More and more people today are speaking up about negative aspects of the stereotypical expectations of masculinity on boys and men. Twitter user Absurdistwords decided to contribute to this conversation by highlighting the importance of acknowledging that men often face the same problems as women, such as emotional trauma, depression, eating disorders and unrealistic expectations. However, our culture doesn’t immediately acknowledge these struggles thus preventing men from getting the help they need to recover. Absurdistwords explains in his viral thread the concept of toxic masculinity and how it affects people’s lives.

Inspired by this thread, Imgur user BeorcKano decided to share his heartbreaking experience of growing up with a father who encouraged self-destructive behavior for the sake of being masculine. “It wasn’t until I started deconstructing my own behaviors and reactions that I started looking into the effects of striving to be hyper-masculine on my own mental and emotional well-being. I realized most of my concepts of what a “man” was supposed to come from a very broken person,” he told Bored Panda.

BeorcKano says that his family was not the only place where this kind of behavior manifested. “Most often I saw examples of my father’s behavior in many of the working class men of his generation. I was raised up around the labor industries, like roofing, logging, lumber mills, construction, remodeling, metalwork, so on and so forth, and most of the men that I ended up associating with were the same in many aspects. There was a nearly mandatory ‘hazing’ period of any new employees, especially the young men, where their ‘manliness’ was consistently called into question or tested with personal conflicts, posturing, insults, and general disrespect.” he says.

The man admits that his life took a better turn once he began reflecting on his childhood and realized what impact the pressure of being hyper-masculine had on him. “I realized that I exhibited many of the signs of being toxic in my level of masculinity, where my ego and image took precedence over the right thing to do. I was so concerned with making sure I never appeared weak or ‘un-manly’ that it was a significant impairment to admitting that I even had a problem to begin with. It’s like admitting that I wasn’t strong enough to withstand my lot in life, that I wasn’t a real man. Real men didn’t feel like this. I was an imposter, a fraud, and unworthy of the things I did have. This created a kind of cycle of anger and depression that fed itself and, coupled with my anxiety and C-PTSD, caused a pretty uncontrolled downward spiral.”

When asked what else he could say on the subject, BeorcKano said “I guess my final bit would be that just like nobody is saying that every single man is a serial rapist, and not every single man is a physically or emotionally abusive monster, well, not every single man suffers from toxic masculinity. It takes a deep level of honest introspective, a sort of selfless look at how your actions are affecting the men, women, boys, and girls in your life. Are you treating the women in your life as equals? Are the men in your life sources of unhealthy competition? Are you just ‘toughening up’ the boys in your life, and for what reason? Are you serving as an example to the girls in your life as to what to look for in a loving, supporting, emotionally available and mentally healthy partner? If you can honestly, truthfully say yes to these things without slanting your assessment in your favor because of ego or pride, then great! If not, well, then I think one might need to take a moment and evaluate where you can grow and improve as a person.”

More info:

After a 15-year-old Brent Conner tweeted about struggles men face that are often overlooked, it sparked a conversation about a toxic masculinity

Twitter user Absurdistwords decided to contribute to this conversation by offering his insight on this important topic

He then created another thread to explain the concept of toxic masculinity

Inspired by this thread Imgur user BeorcKano decided to share his heartbreaking experience