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Men and Grief


Men grieve differently from women. Our cultural roles make it difficult for men to look for support, and harder again to accept it. Men are so often silent, solitary mourners who immerse themselves in activity and private, symbolic rituals. They feel profoundly, but often can't express the depth of their loss.

A man is supposed to be "strong," to support, to cope, and to plan in the aftermath of loss. His own pain must be put away.

Grief doesn't discriminate between gender or culture. Our society has placed clear expectations and requirements upon our roles as men and women. Boys learn quickly what behaviour is considered inappropriate through such statements as, "Stand up and take it like a man." "You're the man of the house," and the insidiously cruel "Big boys don't cry."

Male grief tends to have four main characteristics.

1. Moderated feelings
Men have deep feelings but don't express openly, a more readily available feeling is anger. Men deal with their real feelings by redirecting their energies.

2. Cognitive Experience
Men work more with cognitions explaining their grief or with problem-focussed strategies that help them adapt and protect.

3. Problem-Focussed Activity
Men may adapt to loss by practical hands-on finding solutions to problems associated with the loss.

4. Desire for Solitude
Men don't seek support groups. They want to master their own feelings and also reflect the more practical behaviour involved in adapting to a loss.

Societal Demands on Men
Men are expected to be "in control" of life's demands and have to submit to the following demands society has placed on them. They're expected to :-

remain emotionally and physically strong
always be rational
don't cry or publicly mourn
don't ask for support or affection --- be self-sufficient
remain as non-expressive as possible
provide, not nurture
shake hands, don't hug.

These generalisations continue to hold their power over men in pain. Let's take the old myth about crying. The truth is it takes a truly strong man to be able to cry. Acknowledging that each of us grieve in very different ways can allow men to cope with loss and pain using their own various coping methods. We all grieve despite our gender, race or culture. We grieve because we have loved and, through our journey, we can be healed.

Tears are a gift
Grieving men need to hear that their tears are a gift to help their healing. Men have historically been fobbed off and denied this important gift. We need to open up to how men grieve and start sharing thoughts and feelings in a more meaningful, supportive way.

The realisation that grief can be a constructive, healing process, which can be shared with others, can inspire us all to be intentional in our grief process.

Susanna Duffy is a Civil Celebrant, mythologist and grief counsellor. She is a creator and guide of Rites of Passage for personal ceremonies and civic functions. Website: http://celebrant.yarralink.com


MORE RESOURCES:

Grief - Google News

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After school shooting, anger and grief dominate anti-gun rally - Miami Herald


Miami Herald

After school shooting, anger and grief dominate anti-gun rally
Miami Herald
They showed up bearing homemade signs and placards that honored the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. They chanted and cheered and spoke of surviving a massacre that claimed 17 of their friends, teachers and loved ones ...
'President Trump, do something!' Grief turns to anger as Florida victims' relatives plead for gun control measures Telegraph.co.uk
How Trump has responded to moments of national grief ABC News
Addressing 'a nation in grief,' Trump says he will visit Parkland Tampabay.com
CNN  - NBCNews.com
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Picture one LI grandfather's grief - Newsday


Newsday

Picture one LI grandfather's grief
Newsday
... Suffolk said it would follow Nassau's lead in adding opioids and other controlled substances to the county's social host law, which makes homeowners responsible for alcohol use by minors. And earlier this month, Long Island authorities were ...

Grief camp provides children with emotional outlets through arts and activities - Baltimore Sun


Baltimore Sun

Grief camp provides children with emotional outlets through arts and activities
Baltimore Sun
“It loosely follows [William] Worden's tasks of grieving, which are to accept the finality of the loss and incorporate it into your life and move forward and honor the emotions that you have,” said Anne Hansen, senior director of patient experience and ...

Grief as Filipina maid's body found in Kuwait freezer returns home - Khaleej Times


Khaleej Times

Grief as Filipina maid's body found in Kuwait freezer returns home
Khaleej Times
Grief as Filipina maid's body found in Kuwait freezer returns home. AFP/Iloilo (Philippines). Filed on February 17, 2018 | Last updated on February 17, 2018 at 10.37 pm. Share; More >. Vote. 0. Eva, mother of Joanna Demafelis (left), cries on receiving ...

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Nigel Havers credits wife for saving him from grief - RTE - RTE.ie


RTE.ie

Nigel Havers credits wife for saving him from grief - RTE
RTE.ie
Veteran actor Nigel Havers - who will shortly star at the Gaiety Theatre - credits his wife Georgiana Bronfman for saving him from grief following the death of his second wife, Polly Williams.

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There is no guidebook for grief, say editors of new compilation, 'Modern Loss' - The Times of Israel


The Times of Israel

There is no guidebook for grief, say editors of new compilation, 'Modern Loss'
The Times of Israel
More than a decade ago, Gabrielle Birkner and Rebecca Soffer became members of the same club — one neither of them ever wanted to be part of. As young women, they both suffered the sudden loss of both of their parents. Birkner's father and stepmother ...

The Starbucks in Parkland, Florida Has Become a Grief Center - Daily Beast


Daily Beast

The Starbucks in Parkland, Florida Has Become a Grief Center
Daily Beast
I know you're in a better place. Duques forever. Man I love you junior!!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!” https://www.instagram.com/p/BfNbqvJlUBj/?hl=en&taken-by=miguelduq19. It was signed with a black heart emoji. A GoFundMe account started by Miguel has raised ...

Grief and anger as Florida prepares to bury victims of school massacre - CNBC


CNBC

Grief and anger as Florida prepares to bury victims of school massacre
CNBC
As families prepared to bury victims of another U.S. mass shooting, grief mixed with anger amid indications that law enforcement may have missed clues about the suspected gunman's plans. Nikolas Cruz, 19, who had been expelled for disciplinary problems ...
'How Did This Happen?': Grief and Fury After Florida Shooting New York Times
Grief and anger as Florida town mourns young victims of deadly school shooting The Straits Times
Grief counselors offer support in the wake of Florida school shooting ABC News
Reuters  - NPR
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Grief counselling by the frozen peas. A story about snowflakes - Irish Times


Irish Times

Grief counselling by the frozen peas. A story about snowflakes
Irish Times
I know a wise woman who usually charges by the hour, but when things get really bad, she'll will give me 10 emergency minutes for free. I stand in the Centra, beside the frozen goods, and take counsel on a mobile phone. My friend Aisling died and I ...

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