Most differences in how men and women grieve are the results of social responses and gender- specific roles. Not dealing with feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, isolation, physical problems and abuse. Be a man; don’t cry. This is a message little boys are given, which often impairs them from doing this natural part of grieving as adults.
Men don’t need help. Many men would rather drive around lost than ask for help. During grief, this may be how they feel- lost and reluctant to ask for help. Seeking help is a sign of weakness. Because men are already work oriented they can us that excuse to further avoid dealing with grief and hurt. They suffer in silence, believing they need to be strong, and that no one cares. Society puts this on men, so they often repress and suppress their feelings.
It is okay for men to be angry, but it isn’t okay to feel hurt, scared, to display tender feelings, or to cry. Society projects this macho image on the male identity, thus making it difficult for men to feel comfortable with expressing their feelings.
“Even though men have those needs to be strong for others, and to protect, we must remember that they defiantly grieve when they lose a beloved family member or friend. Grief is like a wave that knocks us down over and over again. Whether or not men talk much about it, they feel the force.” Judy Baker, MFT
Bereavement Ministry, 1997 Harriet Young