Is being an alpha male good for your mental health?

As a former taut and restricted, pretend alpha male, I think that some of us men might feel that we need to have a permanently tough exterior. Some of us have suppressed our feelings with great efficiency, especially those emotions that we might deem as softer or more compassionate.

A few of us react really badly to what others say or do. We might be offended, feel tricked and have our pride hurt, be contradicted or feel humiliated. I believe that the ‘upsetting’ list is very long and I appreciate that I may not have mentioned one of your specific irritation triggers.

On occasion, something is said or done and the ‘alpha male’ often goes on the attack. Striking out may not necessarily involve shouting or actually physically punching someone - sarcasm, put downs, showing contempt, foul language and ridicule, or even blanking someone, are all ways of going on the attack:

“I see things - like how they dress and talk and walk and the TV programmes they watch and … well it really gets me. They are so wrong and stupid. It winds me up... winds me up... so I let them know.”

Some people just let things pass by and don't seem to get wound up at all. Some of us hardly react at all to what others say or do. We are rarely upset, suspicious or feel deceived. We may have our pride wounded or be challenged, but we let it wash over us.

Something is said or done and the 'acceptant person' seems to remain relaxed:

“I see how others dress and talk and I’m sometimes interested in the ‘what and why’ of their lives and some of the time I just think ‘each to their own’, I relax and get on with my own life. They’re different, but they’re not wrong and nor am I.”

In my opinion, people are not one thing or another - not just simply angry or calm. There are lots of variables and mixtures in people's tempers. The fact remains that some men cope in a more even and grounded way, whilst others become agitated and lose it – externally and internally.

Many men have a problem with this acceptance idea, it makes them feel weak, a pushover or even a fool. 

Some hide behind being a strong, unemotional and effective man. Personally, I used to say, “I don't need to be liked as long as I‘m respected.”

After some considerable time and a bit of a struggle I became more self-aware and understood that it takes a strong man to recognise and accept his own vulnerabilities or weaknesses.

Being fixed and rigid in their outlook might make a man more defensive, aggressive and less true to himself. Being more fluid and acceptant may help ease up that same man and give him a fresh way to be him... the real him. 

Being acceptant can help a troubled man become a stronger man.

By Shane Lutkin, lead Therapist at Emotionalskills.

* Men’s Health Week takes place 10th to 16th June 2019. The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to highlight the wide variety of health issues tackled by men everywhere. 

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