The Emotionless Man…..

How do you express your emotions? Well this many depend on whether or not you are a man or a woman. There seems to be this ongoing debate between men and women, and among women that men are emotionless, quite often women are witnessed saying things like “he just shuts down” or “he doesn’t show emotion.” Well there are many different ways to show emotion. It appears that God made men and women differently for specific purposes. One way in which men and women differ is the manner in which they express emotions.

Women seem to be under the misconception that men should express themselves in the same manner in which they do. This couldn’t be further from the truth, men have the God-given right to express their emotions in whatever manner they see fit. When thinking about emotions, it is important to remember that this varies with the individual, emotional expression may be based on past and present experiences, such as family upbringing, abuse, culture, and religion.

Perhaps if someone is not expressing their emotions in a manner that is conducive to your personal needs then maybe you are in a relationship with the wrong person, or maybe you need to be more flexible and understanding.  Also, it is important to remember that it is sometimes unreasonable to force others to change the way they express themselves, simply for personal gain.

Women, unfortunately can sometimes wear their emotions on their sleeves, this can be good and bad depending on the situation. God made women visibly emotional because ¬†we were made to be caregivers and bearers of children (just one reason). Think about how most individuals learn to love and express affection, it starts with the mother. However, it is important to remember that men are not cold and emotionless human beings, in general. Some people are cold and do not express their emotions but both men and women can be the product of this. Having a difficult time expressing emotions is not solely a male issue there are women who have this issue as well. Often, when we do not like the way someone is expressing their emotion we tend to say that they have issues expressing their feelings, but maybe they are just expressing their feelings in a way that we do not like or understand, which doesn’t mean they are wrong.

So to say that men do not have or express emotions, is inaccurate, men and women are different as they are supposed to be. Often men can be seen expressing emotions in the following manner and situations.

  1. During sporting events, many men have expressed happiness, sadness, frustration, and anger. Many coaches and players display an array of emotions on the football field and basketball court. Many men can be seen crying when they lose an NBA championship, or the first round of the play offs. Men definitely cry when they are injured during sports, try shutting down when you have a fractured bone or a sprained anything….
  2. Men definitely show emotion when they witness the birth of their children.
  3. Men show emotion on their wedding day, when they see the woman of their dreams walking down the aisle.
  4. Men show emotion when they witness their sons passing the threshold of moving from boy to man.
  5. Men show emotion at funerals.
  6. Men show emotion during heated conversations/fights with their spouses or enemies.
  7. Men show emotion when they cannot find employment, and are frustrated when they cannot provide for their families.
  8. Men show emotion when the woman they love is in pain or bothered by something.
  9. Men show emotion when they see their dreams crash in front of their face.
  10. Men show emotion when their marriages fail and they have to get a divorce.
  11. Men show emotion when they accomplish their goals.
  12. Men show emotion when they see an old friend, that they have not seen in a long time.
  13. Men show emotion when they realize that their actions have caused pain for others.
  14. Men show emotion when they have broken hearts.
  15. Men always show emotion when they hold their babies in their arms.
  16. Men show emotion when their children are taken away.
  17. Men show emotion when they are fired from a job.
  18. Men show emotion when their trust has been violated.

No Longer On The List

Who do you have on your friendship list? How did that person make it to the list? How are individuals removed from the list? Your friendship list should be sacred, only a select few allowed. Those that exemplify love, compassion, support, and time when interacting with you should be allowed into the friendship circle. There is no room in the circle for jealously, envy, and those who do not practice reciprocity (returning phone calls and texts and love). In relationships distance is sometimes needed to protect your heart and conserve your time.

What does it look like when someone is no longer on the list?

  1. No longer given priority in relation to time.
  2. No longer going the extra mile to inquire about their day.
  3. In the words of Martin Lawrence “I will see you when I see you”
  4. No longer make the first contact, they should know how to find you, if they want to.
  5. No longer put their concerns before yours.

Misguided Hatred

Quite often, the saying “hate is a wasted emotion” is used, perhaps there is some truth to this saying. Hate usually leaves the individual feeling angry and unhappy.¬†¬†Dictionary.com¬†¬†describes hatred as “the feeling of one who hates, intense dislike or extreme aversion or hostility.‚ÄĚ Usually when the term hatred is used it is directed toward a specific person, place, or thing. Unfortunately, I think it is highly misused against people.¬†¬†What does it really mean to hate someone? Does one have to know an individual personally in order to hate them? You would think so, but think of the numerous celebrities that are hated by the general public, most likely for unjust reasons, but yet still hated. I say unjust because how does one hate someone they do not know? The hip hop culture often use the term “he hatin on me” which carries the connotation that someone is disliked or the victim of someone else’s jealous feelings without justification.

What about unjustified hate toward a friend or family member? I often wonder how does someone claim friendship and yet hate the person at the same time?¬†¬†When the term hate is so loosely used, we forget that sometime the thing that makes us so envious of others could very well be the talent or blessing that God has placed upon them. If you compare yourself to your friend, or become angry or enraged when they acquire material possessions, a new spouse, have a special talent, a raise a work etc., then be careful, because you may be hating a blessing from God. So it’s not really the person you are hating, maybe it’s the blessing, and if it’s the blessing then you run the risk of hating God.

Maybe you should take a personal inventory and examine the next time you feel hate towards someone. Ask yourself, why am I so annoyed by this person, why do I dislike this person?¬†¬†Think of how unfair it is for the other person who considers you a friend. They spend time with you and share their hopes and dreams, just to have you speak ill behind their backs and to betray their confidence. How unfair for the person who looks at you as a friend, how hurtful. Maybe if you cannot be a true friend without hate or envy then you should let the friendship dissolve. What are you gaining by pretending, every time your friend comes around you feel annoyed or angry; this is your issue not your friend’s. If someone is your friend you should be able to cheer for them and all their successes and help them in times of their failure. Practicing the art of “Fake¬†¬†Friendship” is a waste of time and is hurtful to the other person. ¬†Just as hate is also a waste of time, because it usually accomplishes nothing.

Knowing When to Relinquish a Relationship

How do you know when it is time to release yourself from a relationship? When I say relationship I mean all relationships, romantic, friendship, business, and family relationships.¬†¬†When do you call it quits? When is relinquishing a relationship for the best, and when is it considered being a quitter because it’s too hard? It may be a good idea to end a relationship, if you have tried to make things better by communicating with the other person, you tried being flexible and compromising, you have humbled yourself and did not allow your pride to rule your decision-making. Perhaps you are not producing or receiving anything good from the relationship, maybe the relationship is one-sided, you give and the other person takes.¬†¬†Eventually you will grow tired of giving that you become depleted. How many times must you apologize, choose to¬†quiet your voice, or overlook hurtful words or actions. ¬†

Why would one choose to stay in such a relationship state? Perhaps it is something that you learned early on in life, maybe this is the sort of relationship that you had with your parents or siblings, and you think that this is how relationships are supposed to be.¬†¬†Maybe, you don’t think you deserve better. You think love or relationships consist of you pursuing and the other party or individual running and mistreating you.¬†¬†Somewhere on your relationship DNA you were fooled into thinking that this sort of one-sided relationship is good, but deep down you know it is not right.¬†¬†At what point do you value yourself enough to relinquish the past and walk toward something new and rewarding?

Perhaps, it is time to stop making excuses, and start making healthy choices that will allow you to prosper and grow as an individual. Perhaps, it is time to receive some of the love that you constantly share with others. Maybe, just maybe, every relationship is not worth saving. So, how do you know when it is time to move on to new endeavors and relationships? Here are some helpful hints:

  1. If you are in a one-sided relationship, constantly giving but never receiving.
  2. If your relationship is not producing any income, mutual learning, or emotional connection.
  3. If you are constantly second guessing yourself, trying to figure out how to make the other person happy, but in reality there is no making them happy, because they could care less about you.
  4. If you are being physically, emotionally, or verbally abused or financially depleted/manipulated.
  5. If you are not being appreciated.
  6. If you are dispensable to the other person, they really don’t care if you live or die, show up or cancel, call or don’t call.
  7. If you have given a good faith effort, and still there has been no change.
  8. If you are emotionally, financially, or intellectually depleted (there is simply nothing left).
  9. If you are not learning, prospering, or changing for the better.
  10. If the current relationship is hindering you from new relationships and opportunities.

Moving On After Infidelity

Infidelity is often a touchy subject, unfortunately a common factor in marital relationships.  Many couples seek counseling after an incident of infidelity, which is very helpful for couples looking for clarity, guidance, and coping skills.  After the act of infidelity has been committed, the question becomes how does one move past the hurt and anger if the decision has been  made to continue the relationship.  

If the decision has been made to continue the relationship, then certain rules should be implemented and certain actions taken. 

  1. A qualified professional counselor or marriage and family therapist should be sought out to assist with developing communication skills and to act as a mediator.
  2. Couples should re-establish relationship rules and expectations, such as the importance of fidelity and deal breakers in the relationship.
  3. Clarify whether the infidelity was a one time incident or whether it was part of a pattern of questionable and negative behaviors.  If there is a pattern of infidelity, then one should be cautious because patterns demonstrate serious character flaws, that may require intense psychotherapy and spiritual guidance.
  4. The individual who committed the infidelity has to become transparent and willing to share openly such things as emails, text messages etc. for a limited time until the other party in the relationship feels as though nothing is being hidden (people who have nothing to hide will not object or complain about privacy violations).
  5. The art and act of forgiveness has to be practiced and implemented, it is not fair to continue a relationship and use past infidelity to berate and torture your spouse on a daily basis.
  6. When working with the professional counselor or marriage and family therapist the couple should explore what acts or behaviors led to the infidelity: in other words, did both parties work hard at providing a loving and caring environment, full of sex, dating, caring actions, quality time, and special moments?. Usually there was some sort of lack in one of the above areas that possibly led to the infidelity, both parties have to take responsibility for not taking care of the relationship, unless one member of the party is a chronic adulterer which again leads to ingrained character flaws that should be addressed with long-term psychotherapy.
  7. The couple should seek medical attention to check for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), and should begin practicing safe sex until trust has been re-established and both parties are STI free. 
  8. Prayer and spiritual guidance is imperative, the couple should consult their pastor or other spiritual advisor and use bible based scriptures to learn and implement God’s idea of marriage and love.
  9. Boundary making should be implemented into the relationship, careful consideration should be given in establishing appropriate boundaries, the couple should be careful that outsiders are not allowed into the relationship.  This includes family and friends who could compromise the integrity of the relationship by offering negative advice and unwanted interference.