If you’re a woman who finds men relationally-disappointing—and maybe so difficult to live with you wonder if it’s worth the effort—Mascupathy: Understanding and Healing the Malaise of American Manhood will help you fathom men’s inexplicable behavior.
As one of the book’s authors, I agree that men do behave badly, and it’s easy to assume the worse. But after working with thousands of men in our clinical practices, Randy Flood and I have found that they are seldom malevolent; just inept and insecure.
Not an advice book
Some authors give you advice and tell you how to fix the guys in your life. Instead, our book offers a new template for thinking about men and masculinity, pointing to patterns of socialized distortions of thinking as the reasons for behavior that men themselves can change. Our writing provides hope for men and for your relationships with them.
We have developed a new term, “mascupathy”—a pathology of masculinity—to describe men because we found that males of different cultures, races, ethnicities, socio-economic groups, and walks of life struggled with the same fundamental issues.
Men’s difficulties, we found, were not only a consequence of conventional mental health disorders such as OCD or PTSD. They were also the result of a pervasive socialized imbalance of men’s psyches which placed too much emphasis on masculine qualities—aggression and invulnerability—and not enough on the feminine side of their natures—a broad span of emotions and connection with other human beings.
As psychologists who have devoted our careers to counseling men, Randy and I concluded that, as a result of unbalanced, often extreme, masculinity,
- Most men, in spite of appearances, suffer from poor self-esteem. Many harbor feelings of shame and inadequacy because they are unable to meet the high standards for manliness dictated by their male socialization
- Virtually all men have endured repeated ridicule and actual physical attack from toddlerhood to the present, and have come to the conclusion that the world is not a safe place, consequently living in a state of high anxiety
- Men’s relationships with other men—and women—are often so problematic that they have developed an insularity from other people, and many live with a deep and painful sense of loneliness.
The confluence of poor self-esteem, shame, anxiety, insularity, and loneliness is devastating for most men, and it’s what produces their personally debilitating as well as relationally destabilizing and damaging behavior. It’s why they’re angry, dismissive, ridiculing, and distant.
Understanding men’s behavior
Perhaps it sounds as if we are exaggerating men’s suffering, but what women often don’t see is what’s behind the heavy suit of armor that men frequently wear to protect themselves from the assaults of other men. Showing fear or weakness is a violation of the rules of manhood; bottom line, they don’t let you or anybody else know much about their fears, humiliation, and self-contempt.
In short, most men are much more screwed up that you think.
Some years back, we wrote the groundbreaking book, Stop Hurting the Woman You Love: Breaking the Cycle of Abusive Behavior to help men end their assaultive behavior with women.
Mascupathy: Understanding and Healing the Malaise of American Manhood is also a game-changer. For everyone who wants to see beyond the mask of the men in their lives – especially women – this book provides the opportunity, as well offering new psychological treatments for men and reports on societal change. We anticipate it will provide you with both increased understanding and greater optimism that things with the men in your life can get better!