Suffering in Silence: The Emotional Abuse of Men | Dr. Timothy Golden | TEDxWallaWallaUniversity

Suffering in Silence: The Emotional Abuse of Men | Dr. Timothy Golden | TEDxWallaWallaUniversity

Translator: Mohand Habchi
Reviewer: Queenie Lee Thank you very much. Human beings simultaneously
inhabit two worlds. The first of these worlds
is seen and external. It is the world of our five senses, the world of sights and sounds and all that whistles
and goes bump in the night. This is the world of physics,
where life is somewhat predictable. I often tell my students
that no one breaks the law of gravity for if you try to break
the law of gravity, chances are the law
of gravity will break you. Instead, we find ways through the manipulation
of mechanistic, inexorable natural laws to comply with the laws of gravity so that when we fly in an airplane, we do so with some ease
and arrive at our destination safely. The second of these two worlds
is internal and unseen. It is the world of our thoughts,
our emotions and our feelings. We have a bad habit
of privileging what we see and ignoring what we don’t see. And this habit becomes
especially problematic when we consider the fact
that what is unseen and what is neglected
is often what is most important. For example, if all of the oxygen
were sucked out of this room right now, all of us would see how important it is,
but we do not see oxygen. Tonight, I want to tell you
a story of a man who lived long enough to know that what was unseen and important, that is his inner life, the life of what the Greeks
called the Psyche or the soul, that though so important to him, this life was neglected,
terribly neglected. Neglected by his spouse,
neglected by the larger society, and neglected to such a degree
that it led him on more than one occasion to the point of considering
taking his own life. As you listen to the story of this man, I want you to think very carefully
about the men in your lives. I want you to think about your fathers.
I want you to think about your husbands. I want you to think about your brothers,
your uncles and your nephews. This man begins his life in a household that some might
rightly call hyper-masculine. He grows up, the youngest of seven children in a home with three brothers and three sisters. He affectionately calls himself
the tiebreaker. And growing up in a household
with a father and three brothers was sort of like growing up
with four fathers, and growing up in a household
with a mother and three sisters was sort of like growing up
with four mothers. And this household was,
by today’s standards, I would venture to say,
rather chauvinistic. The men had more important things
to do than cook or clean – after all, the men had
to watch football on Sunday. And as this man’s father saw it,
it was the task of the women to tend to the men and make sure
that they had food to eat while they watched the game. And one of the cardinal rules
in this man’s household was that men were never supposed to cry. Men were never supposed to show emotion. Men were never supposed
to cry or show emotion, because to do so was to demonstrate
to the rest of the world, which, by the way,
was always out to get you, that you were weak somehow. And in a strange sort of way,
this man grew up in a household where he never once saw his father cry. As he grew up and moved
through high school, this hyper-masculine mentality
sort of served him well. He excelled on the football
team in high school and bears the distinction to this day
of being the only male in his family who played on a football team
that actually won a league championship. And through all
of the challenging practices in the hot summer sun
before the season started and through all of the bumps and bruises
of playing football in high school, his father’s advice and the advice
of his brothers served him well: “Ignore how you feel even when it hurts.” On the football field, this works nicely
because it means you’re tough, it means you’re a team player. And so his ethics, his value system of being tough, served him well through his adolescent years,
through college. And then he got married. And when he got married, he carried his ideas of masculinity
with him into the marriage. When he got married, he noticed that his spouse
seemed preoccupied with his physical appearance. And from time to time, she would comment
on how displeasing it was to her. And she would comment
on how unattractive he was to her, in the most intimate of ways. She would remark to him about how other men
who she knew in the past that she never even considered dating,
let alone marrying, were far more attractive than he was. But because he had always been taught
to ignore how he felt, he kept going. And it was just like the bumps and bruises
that you experience on the football field: your leg may hurt, but you keep playing
because you have to take it for the team. You have to be a team player. And so he ignored the way he felt,
and he kept going. And not long into his marriage,
he began to see very clearly that his feelings of inadequacy
and a profound sense of worthlessness began to affect him deeply. And he started to experience
intense bouts of depression. But he was always told
to ignore how he felt. He was always told not to cry,
for the cry would make him less of a man. In fact, he was told men don’t even talk
about things like thoughts or feelings. And this pattern continued
throughout his marriage to the point where every
six months to a year, he could with some accuracy pinpoint the moment in time when he would be confronted
with an episode of rage and hostility about what he looked like
and how unattractive he was to his spouse. He continued and persisted,
always ignoring how he felt. Until one day, the hostility
and anger that confronted him reached crisis proportions as his spouse committed
what some would suggest was the ultimate act of betrayal in withdrawing completely from the physical side of the relationship and unilaterally declaring celibacy until such time as he made himself
more attractive for her. Now his feelings of worthlessness
have reached a boiling point. And now, he begins to reach out for help. And for the first time,
about three years ago, this man in our story begins to run internet searches
about how he’s feeling. He couldn’t talk about it, because his father’s voice
still echoed from his grave: “Men don’t talk about things like that.” And as he typed
in the Google search field “feeling of worthlessness,
sadness, depression,” he came across a definition
of emotional abuse. And the definition of emotional abuse
that he found was “an ongoing process where one person systematically diminishes then destroys the inner life of another.” Remember how we inhabit two worlds, one outer and external and seen,
and the other internal and unseen? He realizes now that he has
a name for how he’s feeling. And then he looks up the symptoms. And chief among the symptoms
of emotional abuse is a fixation of the abuser on some physical characteristic
of the abused. And it says that the fixation may persist,
in the worst cases, for decades. And as he thought about it
and as he reflected on it, he came to understand that her persistent demands for him to lose weight
and change his appearance, to make himself more attractive, bore the hallmark symptom
of emotional abuse. He then came across others,
which were menacing tones and looks, and he realized that recently,
the anger and hostility had been ratcheted up to a level
that he had never seen before. And so now, he sees multiple symptoms
of emotional abuse, and he’s in crisis. So he reaches out. And one of the first places
he reaches out to is his church. And he discovers, quite tragically,
that his church is woefully unprepared to deal with abusive situations in terms of emotional abuse in marriages. Now, for the first time,
he understands what he heard all of the women in his church
say for decades, which was “I’m in an abusive relationship,
and the church can’t help me.” Now, for the first time, this man
who had been taught his entire life to ignore the way he felt,
he understood the plight of women in a way that he had
never understood before. All his church could do was tell him
to “stay married and work it out.” And then, fortunately for him, there was one small church about two and a half hour
south of where he lived that provided him a place
through a small men’s group to share how he was feeling. And he discovered that he was
far from being the only one who experienced what he had
been experiencing for so long. In fact, as he engaged
other men in conversation, he realized that their inner lives
had been disregarded as well. Since then, no less than five or six men
have come up to him and said, “Every time you tell me
what happened to you, I’m thoroughly convinced
that you are telling my story.” He got to a place where he thought
that his only way out, having turned to his church for help, having turned to certain male friends
for help and being disappointed, he got to a place where the only thing
he thought he could do to relieve himself of this pain
was to end his life. And on more than one occasion
hatched a plot to do exactly that. This plot reached crisis proportions
when he came to see that the thoughts of suicide
no longer bothered him but rather gave him peace
because, contrary to popular belief, people who kill themselves are not upset, they actually feel quite calm because they know the next step
will bring them relief. He sought a clinical intervention and was talked off of the proverbial edge. And now, this man
is at a much better place. As this man has talked
about his story with other men, they have, as I said a moment ago,
said to him, “You’re telling my story.” I want to take you back to your fathers, to your husbands, to your uncles, to your brothers and to your nephews. And I have a sense that as I talk
and deliver these words to you tonight, I’m probably telling
some of their stories too. I know the man in our story, quite well. That man is me. I hope that as a result
of something I’ve said tonight, someone, some man, somewhere,
somehow, someway, will cease to suffer in silence because someone has listened in a way that has allowed them
to be touched by the story, not necessarily of themselves, but by the story of the men
or man in your life. The aim of tonight’s talk
is to raise awareness and to bring attention
to what is so often neglected. That is to say to the inner life
of a human being. I’m confident that if we give
the inner life of a human being this sort of attention, that men and women will no longer have to suffer in silence. Thank you. (Applause)


  1. If a woman see you cry, she automatically lose respect for you. People in general lose respect when a man make drama or cry. It makes you seem weak, and everybody hates weak men

  2. I was violently abused repeatedly by my first ever girlfriend for a period of 1.5 yrs.
    When I could not keep it under my hat any longer and needed to speak out I was told I was playing the victim… and trying to turn people against her unfairly.
    I had very little support and my abuser went on to further drag my name through the mud to any who would listen.
    I lost a lot of friends in this time but if I had have done even a 10th of what she did to me I would have most definitely have gone to prison and have a criminal record for domestic abuse and aggravated assault.

  3. My first girlfriend was clinically depressed and I always cared for her and made her happy, but when I had two of the worst depressive episodes I ever had one after another over the course of 4 months, she couldn’t be bothered to help me and just let me rot alone and then dumped me. She still wanted to be friends though, yeah no, she tried to talk to me again but I am staying as far away as possible, nobody needs “friends“ like this. Women are the worst.

  4. Man am I thankful that I grew up with a loving mother and father who both taught me to never suppress any emotions and who always treated me like a person not a machine. I hope for all my my brothers and sisters out there who are going trough rough times that you find somebody who accepts you as you are.

  5. There is definetly truth to your story and the bigger Picture you try to draw but People in the Comments act like women are like some kinda devils who only wait to abuse their boyfriends/husbands etc. Truth about a saying like "man up" is quite simple: you pretty much have to be self-confident enough to stand behind the things you want and the things you don't want (all genders LEMAU). You cannot escape realtionships and there will always be, to a degree of course, some kinda abuse. I think the people who watch this video just take it as an evidence but the truth is my dear cis gender males that everyone gets abused. And making men a special case is just wrong. Amen Lol

  6. I've been learning how unsafe it is to live openly. I actually grew up in a household that taught to speak our feelings etc. But in recent years I've learned that hardly anyone cares much about it and I'm starting to take myself less seriously. Probably I was too far on the opposite end of the hyper masculine scale, being sensitive and taking my feelings too seriously. But there should be a balance and I don't see that. I see that I have to let all my grievances slide and let everyone else grieve their troubles and blame me etc. No room for my troubles but they expect me to understand theirs. I'll do my best to figure this out without letting myself get too neglected. I have a couple ppl I can talk to so it's not a total disaster. It's just weird cuz I'm not young anymore and I'm only just realizing how wrong I have always been about reality and that I'm really nothing special.

  7. I started drinking at 38 trying to hide and it ended badly 12 years later. My then wife’s lover also had a wife who started drinking at the same time. She killed herself at the same time I made my second almost successful try. This was no coincidence as we both were put under intense emotional abuse for quite a period. The power we give to our partners is so easily used to drive unaware partners to self harm and gives the abuser a legal murder.

  8. Dudes, sometimes I cry, I am weak, I am needy of affection and have fears. That is okay.
    I am also deserving of love, kindness and gentleness and if I'm being mistreated I will say so!

    For all guys in dysfunctional relationships:
    It takes a lot energy but it is possible to push through and leave (been there)! Good luck and a lot of love for you

  9. Interesting concept but society will never have sympathy for men the way they have for women. That's a lost battle and not worth fighting for. I suggest men form small tight knit group among themselves if they need help coping. Just like a lion men have to fight alone or with a small coalition. That's that.

  10. My father thought you should treat your boys with brutality and emotional abuse to make you a man it just made me a man full of hate

  11. Same old story, I want the sexes to separate altogether. What's wrong with watching football on a Sunday, after-all…that's what she's been doing all day during the week while he toiled at work.

  12. The church by its very nature requires hordes of followers with their heads in the sand, it has no interest in social orders.

  13. My mother has done this to me my entire life. It is a very hard thing, to walk away from your mother, in order to save yourself.

  14. Had an EX say … "I did not know men had feelings tell I meet you" … In the end she beat me over the head over it …

  15. ive learned to deal with my pain alone because no one cares, im always the psychiatrist friend but never have i met a friend willing to listen to me which only adds to the problem which is the darkness that is loneliness

  16. Ice Cube if he became a professor of Philosophy, Legal Studies Program Coordinator, and Director of the Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture at Walla Walla University

  17. Thank you, Timothy. Yes, I listened. I work for homeless men in my town, and this story is many of their stories. And mine.

  18. Mothers are the biggest emotional abusers to their sons.but men arent allowed to to mention that cuz supposedly mothers can do no wrong..well as a man im here to say foh

  19. Kazuma Satou said: (Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!) I yearn for true gender equality. I have no patience for one who talks about female privilege when it suits them, and then complains about someone "not being a man" when it's convenient.

  20. Yea I can’t relate because I wasn’t taught to ignore my feelings…. I was taught too handle my feelings and get them in check. Because in the end feelings don’t make 💰.

  21. yeah it amazing on both sides its curse and blessing,, we are ether thick headed and stubborn or worthless or emotionalless terminators ether way men are not important any man with a sack can see these larger issues on all levels.

  22. All men and women have the capability to be abusive, there is no "crazy chick" or "psycho guy" in this situation. Could be something as little as manipulation which I think a majority of people have exhibited at one or several points in their life.
    Don't treat this as an issue of "oh that girl is just mean and crazy". Think "what is the point I myself will make someone endure hardship?". Everyone has that point, and strive to minimize it however you can. If you tell yourself "oh I'm not like that", you're lying to yourself.

  23. I always was taught to never act emotionally. Feeling emotion is fine but we must act with rational thought and logic so our emotions do not destroy us. But this brother told my story and the story of countless other men.

  24. Imagine a world where everything was reversed. Women were laughed at for showing weakness and anything done to men was a serious offense

  25. This would be a lot more interesting if the sentences were broken up… like they were… made up… all on…the spot

  26. The problem wasn't him. It was HER. She was severely insecure, but didn't have the sense, character, empathy, or guts to face it.

  27. Never ignore your gut feelings. A woman's abuse often goes undetected whereas a man's abuse is obvious. Both are capable of abuse.

  28. Men need to start talking about their pains, cos it seems the crazy people of the world think men are fine and always predators.

  29. I'm a woman that has been emotionally abused by people in my life and I completely feel for anyone, man or woman that has gone through this. We are taught to protect women and our feelings and that men will hurt us and because of that mentality many of us believe that we are always the victim and never men. It's really sad because we are all humans that deserve to be treated with respect, do not listen to what your upbringing and the culture tells you. Be kind to everyone.

  30. i get it and its true i guess, but cmon, if your partner can't love you for you tell them to kick rocks or start exercising.

  31. Thank you so much for this. It's hard to just be "Ok" when you feel your in a hole being barried alive with so much indifference toward you from the person you love more than anything.

  32. physical violence is never acceptable. but emotional violence with intent to kill the soul is swept under the rug. its important this issue is spoken about and encouraged that such malicious words should stop being said, recognized for its intent to harm the will to live.

  33. Is there any chance of a correlation between this topic and the shootings that have taken place in our society in the last 20 years?

    The overwhelming majority are committed by men. If a man is pushed to the brink of suicide, than homicide can't be too far away. This is a problem that must be solved.

  34. this is why the only people i consider friends are the ones who i can tell anything, without worrying about being mocked or them spreading it around. whether they're male or female doesn't matter. this guy probably thought he had tons of friends, being a former football player, but actually had 0. better to have 4 people around you who will help you through anything, than 400 who let you contemplate suicide.

  35. This is exactly why the MGTOW movement is picking up steam. Men don't see women as loving anymore, but narcissistic psychopaths.

  36. Emotional abuse is just a bit of fun for women. Why be kind to a man, or even bother caring about him when you have 10 new dicks popping up in your inbox every week?

  37. Wife: You need to be more open. You need to talk about your emotions. You need to let things out.

    Also Wife : You can talk to me about anything.

    Husband : Opens up to wife about his emotions.

    Wife: Gets annoyed at the very idea that anything she does could be wrong, totally disregards and discards everything you say.

  38. And 2019 men are the problem, I understand thoughts of ending it. I got our of an unfaithful and abusive relationship almost 3 years ago, almost cost me my freedom, did cost me my kids, and the worst part is when I ask for help I'm only worth what's in my bank account, I want to see my kids and know they are ok I want them back home with me

  39. Guys and Ladies…This is not a competition on who suffer more. We should minimizs abuses as much as possible, for men, women, old, young, of all ethnicity. Even if someone fron the most priviledged class (whatever that is) is being abused, he/she is being abused, it does not hurt less and we need to find ways to stop it! We are all made of flesh and blood.

  40. Thanks Dr Timothy Golden, Please also read the book 'Men Who Suffer Emotional Abuse. The Silent Suffering. A guide to help' I suffered acute emotional abuse for 10 years. The book is available on the internet. it has help all the men that have read it. Do share and let us discuss further, Many thanks

  41. A victim can also be a perpetrator. But specific groups are defended. Specific groups are told not to have feelings.
    It starts in the beginning, reading books to kids, girls are made of…… and boys are made of. You fill in the blanks. Respect has been replaced with entitlement with the protection of victim now a business. There is representatives in parliament by most groups, how about men's?

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