The mystery of big boys’ crying | Sunday Observer

The mystery of big boys’ crying

20 March, 2022

Who chokes up at sad films? Who gets so swept away by excitement that they hug complete strangers? Who falls apart when a relationship ends? Most of you may think it is only women who cry, unable to bear their emotions.

However, more than women, big boys cry. Big boys may be teenagers or even adults who are very powerful. Psychologists say a man’s emotional life is as complex and rich as a woman’s. To a man, this is a mystery. To a woman, it is equally a mystery.

Most of us think that emotions have a female trademark. When you see a man crying, you tell him, “Don’t cry like a woman.” However, emotions do not differentiate between men and women. In a study of emotional intelligence involving 500,000 adults, men rated just as high in emotional awareness. I have seen husbands crying like their wives when their stress levels soar. The unpalatable truth is that both men and women cry, rejoice and pout, but they process and express their emotions differently.

If you wish to know more about men’s emotions, you should read psychologist Josh Coleman’s “The Lazy Husband.” He says, “Emotions live in the background of a man’s life and the foreground of a woman’s. Testosterone affects feelings in men, who compartmentalize and intellectualize more. Women seem naturally more in touch with their emotions while men have to work at them. But when they do, it’s a win-win situation. Their relationships are happier and they are happier too.”

Emotional intelligence

In order to understand why men and women react differently, we should have a nodding acquaintance of emotional intelligence. According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence involves the ability to get along well with others. It provides us with understanding of what other people are feeling and experiencing and permits us to respond appropriately to others’ needs. Although emotional intelligence cannot be taught in a classroom, it reminds us that there are more ways to demonstrate intelligent behaviour. Even crying can be considered a part of intelligent behaviour.

More than women, men are emotionally clueless. Take for instance, a young man who gets his dream job as an executive in a big company. He has a company-maintained vehicle, a well-furnished apartment and a good-looking wife. He thinks life has given him everything he had desired. However, one day he gets a stroke and he becomes paralysed. He loses his job and is confined to a wheelchair. He had been cruising along, not expressing much of anything, not aware that anything can happen in life. Big boys and even adults should question themselves why they are so emotionally clueless.

David Powell, President of the International Centre for Health Concerns, says the connection between the left brain, home of logic, and the right, the seat of emotions, is much greater in women. According to him, women have the equivalent of a major highway, so they move readily between the right and left brains. For men, the connection is like a meandering country lane.

Neurological reward

Unlike big boys, teenage girls spend a lot of time gossiping, shopping, exchanging secrets and experimenting with clothing and hairstyles. They are always on the phone because they actually need to communicate to reduce their stress levels. Psychologist Louann Brizendine says, “Because of the rush of dopamine (which stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres) and oxytocin (which makes you want to bond, love, and connect with others), girls experience the biggest, fattest neurological reward they can get outside of an orgasm.”

Teenage boys, however, become brooding and monosyllabic. The testosterone that marinates their brains not only drives them to frenzies and also reduces their wish to talk or socialize if it does not involve girls or sport. Overall, in the teen years the differing hormonal effects on the brain cause males and females to go off in different directions. Boys gain self-esteem through independence from others while girls gain it through the closeness of their social bonds.

Men’s brains are more specialized and compartmentalized with their spatial and language skills located in specific centres, while women’s brain functions are generally more diffused, with these skills controlled by centres on both sides. Men’s brains give them an action orientation and a preference for things over people. They are disturbed when women cry, and wonder why it happens. Women cry more often than men because they have more to cry about. However, when a male teenager or a man cries, there must be something seriously wrong.

Social stereotypes

Men in higher positions try hard not to show their emotions. They always keep their feelings under guard, showing emotions and crying is somewhat infradigfor men. Boys learn such lessons from their parents who talk less about feelings to sons than daughters. At an early age the boys learn how to hold their tears. Their faces become less expressive than those of girls. While growing up boys conform to the social stereotypes.

Unlike women, men use fewer words when they talk. Men usually swap information as they talk shop, sports, cars and computers. Women talk to clear their heads, but men think before they talk. Vulnerability is the main reason for men to remain silent. For that matter, men are more insecure than women. But they do not show their insecurity. A man knows that he should be brave in whatever he does. Still, he feels powerless.

In a marriage, a woman expects her husband to be a rock and wants him to perform emotional gymnastics. However, women do not know that their husbands do not have a clear road map. Without a road map no man can be emotionally strong. On the other hand, men lose their tempers more than women.

The rage of men comes out of frustration. Those who shout at workers or family members have not learnt the art of working with their emotions. Acolleague who always shouted at customers had to go in for an early retirement when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When illness struck him he realized that he should have been more concerned about his customers.

If a man does not want to shed tears, there are many ways to do so. It is always advisable to find a creative outlet such as playing a musical instrument or painting. Such activities tap into a man’s soul. Most of the emotionally charged people have become great artists and musicians. Another outlet is to take part in sports. When you hit a ball with a bat or run along a jogging track, you have time and the inclination to calm down. Such people are never subject to extreme emotions such as anger. [email protected]