Feeling Inadequate as a Man
Feeling inadequate as a man is at the core of the concept of the wounded masculinity. This feeling is often referred to medically as gender shame. Gender shame is about feeling ashamed of ones gender. How is that experienced? It is the very deep feeling that somehow you do not measure up as a man. It is the feeling that others can see that you are lacking in what it means to be a man. It is a pervasive feeling that regardless how much or how hard you try you seem to come up short feeling like a man. The feeling may keep you from developing intimate relationships with others because you are afraid they will see you as you believe yourself to be.
Feeling inadequate as a man can be connected to many early experiences including and not limited to; not being acknowledge by any male figures, growing up with an absent father or without a father figure, being abused (whether physically, emotionally or sexually). All these experiences can contribute to young boys inherently believing that they are somehow lacking in their masculinity. These boys grow into men believing that they are inadequate as a man. This belief (even if irrational) continues to dominate the psyche of the man and negatively effects the man’s ability to form close relationships with other men and women.
Treatment to Feeling Inadequate as a Man
Once a man becomes aware of the fact that they have been carrying around this burden of shame then some work can begin to take place. Generally the work involves looking at all the areas the man has avoided specifically as a result of this belief. For example, the man may have avoided playing sports or even joining activities that only involve men. Additionally, they may have judged certain groups of people specifically as a result of this belief. The work of the man here is to actually put himself in situations that he would have historically avoided. It is only through the visceral experience of challenging the belief can the man move past it or at least determine for himself if it is actually true or not.
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“These boys grow into men believing that they are inadequate as a man. This belief (even if irrational) continues to dominate the psyche of the man and negatively effects the man’s ability to form close relationships with other men and women.”