FOR MEN: 3 Tips When She Starts Complaining About Her Work or Her Family

Your girl is frustrated about a major life issue. It may be about her work or her family or it could be something completely different.

You want to help but you’re not quite sure how. Sometimes in the past, your “help” either made things worse or didn’t seem to make a difference.

You don’t need to let past scenarios define you today. Here are a few ways to help your partner when she’s complaining.

Listen. Listen. Listen!

Oh man, guys, this is so difficult—At least at first. As we shared in a previous post, most guys try to jump in right away and fix things instead of listening.

Listening is the safest and most productive first step.

In fact, you may do absolutely nothing besides actively listen, the rant will end and your partner will thank you for being there. You’ll be like, “What did I do?!”

But what you did was exactly what your girl needed. She just needed a listening ear.

Sometimes less is more. Listening often is something that seems like less but actually ends up being more.

She just needed to dump out a bunch of junk so she could move on.

Stay focused and really think about what your partner is saying. You can interject but only after listening.

A good rule of thumb is to listen until it “hurts.” Until there’s that awkward silence. If you cut off your partner in mid-sentence, that’s a good indicator that you need to just relax and listen.

Remember: Less is often more!

Maybe She Needs More: She Needs Your Advice

It’s not a bad idea to ask your girl if she just needs you to listen or needs advice, too.

You can also let this happen on its own if that’s more your style. If you listen until there’s nothing more to listen to, and your partner still wants more from you, that’s a good sign she needs advice.

A word of warning: If she starts complaining about her family, don’t jump on the bandwagon and say something like, “Yeah, I agree they are jerks!”

It may be ok for her to insult her family but not you. Doing so may create an unnecessary argument.

She’s trying to process things and may feel personally attacked if you also attack her family.

A Quick Word About Chronic Complaining

When your girl starts complaining and you think, “Boy, here we go again,” this could signal a bigger problem.

Depression could be disrupting your partner’s life, causing her to see everything in a negative light. Or it could be that she needs a major change like getting out of that toxic job that’s been slowly ruining her life for a long time.

This could be a good time to see a counselor to get some extra help. Constant complaining can badly diminish the quality of life of you and your family.

Get rid of the excessive complaining and things will quickly get better.

If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

What Depression in Men Looks Like (and What to Do About It)

Most men experience significant roadblocks when it comes to treatment for depression. The greatest challenge is that men are more likely to mask their problems or not to talk about them as compared with women.

Depression statistics for men are pretty sobering. While women are twice as likely to experience clinical depression in their lifetimes, men are four times more likely to commit suicide because of it.

As a result, it is imperative for men to be properly diagnosed when clinically depressed and to receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

What Depression in Men Looks Like

While all men are a little different in how they exhibit depression, here are some tell-tale signs:

Physical pain: The saying that depression hurts is true of men. They may experience back pain, headaches, general body aches, digestive issues or sexual dysfunction. Men with depression who go to the doctor because of physical pain may become frustrated because there is no physical explanation for their health problem. These men also may receive medication to help the physical symptoms of depression instead of depression itself.

Self-Destructive Behavior: Many men try to make themselves feel better in unhealthy ways. They may self-medicate through an excessive pursuit of hobbies, substance abuse, alcoholism, or risky sexual encounters.

Hopelessness: Helpless or hopeless feelings are common and can lead to suicide without proper intervention.

Loss of Interest: Activities and relationships that once were fulfilling aren’t anymore.

Fatigue: Men may feel like they are way more tired than they should be for their age. This is another reason for a loss of interest in activities and friends. Some men are too tired to keep those things up even if they wanted to.

Sleep Disturbances: Men may either lose sleep due to high anxiety levels or sleep too much because of fatigue. Sometimes, they experience a combination of both in turns.

Anger: This doesn’t necessarily mean explosive anger or aggressiveness though it can. Sometimes it means a “slow burn” of consistent irritability and low-scale anger. Other times, it simply presents itself as the absence of happiness, inability to have a sense of humor or difficulty smiling.

Appetite Changes: Depressed men may either eat too much or too little. The result, not surprisingly, is either weight gain or loss. The fatigue factor already mentioned can contribute to weight gain as energy for exercise is in short supply.

Difficulty Concentrating: Some depressed men struggle with concentration, staying on task and overall productivity. Job performance may suffer as a result.

Negative Thoughts: This isn’t just the occasional negative thought. Negative thoughts often control depressed men, exacerbating their symptoms in many other ways. It becomes difficult to step back and objectively evaluate negative thoughts and find the truth anymore. These persistent thoughts high jack a previously healthy and well-balanced thought process.

How Depression in Men Can Improve

As already shared, men usually attempt to hide their depression whereas women are more likely to talk about it.

To a lot of men, it’s considered taboo or just not manly to open up about depression.

The opposite actually is true. It takes great courage for a sufferer to admit such a personal struggle.

That being said, the very first thing a male sufferer must do is admit they are depressed. Even if nearly everyone around realizes there is a problem, there is little help until this happens.

Once, arguably, the greatest barrier is scaled (awareness) men can start doing battle with the disease in pointed and intentional ways.

Here are a few things that are helpful:

Increased Social Support

Men, by and large, are not as verbal as women. They struggle more to be in touch with their emotions and identify pitfalls. Men also tend to have greater difficulty forging and maintaining deep friendships.

This is especially a problem when depression presents itself. The natural inclination to isolate or handle things by oneself is already present by nature. Add to that the greater desire to isolate because of the illness and it’s easy to see how quickly things can unravel.

Depressed men need added social support. The occasional banter at work or with a neighbor simply isn’t enough.

Men need to find several “safe” people to share their struggles with who won’t judge them.

Equally, men need to do what they can to avoid overly critical individuals who could create a toxic environment and thereby sabotage their treatment.

In our disconnected society, counseling can help men get their feelings out with less risk of their honest feelings and fears being used against them.

Counseling is also beneficial because deep friendships take time and many men don’t have the time or energy to forge those kinds of friendships (At least at first).

Physical Exercise and a Healthy Diet

In our sedentary culture, depression is far more prevalent. Too often, our bodies become obese and simply don’t work right.

The physical strain on the body can increase risk. Even small amounts of physical exercise can go a long way in improving your mood and making your body function correctly.

Men need not be “macho” and start out with an exercise routine that would scare away an Olympic athlete.

Small, daily consistency is far more important. You need something you can stick with for the long haul. In time, as your symptoms lessen, you’ll be able to increase your routine.

In addition, most men will greatly benefit from a diet free of processed foods. Sugar is also something to steer clear of as it can cause emotional highs and lows.

The best foods are fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Avoid foods that would require a chemist to explain the ingredients to you!

Visit a Therapist

As already shared, therapy can go a long way in helping depressed men to open up about their struggles.

Sometimes just having a nonjudgmental, trustworthy person to listen improves quality of life significantly. Your therapist can also help you come up with a plan to help you fight depression in a variety of ways.

Although depression for men can seem like an insurmountable challenge, there is help and there is hope.

By taking consistent, small steps over time, the suffering of depressed men can decrease dramatically.

If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Men: She Really Wants You to Listen More than Solve Her Problem

You’ve probably heard this one before, haven’t you?

But you find yourself, once again, reading on this topic to understand something you never will—at least not experientially.

She wants you to listen way more than “fix” the problem.

A Bit of a Disclaimer First

This is usually the case with men and women. Usually.

Women generally want to be listened to the most and men want to fix the most.

But there are definite exceptions. And this can easily happen without a loss of masculinity or femininity.

Some women are natural fixers. Some men become frustrated when fixers try to step in without listening.

A Very Common Conversation

Woman:

“I’m concerned about Johnny (fourth-grade son). He’s come home from school in tears the past few days.”

Man:

“Well, ask him what’s bothering him. Then, schedule a time with his teacher and see if there’s anything else going on.”

Woman:

“Uh….(pause) ok.

(Conversation ends at this point.)

Inside the Brain of Someone Who’s Not a “Fixer”

The man leaves that conversation feeling pretty darn good. He’s the fixer, after all, and that’s just what he did. He got out his handy, dandy duct tape and covered everything in sight with the grey, shiny adhesive.

The woman leaves with her head down. She may feel discouraged. She may feel angry. She may feel ignored.

But, there’s one common denominator.

She doesn’t feel like you care.

At this point, you may object to her feelings.

“But I’m “Duct-Tape Man,” you say.

That you are and that’s a good thing. The world would literally come to a standstill without people like you.

Most of the time, the woman you care about isn’t asking for a quick fix. She’s inviting you into an intimate relationship.

Johnny’s problems perplex her but, more than anything, she’s inviting you to experience life together.

She wants to talk about the problem. She wants you to listen. She wants you to understand how she feels.

She wants to be vulnerable with you. She needs to be vulnerable with you—because she craves a relationship with depth.

And, yes, that involves way more than what happens in the bedroom.

Part of the solution for her is to air out the problem. Sometimes that alone is what she needs most.

After all, your woman isn’t a dimwit. She understands life quite well and makes you look good in the process.

What she needs is to let out words. It’s her release valve.

And allowing her the ability to do so is often all the “fixing” that’s required! If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Stay-At-Home Dads–What to Say When Well-Meaning People Say Dumb Things to You

If so, you know all too well that people can say some pretty insensitive things. Most aren’t intentionally trying to hurt you. Still, you leave many conversations scratching your head and feeling misunderstood.

What do you say when people say dumb things to you about your unorthodox occupation? Here are some ideas.

Educate People When They Something Dumb

There are a lot of misconceptions about your role in our culture. You can help dispel the myths and make it easier on all stay-at-home days by teaching people the truth.

You only need to share as much about your personal life as you want. There’s no need to feel like you’re on the defensive.

Based on your personality, you can let people see into your life and understand why the stay-at-home-dad thing makes the most sense for your family.

Maybe your spouse can bring in a better income than you but two incomes don’t make sense due to daycare costs. It’s ok to say that.

Or maybe you just prefer working at home more than your spouse does. That’s ok, too.

You can also showcase that side business you do along with all your other responsibilities as a stay-at-home dad.

Let people see for themselves that your role makes the best sense for many families including yours.

Stay-At-Home Dads: Say Something Clever

Think of the most common questions you get asked and think of fun, clever things to say in response.

Maybe you don’t want to educate others so they say less dumb things to people like you.

That’s ok. Why not try this instead.

Here’s a textbook question you can have more than enough fun with:

“So…..(longer than necessary pause) What do you do all day?”

You saw that question coming from a mile away didn’t you?

Why not go on the offensive instead of the defensive?

Try something like this:

Smile and chuckle at this question (like, boy, that’s a funny one!).

“Maybe a better question is what don’t I do? My house would literally cave in if I wasn’t there to make everything work.”

Or how about this one:

“What I do all day? Let’s see…Laundry, doctor’s appointments, taking care of puking kids, kids’ homework, school/sports taxi, paying bills, cooking meals, cleaning toilets, fixing cars, yardwork, a side business and a million other things…

I’m not sure what to do all day! Do you have any suggestions?”

Unfortunately, you already know the dumb questions will probably keep coming. But you also know that your family desperately needs you.

That can give you the confidence to stick up for yourself and your family! If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.