Let me get straight to the point. I have spent many years in the City working with supposedly super confident alpha males. Money-driven self-obsessed maniacs, bullish arrogant and egotistical males. Each one trying to prove their worth in a fast-paced cutthroat environment. I’m not saying they were bad people they were merely character traits of some of the guys I worked with. In fact for the best part, I got on with most of them. Why wouldn’t I. Throughout my twenties, I fitted perfectly into that exact same stereotype? Trying to be the "alpha male" and proving I'm worthy of being the leader of the pack.
But as I look back and see some of my ex-colleagues and friends I realise that the vast majority of these supposedly successful people have encountered problems later in life be it financial, addiction, substance abuse or depression. Some have had the world at their feet and yet squandered every opportunity presented to them. Some have made it out the other side and have gone on to become much better individuals and continue to enjoy a life of abundance and success, and some have unfortunately succumbed to life's temptations and are a shadow of their former selves. Yet for others even worse things happened and the pressure became too much and they aren’t around today to tell the tale.
Having studied endlessly, researched and sought counsel from industry experts I firmly believe that the vast majority of the super confident, arrogant and Charlie big potatoes are in fact covering up a deeper uncertain part of their earlier life. Namely childhood traumas. It doesn't have to be as dark as physical or sexual abuse. It could be emotional abuse which many of us brush as off as nothing significant or incidental. Being told you aren’t good enough, being blamed for issues between parents, constant and overbearing criticism, or the complete opposite; enmeshment or covert incest where a mother smothers her son and interferes with matters that have nothing to do with them. They cause issues with relationships, career, and stop their sons from fleeing the nest making them a mummy’s boy. This can lead to resenting meant from the father and rejects his son because of jealousy. The son then goes on to feel inadequate and worthless constantly seeking approval. This can haunt guys throughout their childhood and teenage years, and often follow them into adulthood.
As men, we build up this facade and pretend everything is OK because that’s what us men do, don't we? We take on this false persona often disguised as confidence and a hard as steel image. Character traits can often be someone who likes to be the centre of attention, short-tempered, overbearing and arrogance. When deep down they can be soft susceptible men who just want to be loved and accepted. They battle with the little voice inside their head and often become confused because they’ve been under a false pretense from such a young age, it has manifested and become part of who they are. Slowly ingrained and absorbed through puberty, their teenage years and if not addressed adulthood. The majority of men don’t even realise it has happened.
Does any of this ring true to you?
Don’t hold me to the exact figure because it varies depending on whose research you read, but it’s something in the region of 60% of issues such as addiction, anger, anxiety, and depression stem from childhood abuse and trauma. It is a scarily high percentage, isn't it? It is also a well-known fact that enmeshment and abandonment issues are rarely acknowledged as abuse by the victims, so they just assume and accept that such issues are merely part of who they are.
If you suffer with any of the issues I’ve mentioned or are just a tiny bit curious as to why you might seek solice in alcohol, drugs, sex or overeating then I highly recommended the following books.
Both books touch upon some unccomfortable truths that might just ring a cord with you. Are you where you want to be in life, personally or in your career? If the answer is no, ask yourself why. What’s holding you back? The answer might be obvious and yet for some, it might be much less so. Either way, you owe it to yourself to invest in you! I suggest starting with The Truth by Neil Strauss. He discusses some of his own problems he has faced which you might be able to relate to. It is only then that you can start to delve deeper and look at ways to resolve the issue.
If none of the above rings true with you, congratulations you can continue with your search in order to find out what is holding you back in life. I honestly believe this book is the gateway to acknowledging certain issues that many men are faced with when trying to live up to the societal pressures we face.
The key to living a happy and successful life is to be happy with who you are. In order to achieve this, you need to stop seeking approval and validation from other people. Be true to yourself and learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
Are you facing any challenges in life? leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter. Or join the Impact Lifestyle closed group I have set up exclusively for men on Facebook where we discuss these issues in more detail.