Robo Man Syndrome, When Men Don’t Emote

Men Do Not Emote.  Well, SOME men. Robo Man Syndrome When Men Do Not Emote.  This is a common issue that comes up.

I’m Dr. Laura Dabney this is Joelle Brant we both work with executive men to help them with their relationships.  We support the Robo man syndrome men who do not emote.  We’ve talked about emotions and how they sometimes like to protect themselves from emotions in ways it might not be a good idea. Such as pathological altruism and doing everything for everyone at the expense of yourself not be at boundaries. We talked about boundaries more popular ones we spoke of panic and anxiety, yes, phobias oh yeah Joelle’s phobia.

I did kill an ant yesterday, so maybe I’m making progress.  Well I’ve been talking we’ve both been talking with Dr. Jed diamond, and I am fond of him. He is a psychologist who works outside of San Francisco, and he played a significant role in helping us understand men’s emotions. He has a very similar clientele to us. So we have a lot in common, and it’s been a joy to talk with him he wrote the book male menopause back in the 70s, and since then he’s gotten interested in what he calls irritable man syndrome. Which are men who feel the only emotion they’re allowed to have is anger.  If they’re hurt, they’re angry; if they’re sad, they’re mad, you know everything else comes out that’s anger!

That’s been interesting. So that’s what he sees the most that are what he sees a lot of. That’s what we’ve been writing about. I was talking about what I see and what we talked about, which is Robo man. It’s a little different than irritable man but along the same lines where men often feel that any kind of emoting is harmful or effeminate or something’s not right with it. They are trying to, and they will tell if this is a conscious thing they were trying to be robotic. I’m going to have no emotion shut down or get down even.

 I just shut it down yeah it’ll be the only kind of involute does the other word I use a lot the in Buddhist goes like oyster into their shell they clam up, and there’s nobody home this will not help you can’t penetrate that which can be very frustrating for people in their lives. They’re trying to get a sense of what’s going on, and there’s an emotion attached to what’s going on. They won’t even they won’t just say platitudes or general statements. They won’t get into it exactly I know you’ve seen this with some of your clients,  yeah it’s hard to pry them out of that show yes it’s tough because they or they don’t want to answer so you still have to just kind of like you said before.

I don’t know but slowly ask questions or keep trying to push them out of that comfort zone to you know it’s a tricky balance that we deal with in here, and that’s what we’re always trying to show you how we deal with the problems that come to us. It‘ finding the right balance of it.  Like a religion to them seriously, I also call it the Superman cape. They think they’re getting this is giving them some power, but it’s well in away. I’m trying to show them how well-worn it’s just you know it’s just fake it’s worn out it’s not working it’s hurting them a lot of time. Still, they develop it because whatever happened they had some dysfunction in their family doesn’t have to be we always talk about that doesn’t be a trauma or something majorly wrong the parents were horrible I’m not saying that, but sometimes there are parents who don’t think we’re taught how to deal with their emotions.

I work greatly um one thing too that I noticed it could be something where they didn’t realize to deal with the emotions in front of the children precisely they might have thought that no no no we can’t no fighting whatsoever in front of kids at all or no disagreements. So the children grow up thinking my parents didn’t ever discuss anything like this even though behind closed doors they did you know they communicated you bring up an excellent point this is, so it bothers me all the time.

I have patients who will say I didn’t want to cry in front of the kids why that’s an excellent way for your kids see the crying is healthy and that you get over it, yes but that’s to me that’s one of the things too is that you know it’s not my parents have parents work I’m like no it’s not saying the parents are bad. Still, it usually does come back to you know what you’d saw and learned growing up that’s a huge lesson we need to teach our children yeah is how to deal with emotions. A lot of people miss that so what they do is they do it a lot of kids do in a stressful situation like that is to determine all most declare war on the emotions mm-hmm so it’s not the parents who are a problem or have a problem right because that brings up too much anxiety, so she has a kid. You’re so dependent on your parents it’s the emotions if I didn’t have these emotions you know life would be great it makes sense logically it just doesn’t really work in real life because if you don’t deal with the feelings, they sit there and cause trouble like anxiety depression panic and certainly relationship problems.

Yes so they come, and all the other issue is, so they have this they’re not taught how to do it. Still, then they with men, in particular, they get with word praise praised right on the football field in the classroom in the boardroom exactly for being Robo man oh you’re so strong you’re so really about it then nothing bothers you you’re a rock how many times we heard that I’m everybody’s rock we heard that kids all the time yes not a robot, so you need to deal with that yes military people military men.

I see this a lot all right, so that’s the tricky part because there are times it’s great to be calm under pressure where you have to be it you have to be precisely especially when hearing a war situation, or it’s out in the battlefield or the boardroom it’s true yes you’re on the football field you have to think on your feet we’re so happy we are so excited for football season Patriots fan Giants fan. However, there’s a Browns fan amongst us if my husband ends an Eagles fan would mine we’re still not talking okay and back so severely so yeah you’re right all right we could speak football for a while, so they appraised more it’s tough to hear us say, so that’s part of the balance too directly we’re telling you won’t lose that you can keep that we like that there’s how many people have we if someone this is what the problem with a lot of the school shooters are they’re not able to contain the emotion right they’re acting out on us these people are doing the opposite they’re keeping them in keeping it in and not acting at all yeah okay so that’s fine we want you to do that.

Still, we need to add this piece when you’re home when you’re not on the battlefield when you’re with your spouse or your significant other you have to have somewhere your thumb pack that back yeah that’s an excellent way to put it yeah at some point you have to unpack the bag doesn’t have to be in front of everybody at work probably shouldn’t be it in front of everybody at work but that’s another tricky part because we’re saying you know you have to have some these emotions has to be part of your relationship or you have to emote to get over it, and they start to panic.

I am out I’ll lose my edge but that’s never seen it happen in 20 years or branches has gained so much more than you think the that’s well that’s Freud’s contribution emotionally healthy person was able to work in play right and that’s what we’re talking about being able to move from the robe, oh man it works and when you need to and then moving into marriage man very emotionally healthy no it’s the idea yes not to be stuck in if we don’t she held in the emoting that’s not healthy we don’t want you stuck in the robe oh man because that’s not healthy either balance right, so I’m talking dr. Diamond about that, so maybe we’ll get an article out of that or something exciting.