Most men learn how to be distant at a young age
I was enjoying a lunchbreak in the park when I observed several interactions that were all too familiar to me. Two little girls were sitting close together, playing with their dolls, and clearly enjoying each other’s company. In contrast, several young boys were running between the swings and the jungle gym—without interacting with anyone.
I know from my research that young boys are encouraged to be more aggressive, independent, and are often weaned at an earlier age (1). Boys also do not form the same kind of close bonds that girls do. In fact, young boys are essentially “trained” to become independent to the point of isolation, which can cause them to disconnect from their feelings and the richness of life. That makes it very difficult for men to develop and nurture relationships. Fortunately, parents can be educated to break traditional patterns of child rearing that can contribute to a boy’s isolation, anger, and even potentially aggressive (or violent) behavior.
Men who suffer from the consequences of isolation can identify, acknowledge, and change even deeply ingrained behaviors with the help of a male psychotherapist who understands—and can properly address—emotional obstacles that are specific to men. Through the therapeutic journey, both boys and men can learn how to lower their walls so they can experience more positive and rewarding relationships.
Cook, G. N. (2011). Male friendships: The longing for meaningful connection (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest (Order No. 1486935).