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The empathy gap seems to really get me down some times

July 12, 2023

Hi all,

I'm doing pretty well in life. Good job, great wife and not financial issues. I'm the type of person that should not feel sad for no obvious reason.

Unfortunately there is something that really triggers me. I feel that the kind and empathetic people around me simply don't have empathy for boys and men. It's so frustrating. I have to explain things to them all the time. These are smart people, why are they not getting it?

I frequently hear or read "toxic masculinity" or "but we live in a patriarchy" as a way to shut me up when I talk about various men's issues. I was bullied when I was a kid. I was always attacked by bigger boys or several boys my size. I learned to be violent and fight back but the bullying did not stop until I became an adult. People around me try to convince me that it's because we live in a patriarchy and because I was not aligned to the toxic masculinity gender norms. I don't think that's the case. If we were to live in a perfect equal world where women would hold half the seats in power, I think people would still ignore violence against boys while being super involved into stopping violence against girls. We would still have shorter lives, higher suicide, male genital mutilation (I'm not calling it circumcision) and all the fucked up things men face. We don't even use the same words for the same deed. In my country men pedophile teachers are called pedophiles. GREAT! Women pedophile teachers are called "sexy teacher" in the news. We should use the same words for the same thing, how is this not basic knowledge? Using different words is just a way to hide the empathy gap.

Why do I feel so sad when people try to explain to me that men have it better and find various ways to diminish my feelings around my childhood violence? I'm an adult in no danger of violence with everything going well for me. How can I stop thinking about conversations that I had with people where they try to minimize men's issues?

It feels like if I don't follow men's issues subs then I can't know men's issues and cannot promote them to friends but being aware of them makes me sad and gives me insomnia. Women have a ton of issues but there are organizations and politicians that fight for women's rights. It's fucked up that women face misogini but the world is at least verbally against this. When it comes to men it's silence.

Are there any books that can help me control my emotions and stop my rumination around men's issues so I can go to sleep easily? I saw a psychologist but she did not help that much.

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Post Information
Title The empathy gap seems to really get me down some times
Author random_sm
Upvotes 28
Comments 8
Date July 12, 2023 10:19 AM UTC (4 months ago)
Subreddit /r/MenSupportMen
Archive Link
Original Link

[–]onlinethrowaway2020 7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Hey man, I feel you. The empathy gap is why men often do not express emotions except to people who are safe & supportive. But the gap will not be fixed overnight, and that's okay for the average guy who cannot impact it. You can still talk with people who aren't too radical to listen. You can give money or time to men's support groups. You can still advocate for men's issues while protecting your own mental health. Maybe try CBT to help stop rumination before sleep.

[–]Current_Finding_4066 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Maybe you should get a nonfeminist male psychologist.

[–]Admirable_Wasabi1840 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I hear you! I guess the work of closing the gap and investing in one another is on the shoulders of men like us. Glad that you raised the point and sorry that we encounter this so often. Hope posting hear gives you a little relief.

[+]CharlesDickensABox -8 points-7 points [recovered] (2 children) | Copy Link

Toxic masculinity has negative effects on men, too. Some of them are the things you describe: a culture of violence, lack of empathy, prohibitions against emotional vulnerability, those are all things we're conditioned to believe are right and good, but they're not. Working our way out of that conditioning takes time.

If you're not finding support from people in your social sphere when you look for it, it's worth considering how and with whom you're having those conversations. Sometimes people who might be predisposed to agree with us can be turned off if we discuss things in the wrong ways. For instance, if someone is telling us they get paid less than their male counterparts and we start telling them about violence against men and boys, we're not commiserating with them, we're changing the subject. We're telling them (often without meaning to) that their complaints aren't worth discussing. That turns what should be a healthy emotional connection into an argument. We need to make sure that when we talk about our issues that we're not doing it as a way to minimize others. We don't need to play Oppression Olympics or decide who has it worse. If we take the time to understand and empathize with other people's problems, we often find they are more receptive to ours. That way is how we get closer to true understanding.

If the people you're talking to can't understand that, they may not be the right people to talk to about those things. If you're not getting the support you need from your social circle, perhaps it's worth consulting a professional to figure out where these feelings are coming from and how to deal with them appropriately, even if it's just getting the anxiety off your chest.

You say you saw a psychologist and it didn't work out. That's okay. Few people click with the first person they meet. It often takes a number of sessions to decide whether the person you're seeing is right for you and it's rare to find the right person to treat you on the first try. Many people think therapy is done kind of magic bullet, but the fact is that it's a hell of a lot of work. There's no way for a mental health professional to put a cast on your feelings the way a doctor fixes a broken bone. But doing the work is worth it. It is so, so worth it. I hope you keep going on your journey, and I hope you find a place of peace. We're all in this together, brother.

[–]random_sm[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

It's actually the other way around. When friends share sexist stories they have then I listen. Changing the subject would be really dumb and unkind.

When I talk about my issues people try to convince me that "it's because of toxic masculinity". Not sure how masculinity gets the blame here.

What if we gender swap this? What is the woman equivalent of "toxic masculinity"? Pretty sure it's not "toxic femininity". I think a good equivalent is "sexist gender norms and expectations against women and girls". I think the term "toxic masculinity" is itself toxic and we should ban it both when we talk with our friends or our psychologist. Maybe a better, empathetic term would be "toxic gender norms and expectations". It's so frustrating how masculinity has become radioactive.

I'm an adult. I can understand the complexity of society. If I were a teen and were told that masculinity is the issue I would probably be really mad.

[–]LoveTheGiraffe 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Why call it toxic masculinity when all the people in my life who made fun of me for being the victim of SA were women? I know it's anecdotal evidence, but can we stop pretending it's men who lack empathy? Women are just as bsd, but instead of poitning out the lack of empathy for men in general, it's "toxic masculinity", as if men would get shut down by other men. Which in some cased they do, but let's not forget the wives who leave their husband once they stop being stoic and actually show their feelings. Let's not overlook the "men need to be able to cry" turning into "male tears" mugs. And when men try to engage in these topics, we are told to sit down and shut up, because we are the problem.

Fuck that and anyone who uses phrases like "toxic masculinity" and "patriarchy"

[–]mensupportmen-ModTeam[M] 0 points1 point locked comment (0 children) | Copy Link

Your comment was removed as it was found not supportive of men.

On this sub we focus on being supportive and positive. We don't blame the victim. We don't derail conversations.

If you disagree with this ruling, please appeal by messaging the moderators.

[–]CrusSty- 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

My buddy, i empathize with you. There are many decent men out there that will lift you up my man, there are many kings out there. Keep looking for em and don’t give up

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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