Strong Men Can’t Cope With Breakups?

Kelsey Annese, killed by enraged ex-boyfriend.

Kelsey Annese, killed by enraged ex-boyfriend.

Why do some men feel like it’s a male thing to be “stronger than a woman,” but when a relationship ends, it’s often the man who “can’t cope”?

Why do some guys handle their distress with violence?

Why do some men feel entitled, yet have such low self-esteem that they explode after a breakup?

“Bob” asked me those questions after a recent double murder-suicide:

Colin Kingston was so upset when Kelsey Annese, his girlfriend of three years, broke up with him that one day he went back to her apartment and killed her, along with Matthew Hutchinson, who was in the same room. And then he took his own life.

“What the hell is going on with men like this?” Bob wonders.

Entitled + low self esteem?

How can some guys feel entitled, yet have low self-esteem at the same time?

Kelsey Annese, Matthew Hutchinson, and Colin Kingston

Kelsey Annese, Matthew Hutchinson, and Colin Kingston

Colin seemed to have felt entitled to a relationship with Kelsey. And he clearly felt entitled to kill her. AND someone else. He was also privileged, coming from a prominent family. And privilege often brings a sense of entitlement. Plus, Colin is male, and patriarchy brings men a certain privilege and status.

Strangely, entitlement and low self-esteem can go hand-in-hand.

Entitled people face high expectations, and they may feel insecure about their ability to live up to them.

Colin was white, male and his family was prominent, so he probably felt he should be successful. That can be a heavy burden. Especially when you’re not.

News reports say that Colin had not returned to college. Instead, he had been working as a farmhand on the family farm, and as a sales rep at GNC (nutritional store). He seems to have yearned for more. On his LinkedIn page he called himself an “aspiring businessman.”

Maybe entitled people can fly off the handle when the part of themselves that isn’t sure they are living up to expectations is pricked.

Why can’t strong men cope with breakups?

Matthew Hutchinson died too young.

Matthew Hutchinson died too young.

A lot of people say that women are the weaker sex. Yet breakups are often harder on men?

Clearly, the notion that men are mentally tougher is a stereotype. One that can backfire on them.

Since men are supposed to be strong we teach them to be stoic. “Boys don’t cry!” So men can end up denying their very human emotions.

It all gives the appearance of toughness, when reality doesn’t necessarily back up the façade.

And since they’re supposed to be so tough and independent, many men resist getting help when they need it. Like seeing a therapist, if necessary.

Plus, they might feel they can’t talk with their friends about about their so-called “weak” emotions, like sadness or depression. So men can have these troubled feelings, but no way of handling them.

But because it’s okay for women to be emotional, it’s easier for them to get in touch with, express, and deal with their feelings. And they are more likely to get support and guidance.

Men: taught not to communicate, or listen to women

Another reason why breakups can hit men harder is because they’re less likely to communicate and hear what their partners have to say.

She’s probably been complaining for a long time. But he doesn’t really hear it. Or “get it.” Sometimes men are taught that the things women say aren’t important. Sometimes men aren’t taught to communicate much at all.

And maybe he’s overconfident. It doesn’t occur to him that she will leave. So it’s a big shock.

Why handle a breakup with violence?

Since men supposedly can’t have “weak” feelings like dependence, sadness, depression or suffering, many do “emotion work” to turn the “weak” feeling into a “strong” one — like anger. Or they work to gain power over someone.

Kelsey Annese died to young.

Kelsey Annese died too young.

Some take the ultimate power by taking lives. Or at least unleashing a great deal of harm.

He feels powerful in the moment, but really, that’s what a powerless person does.

Not all guys who are dealing with these issues behave the way Colin did. So something else must have been going on with him, too. But women almost never do this sort of thing, yet we hear about men committing these sorts of crimes on an ongoing basis.

Add it all up and I must agree with Bob on this:

It makes me sad for women being the victims. And also sad for men, who may find themselves in the path of some other guy’s rage.

It feels like something pretty bad is going on in our society where, I don’t know, some men are lost, or something, in their quest for masculinity.

This was reposted by The Good Men Project

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 22, 2016, in feminism, men, psychology, relationships, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 90 Comments.

  1. It is interesting that the countries with a female leader are doing better at dealing with coronavirus. Some think it has to do with a populace that is willing to elect a female leader. More willing to listen to experts and less likely to worry about not looking macho by wearing a mask, or something like that.”

    Interesting is while it seems more men go without the mask. Some put up a fight, but while they don’t like wearing masks, it’s actually the women that don’t wear masks shopping in public who throw the tantrums more often. Have heard the term “Karen’s” ha, but seriously, idk if you’ve seen the video but more often it’s been women throwing things on the ground, getting in an employees face, screaming at them. At an ice cream shop maybe 30 minutes from where I am. It was on the news how a poor girl was scared and nervous because she told a woman she had to wear a mask and the crazy women freaked out, got her face right up the window and was confrontational. I read how a woman shopping at a costco, she was 70 years old, so stupid to not protect herself, but she’s probably a trump supporter and feels the virus is a hoax. She sat on the floor like a toddler lol after told she needs to wear a mask and refused to get up. It sucks that other countries see america or americans in a negative way. I don’t mean this because of trump, but feeling other countries have had before Trump. I didn’t understand it, but I can see why, unfortunately because of some americans. Why Americans are hated or the bad reputation.

    I mean there’s real horrible things people in other countries who through, 3rd world countries especially. And then some americans bitching about their 1st world inconvenience and just lost their shit. It sure makes americans look like, entitled, whiney ass little bitches. I don’t like wearing a mask, but I like many other are considerate for others and we have to for our jobs. Seriously, people can’t fucking wear a mask for 30 minutes to shop? You got nurses/ doctors wearing more than masks for 12 hours and then some and all the stress and exhaustion because aholes got others sick or themselves because they couldn’t wear a mask. I wear them 8 hours each shift. These people can sack up and wear it when simply shopping in public for the small portion of time they have to. They can do it, it’s not that damn hard, trust me

    • I was wondering if women (Karens) are more likely to be filmed throwing a temper tantrum about masks but I don’t know why that would be. Maybe women are more likely to do this because they are allowed a wider range of emotion. It’s not considered very manly to throw a temper tantrum, I suppose. But all of the people running their cars into protesters (not very many) are men. Maybe that type of aggression seems more “manly“?

      I am annoyed by the people who say they refuse to wear a mask because it infringes on their “freedom.” When they don’t wear masks other people feel like they can’t go shopping, so it infringes on everyone else’s freedom when they don’t wear one. Plus they are endangering the lives of the people who are working, and don’t have much choice to work.

      I’ve noticed that libertarians don’t see the interconnections between people. If you don’t wear a mask I get sick. Not so much liberty as selfishness.

  2. Hey, I haven’t commented on your blog in awhile. Hope things are going well, I”m sure you have anxiety probably like many teachers and professors about how school will go this fall with the pandemic here in America. Seems like a catch 22. It’s a different since you have college students, but I feel for parents of children in elementary school and such and have to watch the kids. They take their kids to school, there’s the risk their child gets covid and then child gives it to their parents or teachers or grandparents where it can be deadly. Children do it all online, then how can parents do that other than one quitting their job but then how can they afford paying the bills? They can’t take their child to daycare as there’s just as much concern for that as school, plus that’s expensive. Our country fucked this up so bad, pardon my french.

    While I’m pissed at trump, I’m pissed in general at the elites more concerned about covering things up, which this may have been prevented. China, WHO. Don’t tell me China had only 80,000 cases for two months before it exploded across the world. Bull effing shit!, the shut it down locking Millions of people, Millions of people, they knew damn sure they had much much much more infections than they led on too. Maybe america wouldn’t have acted soon enough but other countries might have if they knew to the extent it was or kept getting told it would be under control. Yeah that same country is taking away Hong Kong’s democracy that they had the rights too.

    I kind of veered off, but speaking about powerlessness. I know you’re busy, but do you have netflix? I never had it but have been watching some shows from a 30 day free trial and there are some good shows. But If you haven’t seen it and you do have netflix, I’m telling you to watch Unabomber: Manhunt. It’s good. It’s one season series, with 8 episodes about each one is 40 minutes. But ties into this powerlessness aspect and male pschye. A young detective going a route, a brilliant guy, that goes a direction new and not seen before. Using linguistics instead of forensics to get the Unabomber. But it’s weird saying this as the unabomber is a monster and obviously no excuse for his murdering. But it’s just sad, it’s really a tragic story if you watch the show. The guy was a genius, like ridiculously smart and what comes to my mind, like you said before how men don’t know often have support or outreach. Who knows, if he had therapy as a young boy, he might’ve always been weird, but god his brilliance went to destruction when a mind like that….could’ve like cured cancer. Just think if Leonardo Da vinci used his brilliance to kill people instead of doing his remarkable brilliant achievements for mankind?

    • Good to hear from you.

      I’m actually taking some time off from teaching since everything is online now. I really bothered my eyes a while back from doing too much, working on writing a blog three times a week plus trying to write a rough draft of a book, and it kind of backfired. I am not watching too much TV either. I only watch about one hour a week. Trying to keep my eyes off of screens as much as possible for a while. That’s why I’m only doing one post a month, too.

      It’s interesting to see how different countries handle the virus and how things have gone. A lot of authoritarians try to gaslight and convince people that things aren’t the way they are. I have seen both Trump and the Chinese leader do that. What seems to work best are the Western democracies, especially those that aren’t Anglo. Like the European continent is doing really well now. But New Zealand, which is Anglo,Has pretty much eradicated the virus. Maybe it helps to be small.

      Is the Unabomber based on that real guy? It does sound very interesting. When men are taught to be powerful yet feel powerless a lot of bad things can happen. If you would like to expand on what you are seeing in the TV series and your thoughts on it I’m interested to get your perspective!

      • The interesting thing and maybe why we may need more female leaders or less patriarchal as it seems like leadership places less ego and stubborness and more to the task. Ironically the few countries that have brought the virus down or eradicated it, have female leaders. Germany has done well with Merkel, so it is interesting. Yes the real unabomber. Ted Kazynski. I don’t want to get into it too much, but you said you limited your screen viewing which I get. one episode is under an hour and like 40 minutes. There’s onlyu 8 episodes for the series, but it’s based on the true event and real man. I was so young when this stuff happened that I knew of the guy but didn’t really know much. I remember more of the Oklahoma city bomber instead, Tim Mcveigh. It turns out he was inspired by the unabomber. But the crazy thing is, the guy had some valid points but also off tangent stuff too that you can’t agree on.

        That’s obvious though as he’s brilliant, but is an anarchist and see that in his views. But it’s just tragic, the sixth episode really studies the psychology and aspect of powerlessness. I’m just joking and don’t feel that way, but you know how you’ve heard the joke about polish people and “not smart”….kind of ironic with Ted, considering as you see from his last name, he’s polish. Many polish last names end with “ski” but he’s astronomically intelligent. It also showed me, which I always felt that the “bosses” for fbi or law enforcement can be such big ego dicks. The guy chasing Ted was thinking out of the box, but the top guys had their own perceptions and can’t fighting the better ideas. They never would have gotten Ted because they were so off from their stubborn protocols. So you think of that, like how this rookie male detective was treated by how women could be treated in fbi especially during the 90s which this was taking place.

        The manifesto was published by Washtingon post, I was too young to know of that. But out of curiosity I did read some if it. It’s long, like 3500 words. But I love intellectual debates. I hope you watch this some time. Idk if one episode per week tho it will probably draw you in to more. But after series is seen to debate it and manifesto. Interesting thing is he hated that word, he didn’t want it to be called manifesto because he knew what that implies and didn’t feel (of course he didn’t) that he was crazy, though I’m sure others were in that denial. But he was always odd, but what happened in his early years were tragic and might’ve shaped him to where he was and unfortunately too late for help for him. Ironically the detective that got the guy, actually followed the manifesto and he’s a normal guy and detective has to be quite smart as he was the only one that could figure the hidden riddles by the unabomber than no one could other then the linguist woman professor that was a huge help to him.

      • That’s really interesting. I will try to check it out sometime.

        It is interesting that the countries with a female leader are doing better at dealing with coronavirus. Some think it has to do with a populace that is willing to elect a female leader. More willing to listen to experts and less likely to worry about not looking macho by wearing a mask, or something like that.

  3. We live in a society today, where we see men as the tougher sex not only physically, but emotionally. Even when that’s not always the case. I agree that men do feel entitled and feel the need to always be in control. It’s sad, but very true. One of the things I believe differs between men and women, is that women are more likely to be open about their problems. Which is one thing men tend to struggle with during a breakup because they have too much pride to admit they’re “hurt.” Especially over a woman. And it’s not healthy. “Everyone has a breaking point.” When men choose to continue to hold on to whatever it is after a breakup – that’s hurting them – and never being able to talk about it or vent, it’ll soon break out in a physical way. All that built up anger and pain surfaces at some point, just as Colin’s did…

  4. Violence aside, I think a lot of men do have a harder time being single or alone than most women. I know for me it was especially difficult after my ex separated from me. I’ve asked her to take me back but she won’t and she says she’s happy being single. I know so many women that are single and happy and don’t care if they ever get with a man again. Meanwhile so many men, like myself, are miserable and hate being single and alone. And I believe I read somewhere that statistics seem to back this up. That single men are more depressed, more likely to have health issues, live shorter lives than married men or men in long term committed relationships. That despite the stereotypical view of men being miserable in relationships., (the old ball and chain) most men actually report being very happy and fulfilled. When it comes to women however, there’s really no difference between single women and married women when it comes to happiness, fulfillment, and health.

    • You are right. Statistics back you up. I think it’s partly because women are socialized to have nurturing relationships outside of marital partners, But men aren’t. So they don’t get that support unless they marry.

  5. Some anatomical features make that more difficult. Otherwise, I don’t know.”

    Well I meant in the sense of attempt or wanting to do so. Obviously it would be tougher because of the fact that men are bigger, and stronger as well as a man has to be aroused too. But meant as in desire to. Yeah you don’t know, though it does seem apparently men have more capacity in that type of crime to do such stuff or want to. Sex crimes in general too, pedophilia, etc.

    • It’s hard to know sense women aren’t socialized the way men are. But in some cultures with gender equality rape was virtually nonexistent — like the Indians of America’s East Coast. So we do have some evidence looking out the matter from a different direction.

  6. As I was speaking of violence and such. Obviously it’s nothing new, but I guess maybe women are as capable as men and maybe it can be due to culture for the big difference? I found this sad, it’s a big story on yahoo and it involved girls.

    Poor girl : (. Stupid girls jumped her and she ended up dying from being assaulted by a girl, which then other girls joined in to beat her in the girls bathroom. Apparently not just guys who can be brutal and vicious.

  7. “Consider that in our culture men are taught that they are supposed to be strong and independent. .”

    I mean women show the capacity to be as violent and cruel as men, but it’s so much less frequent than men. Maybe the ability to be cruel shows women are just as capable as men but culture shapes the difference. But don’t women have a biological nurturing aspect? You can say that’s culture, and I know me do too. But it makes sense for women to have more nurturing in them than men, because women are the child bearers and closest to children as I mean children came from their body. It’s something a man can never relate to and have that intimate aspect in the way. So in a sense that natural nurturing part makes sense how women are less likely to murder than men? But then when I see horrible things done by some women,

    I wonder if the nurture aspect is not as meaningful as in it means women are less inherently violent than men. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve seen some really upsetting stuff that shows women are capable to be as evil as men too. Just saw on yahoo, and it really pissed me off. Unfortunatley there is so much bad news that you get numb to things sometimes, and it just shows you that something is utterly disgusting when it revs up emotions of complete anger and rage and sadness for someone you don’t know. A step mom was arrested for killing a fathers 4 year old son, but scalding him to death in hot water. I got watery eyed reading that and do now and can just feel such anger in my veins typing about it now. Sorry to share something disturbing, but…it got me emotional right now thinking of the the torture that poor innocent child went through in such a horrific murder..and yeah from a woman.

    But I’ll say one thing though as far as rape goes, I can;t imagine that. Even if culture was flipped and men were sex objects and women werent and the power dynamic completley flipped. I still couldn’t see rape being something women did and men victims. I just can’t see women being sexually aggressive as men or pervy and creepy. Maybe culture has infilterated my mind so much to think this. As it’s weird. if I were to see women being sexually aggressive in a dangerous way or brutal, it’s from homely or average women. It’s weird how perception of beauty effects our perception. Like I can’t imagine pretty, hot beautiful women, being brutal, sexually aggressive. Like think victories secret models and their faces? You see their mug shot and your like huh? That pretty women did that? Then you see a mug shot of a homely lady, with greasy hair and like a mullett and you’re like yeah she fits the mold as far as look.

    • It can be hard to unravel nature and nurture. But in some societies — which are gender equal, by the way — rape and battering of women is, or was, virtually unknown. Like the American Indians of America’s East Coast.

      • Yeah, but what about rape? I doubt women could ever be capable of comitting that in the number and way men have in history and worldwide even if society was female dominant.

      • Some anatomical features make that more difficult. Otherwise, I don’t know.

  8. Our earliest societies — Hunter gatherer — are universally peaceful. Some men don’t have to behave that way. And estrogen is tied to aggression in women. Think of mama bear defending her cubs. So it appers to be more social then biological.”

    Yeah but that aggression is in a protective way, nurturing way. It’s not in a “you looked at me wrong, I’m a tough alpha female and I’m gonna kill you or beat you to a pulp aggression”. Too many men seem to have the latter aggression. The first type of aggression seems more of a “in the right intent aggression, because it’s protective” compared to the other that is just sadistic based.

    • And women and men are socialized very differently in our culture when it comes to aggression. But as I said, in hunter gatherer societies the men are quite peaceful.

  9. I seem like the only man to think that way or have felt that. I think most guys don’t want to go there as it’s a hard pill to swallow and almost misandrist on your own sex. I think we’re great, but just frustrated and I want to feel more proud of my sex, but it’s really hard to do that when so much bad has been done, causing anger, sadness and shame.

    • But the problem isn’t men. The problem is patriarchy — how many are raised.

      • It just seems like it’s so much easier for men to be violent, that a culture has to be really peaceful to calm the natural aggression from men to not resort to violence. In that post you had about women being more responsive to repression it seems like women have a biological aspect that makes them more senstive and to respond to it. There could be some biological difference, like you said how women are more sexually fluid than men. Some is culture, but it seems like have a greater capacity to be more responsive to cues and media compared to men. So it makes me wonder in the reverse if men are more responsive or easier to be violent or aggressive if the culture is not peaceful and equal.

        It seems like it takes more of a volatile culture for women to go in that manner and they don’t need a culture to be as peaceful. You said it’s due to ranking, but I just don’t know if not an equal, but in a hypothetical place. If women were ranked above men and had power would that be as violent? They would or could be more violent than they are now probably, but I’m not sure if as violent as men. Do men naturally create a culture of dominance or in one, they gravitate to being in a superior role compafred to women who might be not as prone to “taking over”. Some have said women bosses many times are more partnership based compared to male bosses who are more in a hierarchy. But maybe that’s culture and I do know some female bosses who are horrible and, they definitely let the power get to their head and out of control. There have been female rulers who have waged wars and been aggressive and ruthless too, but that under a patriarchal culture and it might be them doing to because they have to.

        But I don’t know, even if things were flipped upside down and women in power, say the early times of history it was women in power, you said there were, but those were egalatarian cultures with women in power. But say it was women in power that evolved from that like the other countries. Would women have imperialism, would they have this desire to conquer? Have slaves? Pillage? I just doubt it, there might be some similarities there could be. Especially rape, I highly doubt rape would be like it is as far as committing if things were in reverse or upside down. Everything as far as life goes, when it comes to that, rape has been a male thing. Look at the animal species. Few animals do, but there are exceptions. Male dolphins have been known to rape female dolphins at times and I think some primates. It’s not female dolphins raping male dolphins.

      • How aggressive men are varies from culture to culture answer culture to subculture. I mentioned that hunter gatherer men are quite peaceful. But even looking at the United States, man in poverty-stricken Gang subcultures are very violent– much more so than your typical middle-class man. So you see the effects of culture.

        Consider that in our culture men are taught that they are supposed to be strong and independent. Yet they often don’t feel strong inside and would like to be able to depend on someone. When you can’t, that could create greater friction then what women experience — Women or allowed to feel weak and dependent, So they are more likely to seek out support and are less likely to snap under pressure.


    ……..*sigh*….I know this is nothing new obviously, and well murders have been going on for a long time. But I don’t know it’s just depressing. And a male co worker murdered a female co worker and dumped her body somewhere, but in the news recently. I hope there will be a time when this stuff seems rare, but I don’t know and I wish it was simply culture, but sometimes it feels like culture has to go out of the way to be peaceful for this to not happen. Whereas, it doesn’t have to go out of the way culture wise for women to not be murderous. Just disappointment sometimes. : (

    • So sad. She has lost her life and her children have lost their mother.

      Sometime I’ll have to write about how men are socialized with warrior values – dominance, violence – And why. And of course, culture always mixes with individual personalities and experiences, so not all men will behave this way – fortunately hardly any do – But when it does happen it’s almost always a guy who’s the perpetrator.

      • True but while it seems like culture can influence people, it unfortunately seems like there are just some differences between men and women that leads to this. I know you brought up cultures that were tribal and more peaceful. But there seems like there would still be natural male testosterone aggression where a warrior aspect could come out at times. What I mean is that I doubt men during that time were “neutered” in their response to things. I doubt the men were smelling roses and singing kumbayah with harps or would cower and cry if dealt with adverse situations.

        I don’t know being a man and in a body of strength and power, it just feels useless and weak to not “fix” problems or confront them. It could be culture, but I think men hate being helpless more than women, with dealing something you have to just suck up and deal with and can’t fix, which life can give you those problems. I know for myself, I don’t always cope well when things happen unexpectedly in a bad way and like some surprised change, especially when I had something planned in my head of what was going to happen or couldn’t wait for and huge disappointment and frustration. I can become a moody, irritable person from the stewing, which brings can make me sad, depressed and frustrated and then from that anger as in irritation and frustration and determined to not have that happen again. But it’s not good as it can cause me to be less optimistic next time and be guarded and I have to see before I believe and hesitant or cautiously optimistic.

      • Our earliest societies — Hunter gatherer — are universally peaceful. Some men don’t have to behave that way. And estrogen is tied to aggression in women. Think of mama bear defending her cubs. So it appers to be more social then biological.

  11. This Article really does makes me question why some men can’t cope with Breakups. During class we’ve learned what is expected of a man of society for example to be strong physically, in charge/control of situations, and show little or have no emotion. The article it mentions that Colin Kingston was upset his girlfriend of three years broke up with him one day and later returned to her apartment and killed her. I do believe that men in general have a hard time dealing with break-ups. However there are men raised not to show emotion of hurt or pain, how do they know how to deal with those emotions in life situations such as a break ups if they have never learned how to channel those feelings? I feel that most man portray that they are tough and don’t care, but they do, they’re human after all. My belief that they turn an unfamiliar emotion within themselves such as a heartbreak, loss and pain of loved one into frustration one they are more familiar with such as anger. Anger eventually turns to rage. I think that men who compromise themselves into situations where they think they may have gained control of themselves mentally, at times can lead to losing control physically. I think that when men come across situations that deal with real emotions Anger is the one of the first one most men resort to. Kanye West verbally abused and slut shamed Amber Rose after she broke up with him. Kanye did this publicly to mislead everyone “He broke it off not her” just to give himself a better image at her expense. OJ Simpson was in rage after Nicole his wife broke up with him. The overwhelming feelings of losing his Image, family, and losing control of Nicole sent into a rage, OJ lost control and killed her. I think it all had to do with channeling your feeling and learning how to deal with them.

    • Yeah, you have a mixture of repressing emotions except for anger, turning so-called weak emotions into anger (a so-called strong one). And then there is role modeling. It’s toxic.

  12. I feel that it is more common for men now a days to feel the need to do these things because it is just so hard to find trust in someone and long with trust also comes some sort of jealousy. Simply because they want to be the only ones in this girls life forever and no one but them can own her etc. and after a break up its normal for the opposite sex to want to get to know others. Jealousy I feel is the biggest factor in this case not so much him being macho or strong. Just the thought that he had lost the love of his life and being replaced by someone else was more than enough for him to want to do such a thing. The way he was raised may play a role in this crime because he might have always gotten his way.

    • Jealousy probably played a role, but why is there a social pattern where women pretty much never react this way – even though they also get jealous? So I am examining the difference in socialization here, because that shines more light on the gender difference.

  13. Many fathers, from birth, teach young boys not to be emotional. For example, in a sporting event if a young girl falls and scrapes her knee she is often comforted and treated etc. Whereas if a young boy falls and scrapes his knee his father would often say something along the lines of “Man Up” or “Don’t Cry”. From a young age we are conditioned to believe that men are tough, strong, and frankly unemotional. Crying is frowned upon in the eyes of a father, where as it is borderline encouraged with young girls. Growing up I was lucky enough to have a father whom let my emotions fly. Whether I was “picked on” at school or my fourth grade crush wasn’t in to me, he let me deal with it in my own way rather than having me suppress those emotions. It is absolutely important that my generation and generations to follow break this parenting habit, for it imposes unrealistic social expectations that can result in unfortunate circumstances such as this.

  14. I’ve never understood men who do this. But by the looks of it, generally these men tend to have built up some sort of mental health issues. The signs start showing – they become overly obsessive, and often abusive, over the partner. This is where the break up occurs and, for the abusive male, it is the last straw. Why is it always the men? Well, like you said, the stereotype of “men being powerful” leaves some men needing power – for no real reason except to live up to society’s expectations.
    We never hear about men talking with each other about our problems, but we do hear about women doing it. This is because men do not really talk about their problems; more often the outward response is “get drunk and forget about it”, or “try and move on as if it never happened”. But inside, there are so many things that could be happening. Most truly do move on and make peace with the situation. But there are those that leave it boiling inside until it finally blows, leading to abuse, assault, and deaths.

  15. I too often wonder what drive people to commit senseless acts.
    Personally I know too many women on a first name basis that have had this kind of “pull” on men that are reliant on others. Too many of them are forced into staying in unhappy relationships with no way out, the men saying they need the woman in their life to validate them and that they’re all they have to live for. I had a friend in high school who was terrified to break up with her boyfriend because she confided in me he threatened to commit suicide if she left him. She wasn’t able to break it to him gently because he refused her declination of feelings when she first tried to break it off with him, she did her best to ignore his further advances and forms of contact, luck was in her corner when her family coincidentally needed to move across town. She never told him of this and she at least rested easier at night knowing he wasn’t as readily able to randomly show up at her house demanding her attention. It wasn’t until she was able to move out of state for college that she felt truly out of the woods.
    It’s so upsetting that men feel the need to depend on a woman, who should be their equal in a relationship, to be the one that has to justify their whole existence. Yes, a relationship should be built on care and trust, but your significant other can only take you half way there. There is a problem that goes deeper when your entire life balances on the shoulders of another and necessary help should be sought out through other, preferably professional, sources.

    • I’m so sorry for your friend. This guy has Control issues — a need to feel powerful because he feels powerless in some important way. I’m guessing that’s why she wanted to break up with him in the first place. And then threatening suicide is an act of control (she stays so he won’t kill himself), Plus showing up at her house and demanding attention… And now he is worse off, missing out on relationship. And probably feeling no better about himself, Because he hasn’t dealt with the root cause of his problems.

  16. To add to the way governments in our world are going, plus environment, etc. No wonder our world clock is now only 3 minutes from 12. Scary. The world clock represents how close humanity is from an apocalyspe. It was very close back in the 1950s with the cold war when we were very close from annihilating ourselves.

  17. “Well you are just full of blog post ideas aren’t you? I’ll write about this one, too.”

    See, here’s what I’m talking about that I have in quotes here. “Szczesniak said Kingston had “made some suicidal comments to several people, but there was no actual threats to harm Ms. Annese or anybody else.” He made suicidal thoughts to several people yet…nobody did anything, tried to do anything, shrugged it off, or didn’t care?” So when a man or men actually do try to express something and say things or signs they may need help, our culture causes men and women to internalize apparently and think he’s not serious because men don’t do that or since he’s a man to “man up” or something to not think about compared to a woman asking for help? It doesn’t say much, but I found it interesting and couldn’t help asking and thinking why nobody did anything or if they did, why not hard enough like they should for something that should be taken seriously?

    This is the same article I initially showed you and the link you have at the top of this blog post.

    And thank you for the compliments.

  18. What does it mean to be a strong man? I think it depends on perspective. When one sees a male bodybuilder lift 250 pounds, most of us will think that he is “strong.” When we witness someone who does not succumb to peer pressure, we also think they’re “strong.” Jealousy is a powerful emotion and it can bring out complex reactions for both men and women. Coping is a mechanism within us to help us deal with personal or intrapersonal pressures. In my opinion the way we cope is not based on our gender, it all depends in how we are wired internally. Neither race, gender or socioeconomic background are determinants for how crazy a person reacts. Case in point, NASA astronaut, Lisa Nowak. At the height of her fame, most would perceive she is at the top of her game and has broken most barriers set by the populous. She is a “strong” woman. Then one day, posted all over the media, we found out how she was arrested for attempted kidnapping of her ex-lover’s new girlfriend.
    Let’s put things into perspective. Both Colin and Lisa were highly successful individuals, but their coping mechanism is not intact. Their atrocities they’ve committed is not based on their gender. They are psychologically unhealthy individuals who should be made accountable for their crimes.

    • If the way we behave were all determined by hard-wiring and not influenced by gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background then we wouldn’t find social patterns that vary by all of these factors. But we do!

      And in fact, humans have very little hardwiring. Children are born with their brains not completely developed, and their brains are very strongly influenced by their environment.

      There is a nature-nurture dance such that about half of who we are is determined by genes and the other half is determined by our environment (both physical and social).

      So we are all a mix of the following things: Biology + social interactions + culture

      It all creates a very unique individuals. You end up with social patterns and individual variations.

      In some cultures men are more likely to be violent than in others. The pattern is tied to patriarchy. The more patriarchal a culture is, the more violent than men tend to be. And that is probably because patriarchal cultures devalue so-called “Feminine” traits like kindness, Communication, Empathy … And value so-called “masculine” traits like dominance, violence, power…

  19. I definitely agree with the fact tha more often than not, males feel entitled to what is “theirs”. For example, in this case, a relationship isn’t considered over until he says so. Being possessive at times and many times having a need to be dominant in not only relationships but also in society. I also believe the reason its so difficult for guys to express their feelings is because from such a young age, they’ve been conditioned to hide or surpress emotions that are considered feminine emotions. This denies men to be able to deal with significant life impacts such as break ups in a healthy and none harmful way.

  20. I find this topic really interesting. Men have been raised to be strong, unemotional, and independent. Every men that I know have these characteristics. But at the same time they are emotional, even if they don’t like to show it. There is a guy I know that recently lost his father. In front of people he would show no emotion. He is the type of guy that doesn’t like to show weakness. But once I was alone with him, he began to tear up and opened up to me about his feeling. Seeing him this way, all broken and torn apart, surprised me because I wouldn’t expect that from him. I guess where I’m getting at is that women are also blinded by these stereotypes that society has let us to believe about men. It’s okay for a men to cry and show emotion. Its how we as humans cope with harmful situations. If the emotion is not expressed then in the long run it can harm you and people around you as well.

    • Both women and men can be blinded by stereotypes, Can’t they? The man you’re talking about probably doesn’t realize that other men are just like him, Or it would be easier for him to Express his emotions.

  21. Remember how you said, people bully or a man acts in ways like macho and a jerk and it’s often times it’s because such people are actually insecure themselves and it’s their way of compensating by feeling superior. This story made me think of it, some guy being a piece of shit, pisses me off.

    True the homeless man consented, but the way I see it is the man might have done so because he was so desperate just to havee $5 or maybe he had a mental issue. But still, it’s easy to wonder until you’re homeless and in his shoes and do things you thought you’d never do. Anyway some asshole paid the homeless man $5 for the homeless man to pour cofee on himself. So basically burning himself as coffee is usually hot for pretty much the arrogant man’s entertainment.

    The man posted the video on facebook of the homeless man doing it. I was think of the poor homless man, but then I thought of how the asshole man actually is the “poor one”, because he must have some really low self esteem to compensate enough and feel necessary to degrade another human being in order to pompously act like he’s better than the the homeless man. I believe that would be a superiority complex and based on the definition it’s “an attitude of superiority that conceals actual feelings of inferiority and failure.” Yep, must be concealing inferiority when being such an jerk off bully. Yeah I have an ego as many do, but I hate when people bully and treat others like they are shit or below them. It just made me think of the many ways men can do violent or unkind things because of their own personal self esteem issues.

    • It really shows how insecure the guy who paid him the $5 was. You have to feel really bad about yourself to try to persuade someone to degrade themselves like that just to make you feel better. It’s sad all around.

  22. Great post! luckily all my male friends are handling their relationship or breakups very well, I think part of the reason is in my culture, male really care about reputation and how people think about them, even though they dumped by girls, they still want to look good in front of their friends and family; so after breakups, even though they are in pain, dying, they still pretend they are ok and already moved on. A close male friend of mine, I was there with him the whole process, he actually cried a lot when he back home and locked the door. I think man can not handle it right is because sometimes they taking themselves too serious, and they think they should be the leader of the relationship, the dominant, everything should under their control, so after the breakups which they are not expected, they feel unsafe and out of control, so they may have the horrible or evil ideas come out, sometimes man is more sensative than woman……

  23. thank you for righting this. I think the way how some societies raise boys to become men has a lot to do with that. if the “boy” cant cry or express some emotion. of course their reaction will be different and harmful, but also i think is depends what kind of situation they go through.

  24. It is very sad to read this post and not get a little emotional about this, especially since all of this could of been prevented. Men and women grow up very differently and its a bummer to see that men can’t express themselves because they don’t want to seem “weak” or “over emotional” because to men, thats not how they are suppose to act. I don’t mind at all if men express themselves, and I would rather have them express their feelings then go all the way to this horrific and inexcusable extent. Men shouldn’t feel the pressure of acting a certain way and neither should women, just be yourself and talk to someone.

    • Men would be a lot healthier if they were released from their straitjackets.

      • You know what’s interesting. Like you said how men are held in narrow lines with behavior and expression. So while this man probably felt he shouldn’t express weakness but bottle it up and then show the “strong” emotions. That’s problematic as it is, but what I found also problematic when reading the article about the incident is how like you said male friends or society internalizes or don’t help men out either. I don’t know if you recall from the article of mine, but after the break up and before he killed his ex and the man she was with. He was telling everybody, probably his friends that he was going to kill himself. So I remember reading this thinking “wtf didn’t anybody take it seriously or intervene and try to get this guy help?” Especially if he told his friends that.

        That’s in itslef is a problem, because like you said men having an issue talking things out and learning to not be emotionally supportive like women can be for each other. Why the hell didn’t people call someone and like someon has to get to this man because he is disturbed or ready to do something. The warning sign was so obvious. It’s not like where some, hide things and then kill themselves, he told some people about what he planned to do. He didn’t say kill his gf, but still if a someone says they are going to kill themselves, you take it seriously. You call his parents, you call a counselor, something. If someone I know told me he was going to kill himself, I’d be right there and try to get him help and not keep my eye off him so he doesn’t do something crazy. It feels like people heard him and then just went the other way. I know it’s hindsight, but it feels like this possibly could have been prevented if someone he told about killing himself, got him help or got officials or something to keep track of him.

      • Well you are just full of blog post ideas aren’t you? I’ll write about this one, too.

  25. Interesting the stereotypes that exist about what makes a strong man. Nothing strong about not being able to handle emotional upheaval. The ability (and I know I’m preaching to the choir here) to commit violence has nothing to do with strength as well. I once dated a “strong” guy of the stereotype variety and mistook that forcefulness as masculinity – it was especially apparent when he felt powerless in his life. The opposite of strong.

  26. In my opinion men can’t cope with break ups, because at a young age they have been taught to be strong and be strong for both themselves and their partner. Men are exposed to this everywhere, from T.V shows, their father, or even their friends. I believe men tend to get violent in break ups because they believe that nothing is wrong in the relationship and they don’t listen or hear to what their partner has to say. So when the women break up with them, they spend many hours thinking about what they were doing wrong. Men most likely would blame the women and feel like they have to prove a point violently to show the women that what they had was something good. Since most men don’t know how to open up emotionally and mentally they act out through actions and physical abuse.

  27. Thank you for writing this! I think it is extremely important for our society to learn that going through or dealing with emotions is just an every day battle for anybody. I think it is stupid that boys are taught that showing emotions are “weak”. Maybe they are weak for not being able to express it. It’s sad to think that although some parents might not be making it such a big deal about showing emotions, but the fact that children also get molded through peers in school (assuming that their parents find showing emotions unacceptable and bringing that concept to school).

  28. This was a very significant post. I agree with a lot of what is written here, especially when getting into the ideas of “why can’t strong men deal with breakups?” and how that stereotype of men having to be strong-will and not show that “weak” emotion you expressed does affect how someone can internalize an issue. A lot of times, because the man feels like they are stronger (connecting to the patriarchy idea) , they truly take for granted their partner, so when they their partner does show signs of discontent and they are blocking out the issues and feeling as if they are truly invincible until the “shock,” as you said, hits them.

    Even through reading your post, I wish we could understand why people turn to violence truly in these situations. What exactly has to go off that violence becomes the only answer, when the solution to any of the issues may have been in front of them the whole time. The inability to have the outlet is key here, because for some men, having power isn’t something always connected to just money or the mind, but the physical strength of what they could do.

    I would hope that this trend will change. But it truly starts with the men and how they see and treat women, inside or outside, of a relationship to begin with.

  29. Hi there dear Georgia…. this is a very insightful and thought-provoking post….
    Though boys don´t cry… but they feel… I am wondering in which way these disproportionate reactions could be related with a sort of damaged ego as a sort of outrage or theft of who… or even what, has been possessed…
    from ancient times jealousy leads to revenge and murder… we have many examples coming from Greek Mythology… in those cases victims could be even the offspring of the betrayer, so to speak..
    Sometimes cheating is not even a requirement, and a break up is enough reason to take drastic measures.
    Back to the owner-owned relationship…. I am thinking of certain mammals, such as cats and dogs, and how they mark out their territories and fight for females… Hence, I wonder if we could find an equivalent among these human behaviours
    what is hard to explain from a rational and self-centered position is how someone would commit crimes which would surely jeopardize their freedom… Again… a sort of unconscious primitive instinct seem to guide these highly emotional actions and reactions, I guess…
    Sending best wishes to you… Aquileana 😀

    • And you are more likely to get violent reactions in societies that are hierarchal. Domination cultures versus partnership cultures. You can’t even see some changes in Greek mythology. Before the patriarchal Indo-Europeans arrived you don’t have goddesses been raped, for instance. Before then the area has more of a partnership culture. I’ll be writing more about that in my blog.

  30. I obviously don’t think murdering someone who broke up with you is in any way a good decision, but it sadly doesn’t surprise me whenever I hear these stories. We all know how hard it is to be a woman with all the societal pressure we deal with, but it must be hard for men as well, growing up without a healthy way to express your sadness or insecurity.

    This guy, along with all guys who choose to deal with things using violence, is wrong. Definitely. But unless he has underlying mental health issues, I think he is unfortunately just a product of the culture we live in. Men need to feel safe being sad and showing “weakness” if this kind of thing is to change. We need to stop making vulnerability a feminine thing and toughness a masculine thing. A bruised ego is just that, a bruise. It will get better if you have the emotional intelligence to move on. Murder is final, and it’s so sad that so many of these bad decisions are being made by men who may have never been taught to deal with things in a healthy way.

  31. We shouldn’t forget that men fall in love foster than women.
    But don’t let me be misunderstood , that’s not by any means an excuse to harm someone.
    People have to learn to control themselves and their emotions. There are cases of violence over a traffic sign while driving. People have become very angry. No wonder psychiatric drugs are a multi billionaire industry

    • And this is part of the reason that men fall in love faster. They’re less fearful of women badly harming them, so they are less inclined to take more time to figure out the character of their partner.

      And yes, they do need to learn to control themselves. It would also help if we raised boys in more healthy ways.

  32. It’s always sad to see stories like these happen. Men aren’t suppose to show emotion, and they deal with it in other ways (Mostly violence from what I’ve seen). I remember when I was with my boyfriend of the time, he was always distant and never fully invested his emotions in the relationship, and after we ended things (it was only a six month relationship) he moped around telling everyone I was the “love of his life” but it didn’t make any sense.

    The whole “boys don’t cry” or have emotion definitely ties in with this. We’re teaching young boys that emotions belong to one gender rather than it being a basic human emotion. Makes me wonder how media plays a part on this because they usually cast the guy as someone who was truly in love with her and couldn’t bare being away from the love of his life. Outrageous.

  33. Men are suppose to be strong, both inside and outside. This is also one of the reasons why men are always soldiers fighting the war. Throughout the decades, this stereotype has not been completely beaten down. There are lots similar murder cases which woman’s murdered by her husband or boyfriend. All around the world, Kelsey Annese is just one of the many. It is quite surprising to learn the fact that “breakups are often harder on men”. This is so true when I look back at some examples around me. A close friend of mine was dumped by his girlfriend a month ago, he did not seem sad at all, and was quickly moved on with another girl. I first thought he did not feel any pain from the breakup, but later when he got drunk, he called me and told me how miserable he from the breakup. Men always tend to hide their emotions, which is not beneficial for their mental health.

  34. The question I have about this is how does a sense of entitlement, low-self esteem and inability to cope with a breakup (or anything else) turn you into a murderer. There are lots and lots of guys with entitlement and self-esteem issues, but they don’t kill anybody. I’m reminded of the creep who fled to Mexico suffering fromn “affluenza.”

  35. This is a great piece! I really enjoyed it.

    I often wonder just what drives a man to do this as well. People are fired from jobs everyday. But, they don’t kill. Sure a few do. Why can’t these men take a breakup the same way? I really don’t know besides the reasons you cited.

    There was a case in Baltimore last year where a black guy did the same. He was not privileged by any means. He had had that feeling of ownership a lot of men have towards their wives and girlfriends. The victim’s mother stated that he told her daughter that he owned her! That too I cannot grasp.

    This is why why I keep trying to get men to become more emotionally intelligent beings. There is nothing wrong with becoming more emotionally intelligent. If someone no longer loves you….there is a strong sense of betrayal and rejection. We get a lot of that in life. It is all part of that “Circle of Life.”

    As you said, we do need to do a better job of raising our boys. I just do not know HOW we can do it.

    Anyhow, it is 5:10 pm and the snow is really coming down! Plus it is really really cold as in 22 degrees! But, the good news is I have a girlfriend that I am getting snowed in with….Lots of firewood, wine, bourbon, books, food,..


    • Thanks Huggy. You don’t have to have every sort of sensed entitlement in order for it to create problems. But all men are sent Messages, some subtle and not some so subtle, suggesting that men are superior to women. A guy who is not entitled in any other way make latch onto that. So the guy you were talking about could be latching on to his sense of male entitlement to own and control women.

      And then everyone is miserable. It doesn’t help him or anyone else. He just doesn’t see that it doesn’t. He would be better off if you would find ways to become empowered, Not just feel powerful in a fake way.

      I’m glad you’re doing this: “This is why why I keep trying to get men to become more emotionally intelligent beings.”

      Sounds like you are making the most of the big snow storm. Best to you.

      • Huggy’s post made me think of other things that you see in the news, entitlement and the lack of coping with problems and resorting to violence. This relates to applies to so many areas of violence from men. A break up and a man killing his girlfriend. But how about in the news, where a man was fired or something and it was disturbing where reporters were reporting something and a man shoots them right infront of tv. Find out it was a fired disgruntled employee who apparently “went postal”. If it’s not related to an ex girlfriend or woman, it’s related to an employer who “wronged” a man, or religious faith or group of people that have wronged them or are bad or society that has wronged them and a general mass shooting toward everyone.

        I mean think about it, it isn’t just mainly men killing women after a break up, it’s men who go postal and go back to the job where they were fired and kill or shoot the boss or fellow employees. It sucks having an asshole boss or being fired. But it should be obvious violence and killing someone is NOT the way to handle things. Mass shootings, because “society is againsts them and a dangerous “me against the world view” It’s never good having a chip on your shoulder, but it does seem like men, maybe because of culture, entitlement or assumption or desire of power that it’s theirs to take, that they have huge spite towards everyone that’s in their way. Giant chip’s on their shoulder that paired with low esteem, makes some men very confrontational, impulsive and act out in hostile ways.

        It’s just a volatile mixture of emotions and circumstances adding to it all. When you and huggy both say we need to do a better job raising our boys. Does this mean parents or media and culture? Because while there are bad parents, I don’t know if parents should be blamed. Because I’ve seen where you could have good parents trying to raise their boy’s right and did what they could and though their boy was on the right path and then he does something horrible and something you never want to believe and you’re son is a monster. Maybe something he hid really well that you never saw and couldn’t help. Another problem with men who might be disturbed but instead of getting therapy or help, they internalize the bad emotions of bottling up or anger and violence until to a boiling point and them kill somebody or themselves.

      • You make some good points.

        And yes, it’s not just men killing women and breakups. It’s meant killing in domestic violence, mass murders, terrorism, Etc. And there is the common thread: the things I talked about in the post apply to more than just breakups.

        “When you and huggy both say we need to do a better job raising our boys. Does this mean parents or media and culture?”
        All of the above. Because they are all interrelated. To the extent that we can get a cultural conversation happening on this topic, parents are more likely to Parent in more healthy ways. So you do have to start conversation.

  36. The “boys don’t cry” or “boys don’t feel pain” notions are responsible for this, as you’ve pointed out. They fail to vent out their caged emotions and feel much more disturbed than women.

  37. Thanks for writing this. Yeah I’ve read too much of this as well as other things. Like ten years ago there was an incident, kind of surprised and shook my city, as my city is a small city. It’s basically like a huge town, as it’s not that big. Anyway, ten years ago, back when I was at college at my community college. I wasn’t there at the time, but it was on the news how a girl was stabbed to death at the nature trail of my small community college. Just horrible. I didn’t know the girl or guy.

    But apparently, it was her boyfriend whom she cheated on or something. Yeah that sucks, but I don’t think anyone has to tell you that, murdering someone over cheating on you is obviously NOT just and despicable. I don’t think he was physically abusive according to reports, but a man who grew up in a troubled life or household and maybe had low esteem or control issues and something obviously isn;t right to resort to that. But anyway, he apparently couldn’t handle it and apparently snapped or well this sounds premeditated for his apparently heartbroken, spirteful revenge. As reports said he came to her place and told her he wanted to talk to her and she rode with him, which he took her to the nature trail, at night when nonbody is around and then killed her. So yeah, messed up with how men are the one’s who can’t emotionally handle things that go against them. You can like tie it to many things. This “take it out on society, take it out on women, who whoever is wronging them”.

    Those mass shooters, some like elliot rodger shooting up college girls who he felt entitled too, and college boys who he hated, because he was envious of. Terrorists hating themselves, but hating US and among other things and want to take it out on innocent people because of what they deep down feel they don’t have. Ex boyfriends or boyfriends killing gfs or ex gfs, because they felt wronged and now entitled for revenge for their hurt, because that’s the only way to handle it right? violence? I’ve seen interviews of gang members asked why they murdered so and so and they’d say something like “because I was mad or I didn’t think or something related to machismo, respect or pride and taking back their manhood or something. So there’s this impulsiveness and weird way that men don’t want to cope or feel they don’t want to cope by other means except for aggression. So this so multi layered and can relate to crime men cause in a lot of ways, but I find it intersting how some men, just can’t handle a break up or rejection and have to resort to extreme measures like it’s the only way to handle things. When obviously there are much more constructive, non violent ways to handle things

    • Thanks for inspiring this post, Bob. And yeah, I don’t know all the ins and outs of his personal life. But if you just take a look at what we do know about him, along with what we know about how we raise boys to become men, you can see evidence of the source of things that spark these sorts of horrendous acts. We really need to do a better job of raising our boys.

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