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As someone dedicated to helping men become integrated in their heart and head I see the challenges of being a man all the time. One common challenge is intimacy
Men often crave intimacy in their partnerships yet they are unsure of how to make it happen.
Men know that they want to deepen and connect with the woman in their lives. They want to both feel this emotional support and bestow it to their partner. As these emotions start to arise, there is a sudden pull away. Something inside men tells them this will take them away from being a man.
“…In the post-feminist turmoil of relationship landscapes, men have been struggling to find a way to relate intelligently, parent sensitively, and manage their emotional needs with more consciousness and depth. It’s just that many men haven’t exactly figured out a way to do all these things and still really feel like a man…” -David B. Wexler
The men I work with are trying to live with integrity. And, they are trying to show up with loving presence as husbands and fathers.
Yet the inculturation that has told them that they cannot express their vulnerability is at an unconscious depth that
their conscious minds rarely see. They pull out of moments of intimacy, leaving those they love confused and unsatisfied.
The emotion men are allowed to express, anger, is really an expression of the deep longing many men feel for deeper connection.
“Men’s anger is their way of weeping.” – William Pollack
The challenge is how men can engage themselves in a way that doesn’t take away from their conception of manhood. Consequently, we need to grow more intimate with our inner world of emotion and sensation. And, we need to be simultaneously shifting the culture’s view of what it means to be a man.
If you are a man struggling with this issue of intimacy with a woman or you are a woman who kno
ws a man in this situation, I encourage you to have them contact me. There is hope to find a way to something more alive and connecting. The challenges of being a man can be overwhelming. With this in mind, working through them so you don’t jeopardize your most important relationships is crucial to your overall authenticity and health.
EMDR therapy is a popular topic in psychology today… why?
EMDR is an acronym that’s been showing up nearly everywhere in counseling practices today. Therefore, it’s remarkable because it’s a break from traditional talk therapy. It’s been some time since we’ve seen this kind of philosophical split. The funny thing is, EMDR therapy was first documented over 25 years ago by it’s creator, Francine Shapiro. Because it’s stood the test of time, the therapy has been able to show it’s effectiveness.
“Changing the memories that form the way we see ourselves also changes the way we view others. Therefore, our relationships, job performance, what we are willing to do or are able to resist, all move in a positive direction.” ― Francine Shapiro
What is EMDR used for?
Initially, EMDR therapy was used for PTSD studies. At the time (the late ’80’s) PTSD, was a relatively “new” term and a more commonly accepted type of mental trauma. Previously, society would describe someone afflicted with PTSD as being “shell shocked” and there wasn’t much by way of non-stigmatized mental health offerings.
In modern times, any type of traumatic occurrence, grief, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, dissociative disorders, erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety, addictions, phobias, social anxiety, stress reduction and panic attacks, can be treated with EMDR therapy.
Here’s what it’s like in an EMDR therapy session.
EMDR is an eight step process involving the “reprocessing” of the brain using light and guidance by a trained EMDR professional. The very, very short and quick explanation is that you will follow a light in certain patterns by your therapist.
Subsequently throughout the eight sessions, you will work through the painful memory, fear, anxiety, etc. typically with gentle guidance by your EMDR therapist while following patterns made by a light pen.
Above all, EMDR therapy addresses the point that your brain has been overwhelmed by the fear, event, trauma, etc, and that it didn’t have a chance to develop healthy coping systems. Furthermore, by reprocessing, your brain has the chance to see a new light. Ironically by actually using a light as a central component of the therapy.
What kind of results does EMDR have?
I wouldn’t be a professional if I didn’t say that everyone has different results. However, the vast, vast majority of people who go through EMDR therapy are incredibly healed in ways that they had never experienced before with other types of therapies.
Many patients report that they are able, “to ‘process’ the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. This often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long held negative thoughts about the self.” – Trauma Recovery (EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs, “What is EMDR?”)
Any questions about EMDR therapy? Contact me.
Wishing you the day you need to have!
References: Francine Shapiro, . Please know if you do purchase with the link above, a portion of the sale helps support this site. If you’re not into that, it’s ok. And, in that case, I recommend searching over on Amazon Smile so that you can support a charity you love. Thanks for reading. – Bryce
First Comes Love, Then Comes the Baby
Many of us fall in love, and some of us fall into responsibility. Whether you had a long relationship in marriage with the mother of your child or kids, or a shorter relationship and an unexpected pregnancy, when the breakup involves kids, there’s not a lot of help for Dads. It’s devastating, but there are ways you can handle it like the professional gentleman that you are and can be.
When the Breakup Involves Kids, Dads Can Remain Poised
So, the last thing you want to do right now is let your emotions get the best of you. That’s not to say they are not incredibly important. Yet, getting into counseling asap can help you diffuse the immense amount of anger toward your partner that is surely there, or anger towards yourself if you feel you were to blame. It helps you focus on the real issues at hand instead of the factors outside your control.
Try Not to Date For a While
You might want to try to rekindle a past crush or reach out to a woman for support when your partner has dumped you. The rejection is so hard to bear, it can be physically debilitating. And, when the breakup involves kids, the loss of their constant physical presence feels like your heart is actually being ripped out of your chest. Try if you can not to rebound. Look inward. Get healthy. Lift weights or get your running practice going again. Try meditation or a yoga class. Read and educate yourself on any and everything. Take your mind off things and try to hold back on a new love for both yours and their sake.
When You Do Date Next, Try Not To Carry Your Heartache
It’s arguably true that when guys have been loyal and faithful in a relationship, that when they are rejected, they feel more pain than a woman may feel. Women carefully think about their decision long before it is communicated, having already processed some of the pain. Men, on the other hand, are more present in their emotions, and may not have expected the rejected. Not understanding why the rejection happened fully can lead to self-esteem issues for the next few relationships. Try not to. You deserve better and you definitely deserve a fully integral relationship. Of course, if goes without saying that once you know the relationship is really over, try to refrain from reaching out and trying to win her back. Take your dignity and move on.
Help for Dads During the Breakup
First of all, make sure you’ve contacted all the correct people to assist you in how custody exchanges work, and of course make sure you’ve gotten your documents all set up. This is different in every state, but you can reach out to places like the National Father’s Rights group that offers assistance and direction in many different legal areas affecting dads.
You’ll want to make sure you document as much as you can, including paternity, and follow all the steps required for the best possible outcome. The only advice as a counselor for men that I can give you during this time is to try to breathe and think positively. And, go with the flow, while still asking for what you need and holding your ground. You can do it.
Help For Dads After the Breakup
Surely it will be strange to have a new life, but it can also be incredibly awesome too. You get to do what you want. You’re on your own time, mostly. You have more freedom to be yourself. Why not rediscover yourself? Find out what really makes you tick and the passions you want to explore in your life. You might be amazed at how quickly you can find pleasure in life again. And, remember your friendships. They are there to be there for you when things are hard in life. And they are great “uncles” and “aunts” to your kiddos which is always great for kids to have lots of good adult role models in their lives.
Excuse Me for Interrupting…
“Did you even hear what I said?”
“I said I am going to break your phone if you look at it one more time.”
“Sounds good babe.”
Insert fuming husband or wife, “neglected” child or dog, and a whole bunch of relationship and health issues. Phone addiction is a modern day problem. We created it to make our lives easier, yet as similarly as gravity, what goes up, must come down. And, with the ease of finding information and directions, the cost has been personal disconnect, eye strain and a new form of digital addiction.
Types of Phone Addiction
Okay, beyond the “scroll,” what do we have? Alright, how about this one. Has your girlfriend, wife or partner been posting ridiculous videos of you not paying attention, then looking up to find yourself a Snapchat squirrel or some other embarrassing filter? In new relationships, or in rocky relationships, women can tend to completely overpost and overstep their boundaries of respect to you. This is something that maybe crosses from addiction into something else, but regardless, you can try a few ways to address it.
How to Get Your Partner to Break Her Phone Addiction
If you’re dealing with overposting, try humor first. Humor with a tad of seriousness, if it works, can be the easiest and smoothest way to address it. If that doesn’t work, have a serious conversation, but only when both of you are completely relaxed. Anything done under stress can have unwanted and unexpected results.
If it’s scrolling or constantly checking emails, think about your part too instead of just theirs. For example, is your partner on their phone while you guys are watching TV at night? Maybe you need some more activities to keep you active and busier. Or, if your spouse or partner is constantly doing work on their devices, maybe they need support. Are they going through a stressful time at work or in their career? Counseling can help. And, maybe try doing the dishes or helping with the kids a little bit more this week and see if that can help relieve their stress. Asking if you can help because you’ve noticed them “checking out” on their phones lately, can bring the tone from accusatory to supportive. Worth a try.
Modern Solutions to a Modern Problem
So, as stated, this whole phone addiction stuff is a modern day issue for men and women alike. We need grounding to deal with the digital age. If you can consciously train yourself to step away from your phone for a few hours a day, that will take you a long, long way. If that’s difficult though, there could be other issues that are unresolved. Do you feel anxious when you check your phone? Counseling, exercise and diet can all help with anxiety. Are you worried about your reputation online? Deep breathing can help you let it go. Whatever it is, taking a look inside can help with repetitive, compulsive behaviors. Need support? Ready for you.
About the Author
As a counselor to the 21st Century man, Bryce Mathern created Brass Balls Tender Heart to help men find integrity in an ever complicated world. Relationships, fatherhood, stress, depression and anxiety all affect the modern man. To deal with the physical and mental strain of relentless pressure, men’s counseling and relationship coaching can provide stability where none can be found. It’s a rock when things around you are slipping. And, it’s a place to toss ideas around without fear of judgment. If this article spurs some action, try meeting with me to add counseling into your overall plan.
art credit: Banksy
So much of what we do and how we act is still determined by our primal roots, our prehistoric communication cues. We’ve evolved, sure, but fright or flight remains.
Men and women, from the beginning have had different styles of communication. Whether verbal or nonverbal, the ways each gender connects with one another in speech and action can be attributed to evolutionary, aka “caveman” survival needs. Our prehistoric communication cues haven’t changed much underneath the surface, though we’re much more aware and able to change as modern day men.
Communication by Exuding Strength
Men in general tend to exert dominance in their verbal and nonverbal communication styles. The reasoning is that men were meant to protect their family from danger and thus had to appear stronger and bigger than they might be, at all times. Hmm. Interesting how so many men are tasked with the same responsibility still in this day of age.
In modern times, men are asked to show strength in emotion. We are turned to in crisis situations or when our strength is needed (helping family members move large objects comes to mind…). We aren’t offered refuge from having to show strength, and since it’s in our nature, it feels unnatural to not show strength. So, we just do it.
Personal Space (Men v. Women)
Awareness here for sure. Our personal space bubble is unique to each of us clearly, however, when it comes to men and women, just make that personal bubble as big as it can get. When you don’t know someone, it’s best to keep a bit of space between you. Don’t touch someone unless you’ve gotten to that point in your relationship with them. Is this a modern day thing? Yes, we shouldn’t really care, I mean we’re all in this thing together, but nowadays, best to go slow when it comes to personal space.
Respect is also a big part of personal space. To avoid misunderstandings, you may want to gauge the situation and your personal space. On the flip side, if someone is in your personal space and making you feel uncomfortable, you can practice deep breathing and mental tricks to get through the moment (and remember it’s just a moment), or try crossing your arms or putting yourself in a “defensive” stance that’s still approachable for conversation, but maybe doesn’t allow for a hug or tap on the shoulder for example. Again, that caveman inside of us wants to protect ourselves and establish dominance, or is fearful and wants to hide. That fright or flight again.
Communication With Your Posture
Expansive роѕіtіоnѕ аrе аѕѕосіаtеd wіth роwеr аnd dоmіnаnсе аnd соnѕtrісtеd positions wіth submissiveness. Mоrеоvеr, thеrе іѕ rеѕеаrсh evidence thаt a more ореn, “fоrсеful” роѕturе will асtuаllу mаkе you feel mоrе роwеrful аnd соnfіdеnt. Stand up, feel the ground beneath you, and relax, breathing in openness to whatever lies ahead.
Something really interesting about posture is that you can actually use a tool that CIA agents and top-level sales managers swear by: mirroring. It’s been proven in studies that humans tend to relax and trust others more when we mirror their speech or body language. For example, pay attention to whether they are auditory, visual or kinesthetic speakers: “I see what you’re saying,” or, “I feel you!” or “I hear that.” And then use those same expressions back. Are they crossing their legs in the meeting? Do the same. Hand on the table? Do a similar, but unique action of the same. You’ll find yourself building rapport faster in whatever situation you’re in,
Your Fashion Style
Don’t think you have one? You do. Your style just might be “I don’t care what I look like.” And, you might want to adjust that if you are trying to do any of these:
- Find a job
- Looking for a relationship
- Get healthier
- Create more success in life
No, I’m not shallow, it just shows what you put on is what you put out. Basically, the same energy you put into what you put on will be reflected in the energy that comes back to you. That doesn’t mean you have to have the latest styles. Quite honestly, it means no holes, clean clothes, and clothes that fit you. If you can accomplish this, and maybe add a bit of a personal style, you’re nailing your prehistoric communication cues. You see, the first men (and women) adorned themselves with tattoos (get one, why not), beads, piercings, hairstyles, pelts, etc. in order to attract a mate and show their social hierarchy, or ability to fight (and thus strength).
Eye Contact in Communication
Another important nonverbal aspect of communication is eye contact. Depending on our level on confidence on that particular day, we either can give full eye contact, or our tendency is to look away. Try your best to give eye contact when you can, without being overbearing with it too. Ha, already stressed about this? Just look in between their eyebrows if looking in their eyes is uncomfortable. They’ll think you’re looking in their eyes.
Someone looking away constantly while you’re talking to them? Don’t immediately assume that they aren’t listening. They could be having a “self-confidence” depletion day like we just talked about. Or, of course, they could be not listening. But, maybe give them the benefit of the doubt first. It’s something you’d probably like afforded to you too.
Prehistoric Communication Cues v. Modern Day Solutions
So, yes, much of our communication is sort of “pre-scripted” as humans. However we can adapt and change if communication has been impacting our relationships. For one, getting outside of yourself and seeking counseling can give you a private, confidential space to discuss problems at hand. A counselor, removed from the immediate situation (and on your side), can help you develop a reaction to a certain issue or solve problems that have been difficult to get through on your own. The best tool for communication blunders and struggles? Listening. When in doubt, just listen. You might find the answer you’re looking for if you stay quiet for a moment longer than you feel comfortable. See how it goes and if you need more help, consider coming in for a session man to man and see if counseling is the missing piece to your wellness initiatives.
The Zeigarnik Effect
Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik published a study in 1927 that looked at how people remember things when they are interrupted during the memory process. The outcome was the Zeigarnik effect. The Zeigarnik effect shows that people remember things more when they are not completed than when they are completed. It has become useful for people when trying to study for exams or memorize lots of information. However, if true, this can negatively impact people in close relationships.
In relationships there is a constant dynamic between connection, a break in the connection and then repairing the connection.
Not Able To Repair
The challenged comes when couples are not able to do the repair work. This allows the disruption in their lives to continue on without any resolution. Neither member of the relationship is sure what the other one is thinking. “Does she really think I don’t care about our kids?” “Is he going to always disrespect me?” Without any resolution the two partners are left to create their own story about the other. This leaves each person in a kind of limbo state.
The Need To Repair
Repairing a break or disruption in the relational connection is critical for forming a healthy trusting relationship. When a partner says something that feels hurtful it is critical to come back together and express the hurt as well as take responsibility for what occurred. This allows forgiveness and healing to take place.
The Zeigarnik Effect
Knowing that we tend to recall things better when they are unresolved means that we are more likely to recall a break that didn’t get repaired. This means that we will continue to recall the negative qualities of our partner again and again. “She alway tries to hurt me.” “He never listens to me.”
The Importance Of Trust
One of the most important elements of a healthy relationship is the amount of trust that exists between partners. Trust is built by continually showing up for one another. When we provide a loving space for our partner to struggle, and show them we are going to stick around, a strong bond of trust emerges. However, when things go poorly and there is a breach in the trust it is necessary to fix that breach. John Gottman, the renowned relationship researcher, explains this well in his book, What Makes Love Last?
When a pattern of broken trust develops, partners begin to feel like the relationship has emptied out. They no longer feel like friends. With increasing frequency, they see each other in a negative light. (Gottman, 2012).
Committing To Repair
In my own life it is not easy to come to my wife and start a repair process. We are both usually still seething from the break in our relationship. Painful things were said and both of us are hurting. But we have committed to this process in order to maintain our relationship. We have done it over and over agin to resolve the hurts that occur when we lose the connection.
The Past Is In The Present
Usually the argument against repairing is the belief that it is best to just move on rather than bring up the pain of the past. Unfortunately, we cannot run from what happened. Whether we talk about what happened or not it is still there unresolved until we do. It can appear in the short term that moving on without any resolution is better. In the long run, like Gottman says, we start to lose trust in each other and it can lead to the dissolution of the relationship.
What To Do
In order to maintain your relationship it is really important for both members to make a commitment to repairing any disruptions in the connection. For some people, they never had healthy repair modeled for them. The idea of actually talking things through and reaching a more resolved state may seem really unfamiliar. As you try it a few times it will become obvious why it is so important. Often times for me and my wife the repair actually deepens our connection. We feel a greater sense of intimacy after sharing our vulnerable parts to each other.
Wishing You The Day You Need To Have!
Resources Used for this Article:
Gottman, John. (2012) What Makes Love Last? How To Build Trust And Avoid Betrayal. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Some people may think emotions are unreliable. However, when we use emotions to inform the rest of our experience we have much better outcomes. And, in this hyper-cognitive time, connecting to our emotional experience can be something foreign or unfamiliar.
Have you ever thought about what emotions are? Have you ever wondered why humans have them? Throughout human history emotions have developed to help people survive. We have fear, sadness, guilt and many others to help us get through challenging events.
Take fear for example. We have all experienced moments when the hair on the back of our neck starts to stand up. We may be in an unfamiliar place, or suddenly we notice that danger may be lurking. This is fear telling you that things are not right. Without this emotion we wouldn’t be able to tell when we are potentially in danger.
EMOTIONS KEEP US SAFE
An example of this could be something we have witnessed or experienced in our lives. Imagine being with a new group of people. There may be feelings of nervousness and uncertainty. Suddenly one of the members of the group begins to chastise you. They tell you that you aren’t worthy of being in the group (in so many words). What is important is to feel anger and defensiveness. You need to tell this person that what they are saying is not acceptable and they need to stop it (in so many words).
If this doesn’t happen, if there is no access to your anger, you could be ostracized from the group and lose social status. This can be very traumatizing for people. In this case anger is your friend and helps you to insure your survival.
However, if we have spent our lives learning from caretakers that anger is not acceptable and we should not feel this emotion we may not be able to access anger. We are somewhat defenseless in this situation.
Another example could be someone who doesn’t feel guilty when they hurt someone else. Guilt is a very important emotion that allows us to self-correct our behavior so that we don’t treat people poorly. If we don’t learn how to change certain behaviors that are disruptive we may be pushed out of the group again.
IN MY WORK
My work with my clients is to identify the emotions they may not be comfortable feeling and giving them permission to start to feel those emotions again. It takes time and is not usually a comfortable process. However, the benefits are quite enlivening. Suddenly a person that was struggling to survive in certain parts of their lives is given the emotions that can help them to take better care of themselves.
In my own experience becoming a more embodied, emotional man has allowed me the benefits of surviving better but also the capacity to connect with those around me in joy and playfulness.
If you are noticing in your life some emotions that are not allowed I encourage you to contact me about how you can reengage these emotions.
Wishing You The Day You Need To Have!
Kombucha іѕ аn асtіvе thеrареutіс “functional beverage” made bу fermenting tеа аnd sugar wіth thе kоmbuсhа сulturе. Thе еffесt can tаѕtе lіkе ѕоmеthіng bеtwееn ѕраrklіng аррlе сіdеr and сhаmраgnе, dереndіng оn whаt fоrm оf tea уоu apply. It’s nоt whаt уоu’d rесkоn fеrmеntеd tеа tо tаѕtе lіkе. It tastes great if you don’t mind a bit of tart. And, it’s great for your energy levels and digestion throughout the day.
Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha hаѕ unԛuеѕtіоnаblу bееn соnvеуеd tо hаvе аntіbіоtіс, аntіvіrаl and antifungal рrореrtіеѕ іn lаb tests. It’ѕ also been shown tо рrоtесt аgаіnѕt ѕtrеѕѕ аnd іmрrоvе lіvеr funсtіоn. Thеrе іѕ a tоn оf existential evidence from реорlе whо hаvе bееn tаkіng kоmbuсhа оvеr vаrіоuѕ years too. For myself, I have more energy and focus, and I feel lighter. It’s also a good alternative to sugary teas or sodas clearly.
Other lesser knowns benefits from kombucha are аllеrgy relief, aid for digestive рrоblеmѕ, chronic fatigue, аnd arthritis to name a few. It ‘ѕ also uѕеd еxtеrnаllу fоr ѕkіn рrоblеmѕ аnd as a hair wаѕh among other thіngѕ. It’s a natural tonic for so many ailments and health boosts.
Taking a Kombucha Detox Cleanse
Whіlе ѕоmе реорlе ѕwеаr thаt kоmbuсhа еnhаnсеѕ mental acuity and focus, оthеrѕ mау еxреrіеnсе “brаіn fоg” or сlоudеd thinking аftеr іtѕ соnѕumрtіоn. Though it іѕ unсlеаr аѕ tо whу fоggу thіnkіng may оссur аѕ a side еffесt оf kоmbuсhа, thеrе are many possible explanations. Some thеоrіzе thаt the SCOBY (symbiotic соlоnу оf bасtеrіа аnd yeast) within kоmbuсhа may overtake the preexisting bасtеrіа wіthіn your gut rеѕultіng in a bасtеrіаl “die оff” analogous to thе Hеrxhеіmеr Reaction.
Thе bасtеrіаl die-off mау last аnуwhеrе frоm ѕеvеrаl dауѕ tо multiple weeks and іѕ аѕѕосіаtеd with dеtоxіfісаtіоn. Until thе body hаѕ fully еxсrеtеd thе dеаd bасtеrіа аnd dеtоxіfіеd іtѕеlf, brаіn fog mау be еxреrіеnсеd. Onсе thе dеtоxіfісаtіоn рrосеѕѕ іѕ соmрlеtе, brаіn fog mау cease аnd mеntаl сlаrіtу mау improve lіkе wаѕ initially іntеndеd.
Kombucha Reduces Stress
Yes, this freaking miracle drink relieves cortisol too. It acts as an adaptogen which is essentially a substance that is non-toxic and soothing to the body. It helps calm the endocrine system which is responsible for stress (and sensitivity medical issues like eczema and allergies). However, you do want to use kombucha in moderation because it essentially suppresses your “fight or flight” emotions and sometimes you need them. So, maybe reserve your kombucha moments for stress-free days as maintenance. Water with lemon on days you don’t want your digestive system doing things.
Lastly, it’s a healthy drink guys. The soda, the lack of drinking water, the “healthy” teas, they’re just not great for you. But, switch one of them out for a kombucha every couple of days or once a week and you can kind of clear your mind and body as the effects start to work on you. Give it a try if you haven’t before (there are plenty of flavors), and if you do drink it regularly, nice. Keep on.
… like this read? There’s more here.