Highly sensitive males – Ted Zeff
I often talk about young highly sensitive children in general however it is equally important to look at different challenges that exist for highly sensitive males particularly in our white, western society. There is enormous cultural pressure for most boys to be tough, non emotional and brave at all times. This pressure often results in boys and men denying their true self for peer group approval. This coping mechanism may start very early if a father inadvertently pressures, cajoles or humiliates their boy to “man up.” Usually this attitude comes from a father’s worry for their young son but can actually do a lot of damage – further cementing the idea in a young boy’s mind that who he truly is, isn’t OK.
My long term colleague Ted Zeff, a well known author and psychologist in the USA, discusses the various facets of being a highly sensitive male- the perceptions they and others hold, the positive and negative traits and the challenges. I hope you find the video enlightening.
Highly sensitive males – the good the bad and the ugly.
A short summary of the video:
Culture has a big impact on the self esteem of highly sensitive males.
Sensitivity impacts relationships, jobs and health.
“It takes the strength of a warrior to admit to having an emotional crisis.”
Overstimulation is a big problem. Self soothing needs to be learnt – the earlier the better.
Not all gay men are highly sensitive.
Strategies to flourish:
Speak ones truth, assert oneself, stop worrying about hurting others but still remain open to reasonable compromise. Plan ahead for overstimulating situations. Know there is nothing WRONG with you. You just belong to a minority.
Changing the cultural expectation for young highly sensitive boys in the home in the early years is very important. I alway recommend, at minimum, my 3 session program for families with young boys to avoid some of the challenges highlighted in Ted’s video.