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For some men, endless validation feels unsafe.

The other day I was skimming YouTube and found this video.

Tate is …troubled. And yet his story really resonated with me. I’d heard this story before. The FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss has a similar story he tells in his MasterClass. As does author Ta-Nehisi Coates in his book "8 Years in Power". The story goes like this: I was getting bullied by these kids. I realized my parents weren’t coming to save me. I was petrified. I had to figure it out on my own.

I think a lot of men have felt they were the kid on the bus. I think attachment clinicians miss this.

I actually don’t think the problem is attachment theory. I think it’s attachment culture. For instance if you skim psychtwktter for five mins and half of the tweets are:

I’m not saying this to pick on Kolber. I like Kolber a lot. You should buy her book or at least follow her on twitter.

What I’m saying is a lot of men read tweets like these, with their endless unconditional validation and it feels a little coddely. It sounds like we're being told "Oh poor baby. I'll never every leave you or let you down. I'll always be here for you." Which doesn’t feel safe nor does it make sense. You can say all the nice things, but when push comes to shove, when I’m being bullied on the bus, you're not going to be there. I got to figure this shit out for myself.

Of course this isn’t just limited to men. I’m merely speaking from my lens. Still, I think it’s a lens worth considering: How do we support those for whom endless validation feels unsafe?

I can tell you what I’d rather hear in those moments:

I believe in you. I know you’re going through a lot that only you can handle. This really is all on your shoulders. And, I want you to know I believe that you can make it through this and to the other side.”

I think a lot of people need to hear that right now.


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