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14th of December 2018


Toxic Alpha Male Bluffing - The Good Men Project

Let’s play basketball. It’ll be a normal game for the most part. My team will get points any time one of us scores.  The players on your “team” will get points any time one of you scores, but we won’t add your individual scores together. To win, you have to score more points by yourself than my whole team makes together. Have fun fighting your teammates for the ball.

What’s that? You want to quit? I understand. You’re not the only one. According to the CDC, suicide among men is up almost 20% since 1981.During that same period, it has always been over twice the rate of suicide among women.

Men kill themselves so much more often than women because we rightly sense deep within ourselves that we are alone. There is no one to help us through the tough times. If there’s someone to share the good times with, so many of us are unable to really connect.

The good news is that most of our isolation is self-imposed. Don’t get me wrong. We didn’t really choose to be this way. We were taught, mostly by example, to be in the Man-Box. This complex of narcissism, repression and aggression forces us to be alone in both our outer and inner lives.

A friend of mine told me the other day: “Why don’t you call me any more? I’m completely alone.” I had to say to him: “You make yourself alone.” I used to work for him. We would agree on a time to meet up for work. The conversation would end with “Ok, I’ll see you at 9.” “Okay.” I would show up at 9 and call him to find out where he was. He would answer from bed, and forcefully demand to know why I didn’t call the night before to confirm that we were going to work…

Eventually I quit working for him. I realized that he was shifting the blame in order to maintain an illusion of dominance.

He was sidestepping the debt of accountability, because to admit a mistake would be to admit that he’s not The Man. Unfortunately, the price for being The Man, Infallible, Unquestionable, is that people have to choose between their relationship with you and their sanity.

That was my winter job. Fortunately I work (for a woman) as a greenhouse grower and landscaper during the spring and summer, and I’ll be a manager this spring. When I start leading my crew, I’m going to take a page out of my boss’s book: I’m going to treat everyone that works with me with gentleness and respect, keeping in mind that I need them just as much as they need me and that, if I’m honest about my shortcomings, people will help me overcome them, rather than beat me over the head. It works for my boss. I’m going to give it a try. Join me!

Photo: Amanda C. on

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