Dr. Helen

Why Do So Many Middle- Aged Men Feel So Lost?

This is the title of a recent (rather patronizing) article at The Telegraph that many of you have been sending me this week. From the article:

They are all part of a “sandwich generation”: they sit between the baby boomers and the digital natives. And they are a group who have, according to recent statistics, lost their way. The Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report for 2014 shows that men aged 40-44 are the demographic group with the highest rate of suicide, nearly four times that of women the same age; for those aged 45-54, the rate is roughly three times higher for men than women. New data from the Office of National Statistics confirm those findings. And although the statistics aren’t always straightforward (there may be under-reporting of female suicides), things aren’t getting better: while the male rate fell for most of the past decade, since 2012 it has been back on the rise.

So what is a middle-aged man to do according to the article? Get rid of masculinity of course but isn’t that always the answer?:

Terry Real, a psychologist and the author of “How Can I Get Through to You? Reconnecting Men and Women” thinks the time has come for men to readjust their sights. Our culture’s masculine code, he says, dictates that “men don’t need relationships, men don’t need to be connected, men don’t need to be heartfelt”.

The answer, Real says, is to understand and then reject that old, outdated part of the masculine code, which gave a sense of entitlement, a sense that men can “go home, rip open our belts, pop open a beer, belch and be loved. We just don’t get away with that anymore.”

As for Henry, he has hope. He has recently found a job, has a new partner and has come off the dole. “It’s a start,” he says. “You’ve got to start somewhere, haven’t you? Even when you’re 50.”

Yeah, it’s all about entitlement. Maybe men are depressed because the middle-aged ones are expected to do it all without being loved, without positive feedback and because society hates them for being men. Who wouldn’t feel disgusted and depressed in a society that values your life and feelings so little? Kind of like the author of the article. I just love the way the caption to the article states that the author, Lucy Cavendish “lends an ear.” It seems to me she lent more like a kick in the balls to men that she has little empathy for and doesn’t really understand. Where are real articles in mainstream magazines and papers about what men are truly dealing with? Not this re-hash of men’s lives written by women who really don’t have a clue.