Job stress. Unemployment. Lifestyle changes. The changing role of the breadwinner. Marital stress. These are issues facing a lot of men today, but we are learning what sometimes happens when some men in crisis reach the tipping point with no one to talk to.
I’m sure, like me, you’ve been alarmed at the rash of suicides, apparently perpetrated by fathers who are in financial crisis. What’s even more shocking is that some of these men are so distraught that they also take the lives of their wives and children. I always wonder, did they really think they had no one to whom they could turn?
Author Darryl Cobbin wrote an article recently that shed light on fathers’ roles in this economy. He explains that these incidents, most recently the apparent suicide of Freddie Mac’s acting CFO, demonstrate how the financial crisis has deeply personal implications that we are not talking about enough.
Cobbin shares his own experience as an executive for Coca Cola, a father of two and a husband to a stay-at-home mother. He shares his decision to leave this corporate safety to venture out on his own, due to downsizing and a job reduction. This private man went public with his own story to communicate that men are not alone in feeling at risk, in feeling that their identity or worth is tied to their jobs.
On the other hand, he says, “You also have to remember that when your kids greet you as you walk through the door at the end of a day of work, they don’t care about your title or paycheck. They love you because you are you…Remind yourself of this fact every day.”
That’s not to say lifestyle changes haven’t been hard on his family, but they have found many benefits, including becoming closer as a family, and spending more time together.
You can follow his story at the Huffington Post. Cobbin is a good example of how opening up communication about your own life can help others relate, and possibly reduce their stress and insecurity. Women need to be alert to stress in their partners’ lives, and to encourage and build them up instead of adding to the worry and stress. Also, encourage your husband’s relationships with trusted friends and family. Men, don’t be afraid to reach out to other men, who may be going through many of the same issues as you.
In my interviews with successful married couples, I’ve learned that it is often in crises that couples grow the most and solidify their foundation. How would your spouse describe your stress level today?