Despite the existence of trauma in the lives of many men, the subject often gets overlooked or downplayed in popular culture and media. Toxic masculinity suggests that men should be able to deal with any horrible situation without any lasting impact, as if the physical and mental experiences can be simply shut off and shut out. Generations of this type of thinking has only done harm to men. Today, let’s talk about how men who have suffered trauma can effectively respond to it in healthy ways and begin the healing they rightfully deserve.
Although women experience post-traumatic stress more than twice as much as men, men are more likely to face a traumatic event in their lifetime. This kind of trauma can come from physical or sexual abuse, from family members or other personal connections. Unresolved trauma can lead to mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Trauma in early childhood may not be remembered yet still can have an impact on a man’s physical and mental well-being. Trauma-informed care can be part of a comprehensive substance use treatment program and dual diagnosis treatment.
Trauma often gets hidden in men’s lives.
Masking the effects of trauma can begin early in life if the traumatic experiences start in childhood. Boys may learn to conceal their feelings if they don’t feel safe sharing with them. They feel uncomfortable talking about the traumatic experience. Often it comes from a feeling of shame over the trauma or how they’re responding to it. They may expect people to focus only on talking about it if they bring it up. Hiding it may feel like a way to control the experience. By adulthood, men may have become masters at never bringing it up and not sharing it, even in their most intimate relationships.
Men can experience physical abuse in family relationships.
Physical abuse may be more common in childhood when boys are most vulnerable. But, physical abuse can continue into adulthood when in the company of volatile family members. The abuse may involve violent attacks. There may be verbal threats to not tell other people, including other family members. Men aren’t always aware of what traumatized them. In cases of early childhood abuse, they may not be able to remember what happened. A lack of conscious memories of physical abuse at any age doesn’t reduce the effects of trauma.
Men can experience sexual abuse in relationships.
Sexual abuse or assault can start at any age, and boys can be harmed sexually by family members or anyone close to them, related or not. A feeling of shame can follow this kind of traumatic experience. As teens, the abuse can occur in relationships with peers or in unlawful teacher-student relationships. As adults, men also can experience sexual abuse in their intimate relationships. It may happen during consensual moments or non-consensual moments. A man’s gender doesn’t prevent him from feeling traumatized in this way.
Trauma affects a man’s mental health.
Unresolved trauma can lead to developing depression or anxiety. It can also worsen the symptoms of these conditions when left untreated. Men can feel powerless and struggle with maintaining healthy relationships and their self-esteem. They may feel their identity has been shaped and set in stone by the traumatic event. As they replay it in their minds, coping may be more and more difficult. The inability to cope with their feelings can lead to impaired judgment and pave the way for unhealthy behaviors, including drinking, drug use, or other risky behaviors. They may find living independently becomes a challenge, too, and rely on family members or friends as a resource for money, favors, and even a place to live.
Trauma therapy for men can be part of substance use treatment.
Trauma can be part of a patient’s comprehensive assessment for drug or alcohol treatment. Finding out it’s a contributing factor to substance use helps. A program can be personalized to the patient to include trauma therapies. These interventions can help a patient starting recovery learn healthy and constructive ways to respond to the feelings caused by past trauma. During a residential program, men can practice strategies. Through the community support of treatment, they also can learn how some of their peers have been affected by traumatic experiences in childhood or adulthood.
Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1019.