“It’s a catch 22, eventually it becomes too much and I end up exhausted and resentful.”Like Johnson, most of the women I spoke to for this piece believe that their ego and self-worth are often wrapped up in being a man’s crutch.
“I’m tired of having to replace another broken bedside table because he didn’t realize he needed to talk about his feelings,” she admits. The persistent idea that seeking therapy is a has produced a generation of men suffering from symptoms like anger, irritability, and aggressiveness, because not only are they less likely than women to pursue mental health help, but once they do, they have a hard time expressing their emotions.
(This is so common there’s even a technical term for it: “.”) For millennial men in particular, a major challenge is understanding they need help in the first place.
I had to be his emotional guru because he was too afraid to admit he had any emotions at all,” recalls the 24-year-old English teacher, who was studying for her Ph D at the time.
Kelly’s boyfriend refused to talk to other men or a therapist about his feelings, so he’d often get into “funks,” picking pointless fights when something was bothering him.
“Men drain the emotional life out of women,” says the 41-year-old, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I love ‘em, but good lord, they’ve become the bane of my existence.” Johnson admits she enables her brothers by saying yes all the time—partly out of guilt, but also partly because she loves being needed—“to feel important,” Johnson explains.
“Men have never been taught how to identify what their emotional needs are, their thoughts and feelings, or to express how someone can help them fulfill these,” explains Dr.
Angela Beard, a clinical psychologist at the Veterans Affairs in Dallas, Texas.
Eventually, Kelly became his default therapist, soothing his anxieties as he fretted over work or family problems.
After three years together, when exhaustion and anxiety landed her in the hospital and her boyfriend claimed he was “too busy” to visit, they broke up.
It’s for this reason that artist Lindsay Johnson jokingly calls herself everyone’s “Beck and Call Girl.” Not only does she take care of her husband and children, she just moved in with her mom to take care of her as well, because she knows her brothers won’t.