In almost every men’s group I have formed, men discuss problems they face at work – especially feelings of being unappreciated or criticized by bosses and colleagues. If we ask a man whether he has discussed this with his wife or woman friend, he usually says he has, but only superficially. Why? He says he doesn’t want to worry’ her.
Not worrying his wife about work fears is one of many male forms of nurturance – protecting the woman he loves from insecurity. So he puts on a facade of security that prevents him from asking for help through his deepest insecurities.
It is this male dilemma that creates the stress that silently damages men’s immune systems. He might seek temporary – satisfaction from a substitute wife (a second woman, second job, second rink, or second needle) . . . which is one reason he is three times more likely than a woman to have a drinking problem.26 If he doesn’t turn to an escape, an escape turns to him: cancer, a heart attack . . .