Another pop psychology book about the need for men to get in touch with their emotions and break the silence that keeps their fears hidden.
Addis (Psychology/Clark Univ.; co-author: Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time, 2004, etc.) draws on research interviews, conversations with former clients of his counseling practice and personal experiences to delineate the problem he sees as men's inability to recognize and speak out about their vulnerabilities. Anecdotes about men and their problems abound, making this an easy read. Keeping silent about their inner lives, writes Addis, is a survival strategy that boys adopt early in lives when they are learning to define themselves as masculine. Being silent about one's feelings is not an inherently masculine trait, but a learned one, and being more open does not mean becoming more feminine. The author’s message about the silence and vulnerabilities of men and the harm that this can cause is directed toward women at least as much as toward men. Straightforward but somewhat repetitious chapters include questions for both sexes to ask themselves and exercises for both to perform, and simple charts and diagrams summarize his concepts. Addis counsels women, often the primary emotional caretakers of the men in their lives, to avoid "mothering," and instructs men in how to overcome their fears, take stock of their relationships and improve their friendships with other men. The penultimate chapter focuses on handling life's most stressful events: divorce, job loss, illness and death of a loved one—times when men may need help, even professional help, but are reluctant to seek it. In a weak final chapter, Addis looks briefly at the ways in which societal change can alleviate the problem—e.g., developing public policies that make men's well being a major social concern.
User-friendly self-help more likely to be read by a wife concerned about her husband's mental health than by the invisible man himself.