50 Years Doing Men’s Work: Can I Help You In 2019?


50 years ago, when I held my newborn son, Jemal, I made a promise that I would be a different kind of father than my father was able to be for me and I’d do everything I could to change the world so that men got the support they needed to be a positive presence in the life of their families and communities. In 2019 I’ll be offering two new programs: One for men and women who want to understand and heal male anger and the irritable male syndrome (IMS) and one for men who would like my mentorship in helping them live fully, love deeply and make a difference in the world. If you’re interested learning more about either or both, drop me an email and put “success in 2019” in the subject line.

In 1968 the modern women’s movement was in full swing and I recognized that anything that truly helped women break out of their restrictive roles, would also help men. I was just graduating from U.C. Berkeley with a master’s degree in social work and I joined my first men’s group. As a writer I wrote about the experiences in my first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man.

I realized, in the words of psychologist Herb Goldberg, that the male “has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power. He is out of touch with his emotions and his body. He is playing by the rules of the male game plan and with lemming-like purpose he is destroying himself—emotionally, psychologically, and physically.”

I recognized it in my own life and in the clients I was seeing in my private practice. Women were coming together to support each other in expanding their roles in the world. Men were often isolated and alone. I vowed not to be one of those men. I wrote about the old rules that had become like chains enclosing me in a “man box” that was not of my making. I my book, Inside Out, I described these “commandments” as follows:

Thou shalt not be weak.
Thou shalt not fail thyself, nor fail as a breadwinner like thy father before thee.
Thou shalt not keep holy any day that denies they work.
Thou shalt not express strong emotions, neither high nor low.
Thou shalt not cry, complain, nor ask for help.
Thou shalt not be hostile or angry, especially towards loved ones.
Thou shalt not be uncertain or ambivalent.
Thou shalt not be dependent on other, particularly women.
Thou shalt not acknowledge thy death nor thy limitations.
Thou shalt do unto other men before they do unto you.

I realized these rules were not only deadly, but were often operating in the background outside our awareness. Not only did they undermine our joy and happiness, but they undermined our love relationships, kept us working at jobs we didn’t love, and kept us from becoming the men we were meant to be. It’s time we broke free from the restrictions of the man box, but we can’t do it alone.

I’m working on a new book, 14 Rules for Becoming Your Own Man: Your Guide for Living Fully, Loving Deeply, and Making a Difference in the World. In 2019 I will choose a group of men who are interested in receiving my guidance and want to say, “hell yes” to the three questions every man needs to answer before he dies:

Did I live?
Did I love?
Did I make a difference?

One of the main problems that undermines men’s joy and peace of mind is male anger, irritability, and depression. I write about these critical issues in three of my books, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression; Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Male vs. Female Depression: Why Men Act Out and Women Act In.

I know first-hand how irritable male syndrome (IMS) can undermine a relationship and how depression can sap our strength, ruin our sex lives, and cause to be perpetually grumpy and on edge. It nearly ruined my marriage. What I learned has enabled my wife and me to continue our joyful journey of love for nearly 40 years now.

I’m excited to be sharing with women and men how they can insure that IMS doesn’t wreck their own marriage.

I will turn 75 in ten days. At this stage of life, I feel called upon to share what I’ve learned. If you’re a woman or a man who are ready to heal from IMS, I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of life and send me a note. If you’re a man and are ready to become fully successful in life and have been waiting for the right time and the write person to guide you, I hope you’ll reach out. I’m ready, willing, and able to help.

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Drop me an email and put “success in 2019” in the subject line. I’ll send you details. If you know others who would be interested, please pass this on to them. I’ll be working with a limited number of people so I can give each of you enough support to answer all your questions and guide you on the next steps of your journey. If this resonates with you, please reach out. You have nothing to lose but your irritability, anger, and depression, and everything to gain for your future well-being.

This article was originally published at menalive.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.