If the expression of depression Is part of the solution, who Is helping men express depression?
Are men taking responsibility to help themselves express their depression? Hardly. Men are still most likely to buy adventure books, financial journals, and sports magazines that teach men to solve problems, overcome barriers, or repress feelings. There are few men’s shelters, masculist psychologists, men’s crisis lines, or men’s centers. The biggest "men’s center" is San Quentin prison.
Are psychologists helping men? Once sought out, yes. But when the American Psychological Association first discovered hd. people born in the last thirty years report depression more, most agreed it was due to young people being more psychology minded and more willing to report depression.34 They saw the reporting of depression as a sign of people being empowered. However, when it was later found that women report depression more, a task force was formed to explore the problem, and the head of the task force immediately announced that women doubtless reported depression more because they were the greater victims of recent social change. The moment depression was associated more with women, the reporting of it went from being seen as evidence of progress to being seen as evidence of victimization.35 And by the American Psychological Association!
Similarly, Dan Kiley (of Peter Pan Syndrome fame) estimates that between 10 and 20 million women live with a man and still feel alone.36 Why only women? Here’s his explanation: "The vast majority of these sufferers are females (males typically do not let lonely feelings manifest themselves)."
In fact, people who suffer but cannot express it are suffering more deeply. They need more help, not less.
Isn’t it bad therapy to identify only the woman as a victim? Yes. But it’s good politics. Why? Singling out the woman allows as to make her feel special. But special as what? Special as a victim
The solution? Focus on the couple. Or on the issue – for both sexes. But this would require us to tell the woman equally as often, "Your husband is also feeling lonely with you. perhaps because he is also involved in a dysfunctional relationship.’’ It is a sign of our respect for women when we are equally willing to ask a woman to look at the ways she might also be contributing to a dysfunctional relationship.
The woman-as-victim approach results in self-improvement books telling their female readers they’ take too much responsibility for the happiness and welfare of others. What is fairer is that both sexes do this in different ways. For example, when women cry. men take too much responsibility for trying to solve their problems.
The typical husband of this woman is characterized as critical, demanding, and uncommunicative. But how can a man be critical and demanding if he’s not communicating? Well, it is possible, but when his criticism is heard rather than labeled, it is often the first step to real communication.
We need to hear when men communicate rather than deny they are communicating because they do it imperfectly, and then deny they suffer because they don’t communicate. Until we do, men will not report their depression to therapists – or to anyone. They will be rough, tough cream puffs: the suicide class.