits similar to those of our parents – we are our fathers’ children.

Our fathers never cried at funerals, they never cried period. They still don’t cry even though we are all grown up now. Our fathers never talked about their feelings, they never came to complain about how their jobs were making them emotionally frustrated, and how our mothers drove them nuts, well that last one may be an exception. They were always tough and confident no matter what, even though they might have faked it from time to time, nevertheless, this shaped us.

Generally, men’s childhood environment and father figures never showed their emotions, hence we emulated them.

Social conditioning

Social conditioning is the adoption and teaching of practices, norms, decisions, customs and ways of life that a society should conform to whether the practices are right or wrong.

Men have been conditioned by the society to believe that expressing their emotions is not such an attractive or good behavior. Some girls are repulsed by men who are too comfortable with their emotions. And at the risk of sounding homophobic, some people relate homosexuality to men who are very free when it comes to expressing themselves.

You can see why for centuries men have been so reluctant to associating themselves with their emotions. Mental toughness and relentless confidence is what a man is all about, that is what the society has accustomed us to believe, therefore, we hide our feelings no matter what.

We are competitive in nature

No man wants to look weak to another person, being at the top and acting like the alpha is what manhood is all about. We value respect, high status and superiority above all else. This takes me back to my point on toxic masculinity, we are so competitive and can sometimes get caught up so much in it that we end up become aggressive and violent just to show that we are better than someone.

When I was young, I remember my mother telling me how she used to let my dad win some arguments and allowed him to believe that he was right even when he was wrong. She knew how important it was for men to feel like they are superior, even though that isn’t the case.

Our competitive nature tends to make us hide our vulnerabilities, our struggles, our problems, our failures. We hide our feelings deep down at the risk of seeming better than others. It is our nature.

This doesn’t mean that we pretend that our feelings don’t exist, no, our self awareness about these emotions are be on point but letting them out is the hard part.

We hate vulnerability

We like being in control and calling the shots. We are open to criticism, so long as it is done gently and flawlessly.

We don’t like being taken care of, we hate being at the mercies of others and showing weakness is our dreaded fear. Being weak and vulnerable doesn’t resonate well with us. And since expressing emotions requires us to be vulnerable, we opt out.

Men lack practice

Like I said earlier, women are more accustomed to dealing with cheating spouses that they are more prone to forgiving them as compared to men. This is because women have been exposed to handling the intense emotions, they express them a lot hence they are better at handling emotionally demanding situations than men are.

We lack practice when it comes to dealing with our feelings, so we choose to hide them, lest we end up acting immaturely.

To the women out there dealing with an emotionally distant man, I urge you to be patient with him, not too patient, but patient enough, to guide him and give him a chance and time to express himself. We always come around if we find a woman who is patient enough with us.

Men are scared of the outcome

Men are scared of the outcome, not expressing their emotions.

We are scared of what might happen if we stop hiding our feelings, but aren’t all human beings scared of that.

We fear knowing what might happen if we do, maybe our spouses will loose their love for us (I mean, have you watched all these cliche Hollywood movies, it always ends up in a break up). We fear that the society might judge us and call us weak, we fear all the outcomes that might make us look weak and unmanly.

Bottom line

Men hide their emotions, but they always express them, you just have to look keenly. We are not so good at expressing ourselves, that we agree, but we are not all emotionally immature, we all have a way of dealing with our emotions.

To the women out there dealing with an emotionally distant man, I urge you to be patient with him, not too patient, but patient enough, to guide him and give him a chance and time to express himself. We always come around if we find a woman who is patient enough with us.

We may take a longer time to come around to our emotions, but we always do. Patience and guidance is key.

I’d love to hear from you. Would you say you are an emotionally distant person? How do you see this affecting your professional and personal life?

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

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About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
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