Helping Men Express their Grief
Grief is a very powerful emotional response to a heartbreaking event. After the loss of a loved one, the grief can be overwhelming. However, most men tend to internalize emotional responses. Traditionally speaking, women tend to be more open about their feelings, whereas most men try to remain stoic at funerals. This is often because of societal norms and wanting to seem “masculine.” However, expressing emotions is healthy, and it is best not to bottle up feelings. While everyone grieves differently, it can be helpful to help your loved one let out their emotions, rather than bottling them up. This article will explore how to help your husband, brother, father, son, or another male relative deal with their grief in a healthy manner.
Internalization vs Emotional Responses
The internalization of feelings is a defensive mechanism to prevent one from having to deal with them. This is just a temporary solution and does not help your loved one deal with the emotions that they are feeling. However, not everyone will have a very emotional response. Pushing your loved one to open up will probably only frustrate them. Help them open up by asking them to talk about how they are feeling, and don’t force them to share.
Doing over Expressing
Expressing emotions doesn’t come easily to everyone. Sometimes, it is best to encourage your loved one to do something that helps them express their feelings. This can be easier for those who are typically uncomfortable with emotions. Encourage them to dive into a favorite hobby, or to try something new. It might help them to try out a hobby that was a favorite of the deceased. Exercise can also be a healthy outlet for grief when done safely.
All-Male Support Groups
Maintaining a sense of masculinity is often a major reason why men find it difficult to express intense emotions of grief. Encourage your loved one to go to an all-male support group. Most men who go to support groups can find comfort in seeing others in a similar situation. A support group may help them find a safe place to open up. This can be one of the best outlets for your loved one, should you manage to get them to go.
Individual Grief Counseling and Therapy
Individualized counseling or therapy can be an incredibly effective resource for your loved one. However, many people, men especially, can be apprehensive about seeing a therapist or counselor. If your loved one is open to the idea, you should encourage them to seek individual treatment for their grief. Talking with a professional counselor can help your loved one work through their emotions in a healthy and private manner.
The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here.
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.