My Two Cents.....
Plenty of men are not into anal sex. If its not what you're into I think it goes with out saying no one is forcing you to do it. To help with alleviating the frustration, maybe stop getting sexually involved with dudes who want it (or want it on the regular) and link up sexually with guys who are into "frottage" or "sides"; we've shared this before on Cypher Ave Guys on the ‘Side’: Looking Beyond Gay Tops and Bottoms
Frot (slang for frottage; ult. from the French verb frotter, "to rub") is a non-penetrative form of male-male sexual activity that usually involves direct penis-to-penis contact. The term was popularized by gay male activists who disparaged the practice of anal sex, but has since evolved to encompass a variety of preferences for the act, which may or may not imply particular attitudes towards other sexual activities.
Also...(don't know if this is your issue) but some dudes have watched so much porn through out their lives and have become so accustomed to masterbating while watching, that they are not able to perform sexually due to the difference in stimulation and sensation.
Best Posts in Forum: Mental, Medical and Sexual Health
Page 1 of 6
- Thread: Going Limp
- Thread: Depression
My point...a lot of times we are more similar than you know AND a majority of the time, your problems are not unique. We as black people and men don't like to discuss parts of our true selves.
Cypher Avenue is a community that is constantly changing. We sometimes have heated or uncomfortable discussions, but through it all, members care about each other.
We take mental health seriously.
If you or someone you know is currently battling a physical or psychological crisis, please call 911 immediately. If you need someone to talk to for any reason, including for thoughts of suicide, please follow these instructions:
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
-Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
-Use the online messaging service here: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
For the youngins, contact the Trevor Project in these ways:
-TrevorLifeline—A crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386
-TrevorText—Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available Monday through Friday between 3pm–10pm EST / Noon–7pm PT
For more information, you can go here: Get Help Now – The Trevor Project
TrevorSpace—An online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends.
Trevor Support Center—Where LGBTQ youth and allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and more.
Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
Finally, if you're interested in learning about depression, this is a great place to start: Depression and How Psychotherapy and Other Treatments Can Help People Recover
@Nick Delmacy @OckyDub
Cover art from Black Man in a White Coat, by Damon Tweedy.
As a doctor (who happens to be a longtime Cypher Avenue member), I suppose I should have said something sooner. But I think now is as good time as any.
Primary care is integral to your health. Just like maintenance is important for your car, it’s also important for your body. It’s not good enough to show up when you’re sick- you need to periodically check in with your doctor to anticipate problems you may not even be aware that exists.
For full disclosure, again, I’m a primary care doctor. Yes, I do this for a living. My purpose here is to help you think about optimizing your health and to help you determine where there might be improvements.
Primary care for men who have sex with men (MSM) is like most primary care- preventative. MSM is not a PC term- it describes behavior, not orientation, so it’s more useful.
Before you go to see your doctor, prepare an agenda of issues that you’d like to discuss. This will help guide the interview and possible interventions.
Ideally you should have a doctor (or PA or NP) who is open to you and is not judgmental. I’m one of those people. Yes, I have many gay patients…and even though I’m not out to many of them, I think the word might be out that there might be a young, black, gay male primary doctor who prescribes PrEP and also does home visits. I say this to say, find someone you trust. And if it doesn’t work, ask for a transfer or seek another provider. There are plenty of LGBT or LGBT-friendly clinics around.
These are some of the things I discuss with patients:
*General health, hospital admissions, family history, current medications, allergies.
Social stuff like living situation (is it secure or not?), work life, drug or substance use (smoking increases risk of cancer, alcohol increases risk of cirrhosis, other drugs increase STD risk and dependency).
*Depression and anxiety – both very common with at least 20% of the population experiencing at least one episode in life.
*Fitness, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol.
*General immunizations like flu and tetanus.
*Age-specific concerns like osteoporosis, vitamin deficiencies, erectile dysfunction (yes, also happens in the 20s!).
Specific MSM Issues
Sex practices – I break it down. Are you top? Bottom? Vers? Using condoms or not? Using drugs during or not? HIV status of partner(s)? Number of recent partner (s). Yes, all uncomfortable questions, but important to ensure we can decrease risk factors. This ends up being a long discussion since I also recommend STI testing and provide education on PrEP and even PEP (pre and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention).
Intimate partner violence – friends, it happens. We need a plan to keep you safe if it’s happening.
Cancer screening (if necessary) – including prostate, testicular, colon cancer, rectal cancer. Please note that information regarding screening has changed, and generally, NO, you DON’T need an anal pap…unless you are HIV positive.
Immunization Status – Hep A, Hep B, HPV (until 26), bacterial meningitis (everyone)
STI Screening – when done properly, you should have every possible site of exposure tested. So, if you’re an “oral top” (or whatever people call themselves now… ), your penis and throat need to be cultured/tested. Vers dudes need 3 site testing – throat, penis, rectum. For “total bottoms”, 2 sites. This should be done at least every 6 months. For some, every 3-6 months is needed. You’ll also need blood tests for: syphilis, HIV and at least Hep C. Know your status friends!
STI screening is really important since untreated STIs facilitate HIV transmission. So yes, chlamydia increases the possibility of contracting HIV. That’s one reason why the health department calls people to tell them about possible exposures. I can’t stress this enough.
Whew, ok that was a lot. Let me know if you have any questions @NikR
Read the whole post here.
- Thread: From the heart...
I posted this on FB last week and I'm sharing here too...just in case someone needs this...
Mental illness is serious! Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, OCD, PTSD and other mental health issues ARE REAL! If you feel something isn't right or you're constantly battling internal issues that you don’t understand, it doesn't make you weak to seek help. It’s not disrespectful to your religion to seek therapy instead of “praying it away” or “not claiming it”. It’s not something to sweep under the rug or be ashamed of. Let go of your pride.
Remember this, we're not as weak as we think...but we're also not as strong as we think.
For me, there are times I wish I could turn my brain off due to constant worrying, negativity and OVERTHINKING that can lead to drastic mood shifts. I've felt hopeless and useless. I've been to (and still frequent) VERY dark places. I’ve battled with addiction. Hell, I've been suicidal. I’ve lost years of my life wanting to do so much, but feeling defeat and angst before I even start and didn’t know why.
However, one of the best decisions I ever made was to seek professional help and begin healing from the inside. It's NOT a destination, it's a journey…a rocky journey that I’m still on seeking strength, answers, purpose and more importantly, to BREAK CYCLES!!
I want anyone going through this to know that you are NEVER alone and it's ok to admit that you can’t fix it by yourself. I want to see everyone win. I want everyone to understand that they're good enough. I want any and EVERYONE who may be struggling to overcome it. So, take it easy on yourself, breathe, HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR FAITH and NEVER feel bad for taking care of YOU!
Me and my mom got into a stupid argument when i was like 26. It was thanksgiving. I had just gotten my ear pierced. So she tried to hit me ith "why you got your ears pierced? You gay?" I did a turn nd said...YEP!
- Thread: Squad Support
My idea was for this thread to be dedicated to helping each other out during tough times.If anyone has a problem one day,or even one that's persisted for a long time,they can post here .You can just say you need help,or tell us what the problem relates to,or eleborate in full.
My hope is that any of you who come through here will respond to this thread ,or privately ,to anyone seeking help if you feel you have something to offer.
If toxic masculinity is the reason dudes are nasty explain to me my encounters with stank pussies and musty titties?
I bet you my next four paychecks feminist leaning buzzfeed would never do a post about men complaining about the women in their live's sour pussies.
And another observation...
How many of you would deal with a man who doesn't wipe nor wash his ass? So what does it say about these women who deal with it?
- Thread: Growing Up Around Mostly Woman
I grew up with both parents and a fairly evenly split extended family, but spent more time with women because dad worked odd hours and they often seemed more outwardly warm and inquisitive (or nosy).
My family didn't make me particularly fond of men or women. I felt somewhat distant from the men because the easiest to way to reach many of them is sports and I was more interested in nerdy stuff. I used to wonder if my mother would be better off without my father because she would talk about wanting nicer things and sometimes complained about his behavior, while my father seemed content as long as he had food, water (and soda or juice) and cable TV. I wondered if he held her back and she merely settled for him, even if she seemed happy and talked about him always making her laugh. I don't recall him doing much to make me a man other than wanting but not pushing me to play sports. Maybe it was indirect. I think we'd be closer if I were an athlete.
Thinking about it, a few of my single mother relatives often seem to have harsher attitudes than other women in my family. I don't know if it's because they had a harder life or feel shit on by society or what, but they tend to be touchier and less pleasant than those who were married at some point. Despite my relative distance from male relatives, maybe I've been indirectly affected by a large male presence in my family.
But I wasn't particularly fond of male or female relatives. I was a kinda soft kid and didn't feel like I strongly related to either. Men seemed relatively limited and aggressive and I felt like I often failed to meet their standards. I was baffled by some women's interest in shopping and materialism when they speak of having no money or being in debt, the gossip about certain relatives, and the way some had kids while young and financially unsound. They seemed somewhat illogical and mean in different ways. And some of the men were also illogical and materialistic but about different things and in ways that fit their standards, and some of the women were just as aggressive. I felt uncomfortable around both because I liked guys and was a weird, loner kid, in general.
My experience lead me to see people more as individuals rather than the social groups they're part of because I have myself as an example of someone who just doesn't fit in with most people. I also kept a lot of things to myself because I felt people didn't want to hear about it. Never hurt myself but have had the thought, "I wouldn't mind (peacefully) dying early but I won't actively make it happen."
Everyone just seems to be varying levels of flawed. I have had more male than female friends. They're somewhat rare, but I encounter more who share my interests or vibe with me.
- Thread: Depression
I was diagnosed with depression many years ago. I'm not sure it ever left, I just stopped seeing doctors and taking meds after a few months because I questioned whether it was necessary and didn't feel a substantial change, though the afflicted are often not best at diagnosing themselves. I did continue seeing counselors for some time afterwards. It felt good talking and venting to a neutral party.
I tried to address issues that seemed manageable and minimize damage to other areas of life. I left school because I had just failed most of my classes and there was a possibility that I could return if I could prove I improved my state of mind. Eventually, I began looking into changing my diet and becoming more active and lost a substantial amount of weight. But despite some ups like going back and getting my degree and the weight loss, I've made a lot of questionable decisions and often have a fairly dark mentality that I keep somewhat concealed from most.
I'm not sure what I'd suggest. Try not to isolate yourself. Maintain a comfortable distance from those close to you if you feel it's necessary but shutting people could make you lonely and them confused. They say exercise helps. I know I often feel better when outside breathing "fresh" city air, walking around and people watching. When I have the opportunity to get away from the city and out into nature, it's relaxing. Talking with my nerdier acquaintances about stuff that most people I know don't care about is comforting.
I'm not sure. Part of me thinks you should try to do healthy things that you enjoy and reach out to your closer loved ones, but I've also been in states in which I don't want to talk to anyone and feel that I've lost interest in most, if not all, of my hobbies. Then after some time and reevaluation, I decide to change my outlook. Maybe mine is more situational than clinical, though it's lasted for quite some time. And I know it can sometimes be frustrating repeatedly hearing similar advice.
Take care of yourself. You took the right step by finding a therapist. If you ever come to the conclusion that they aren't helping, seek other alternatives rather than giving up on therapy altogether. I've found that I enjoy working with some much more than others.
I called her while I was in college after I had accepted it myself first. She admitted she kind of knew and had a feeling i tried coming out to her before. My mom is a pastor but her love for me is greater than her beliefs. She doesn't agree because of religion but she treats me no different, actually we've become much closer.
I have to say I am happy for the introduction of PrEP, however folks MUST be more responsible with their sexual lives. Yes you on PrEP but still use a condom, that's how these other STI's mutate and spread. Telling someone to use a condom is now viewed as sex shaming or having internalized Homophobia.
They talked about Tourist spreading these super gonorrhea, when one is travelling to another city and sex is on the menu I think it is CRAZY IMPORTANT to use condoms cos you don't know what folks in that city be doing. You on myvidster and you see those amature vids with 5-8 guys in the room and not one condom being used, and they all young black men.
I remember this one guy from the app, he was visiting. We were vibing and then when it came to hookup, he said 'Bareback only' and that's how ''REAL MEN'' are suppose to experience each other. I asked if he was on PrEP, he replied 'whats that?'. He hadn't heard of it and was surprised it existed, he said 'wow, I have to look into getting this'. So prior to this you been raw dawing it, without any fears? We have to do better ppl!!!
- Thread: Going Limp
And since this is a medical question...
Paging Dr @NikR ...
And as Ock said, don't feel pressured to engage in a particular sex practice if it's not your thing. There is no right or normal among consenting adults, you don't have to answer to anyone gay or straight, just be sane, careful and health-conscious.
- Thread: Causing scenes
The reason why causing a scene or throwing a tantrum is seen as bad because that is something an adult especially a grown man shouldn't do. It shows a lack of maturity, self discipline, and a lack of emotional self control. Also it often times doesn't yield a positive result. Throwing a tantrum in a public setting will only serve to harden opposition to what you're trying to accomplish and cause bystanders to see you as rude, unreasonable, and childish. Everyone looses their temper from time to time but using a tantrum or making a scene as your go to move will only serve to reinforce the stereotype of the loud ghetto negro, or the overly dramatic, emotional, effeminate gay. Most people will simply dismiss what you have to say and they will tune you out even if you're in the right.
- Thread: Causing scenes
Why are causing scenes or tantrums in public seen as bad?
I remember the last few scenes I pulled and tantrums I did, and don't regret doing them.
In fact I wish a motherfucker would record that injustice. me and put that shit on youtube. Make me famous.
This is an interesting motive. However, everyone isn't going to be Cash Me Outside chick. Only non black people get famous for that type of thing.
But I was working at this hotel as a clerk, and they made me like open the curtains and set the tables and bring towels to rooms and shit etc. I really liked this job. However my superiors and coordinators hated my guts for being black and gay.
Do you have receipts for this?
So a few months ago, they called me into the office and told me I was dismissed/fired.
I went off like a match. I cussed them all out. I started throwing shit. Security had to escort me out.
Did you honestly think something was positive was going to come out of that? Did they provide you with any reason why you were dismissed beyond they didn't like you? If you liked the job you'd want to have a good reference. You could have been a well performing employee but the only thing they are going to remember is you got escorted out. I can guarantee you that the staff is still talking about this. There's your fame.
The next tantrum I had was weeks ago. I was having a really bad day. I went for a job interview for this bank. My interview was in like this vestibule of the lobby of the building the bank was in. The guy interviewing me was nice, but there was something about me he didn't like. Because I am black and gay. Because I was more than qualified for that job. Or else I would have gotten hired.
Again: Receipts? Look, I understand. I hear this a lot at my job with people saying that they know they are qualified and if it wasn't for this, or if it wasn't for that they'd get the job. Hell I used to say the same thing. I had applied for countless jobs when I was laid off but there's always going to be another person who is either as qualified as you or better qualified than you or the less qualified person fits in with the culture better or the interviewer just likes them better. It happens.
I remember I got kinda angry, as I was really hoping to get this job, as I'm still unemployed right now. I remember I grunted at him and was yelling to people in the lobby that this company was racist and homophobic and people were looking at me crazy.
I can't blame them.
Another one happened was, I was riding the subway in Los Angeles. I had my earphones on and was listening to music. I was miming and dancing in my seat to the music. I wasn't hurting anybody. I was just minding my own business.
This white guy sitting in the row across, had a negative agenda on me for some reason. But he kept giving me angry looks.
All throughout the train ride he kept giving me shit. Finally I had enough when there was another white guy who got on the train. He was a stranger, and he didn't know this man. He tapped on his shoulder, pointed at me, laughed, making angry faces at me, signaled with his hands that I was crazy and said along the lines, "why do they fucking act like that." Now I don't know if he meant they as in black people, or gay people or both. I don't know.
But as soon as he did that, I went off on him. I got in his face and called him a cracker and all he did was move back in his seat as he was scared. He wasn't scared when he was making fun of me and talking shit. I then got of the subway and just waited for the next one to come. I didn't want to stay on.
Getting off the train was the right thing to do here. Sometimes we, just a general 'we', not a 'we blackfokes' or 'we gays', can get paranoid. However, I need examples of the shit he was giving you.
So I want to know why is causing scenes seen as bad? I felt really good after doing what I did. I was just under a lot of stress and things like that happen.
Yet people say you're crazy, when you do that.
On all these youtube videos, you see people going off and causing scenes. People are so quick to call them crazy, yet not fully knowing what the situation was.
I don't have anybody to turn or talk to. No lover, or boyfriend or much family support. So I do things like that. It's bad enough been black and gay. Just being disappointing or being in those situations, I just don't know.
Thank your higher being or whatever for this part because I was totally going to come at this from a different angle. IE Roasting but I'm going to try to give you some uncle like advice here.
But why is causing scenes and throwing tantrums seen as bad?
Because it shows signs of a sociopath.
What I'm gathering from this is that you don't have skills in managing disappointment. Developing coping skills will do you well in life. Not everything that happens to us, negatively or positively is due to us being black and or gay. From your post I'm gathering it's obvious you are gay? CA is open to everyone but most of the guys here are discreet and even for us who are out, we don't wear our sexuality on our sleeves not because we've don't want to or choose to, it's just who we are. So excuse some of us if we have difficulty relating to these exact experiences you have had.
Yelling at people is not going to get you far. You have to contribute how you react and treat people. Maybe because I'm from the south, I just don't give whypeepoe behavior that they expect. I'm not going to pop someone white in their mouth because they called me a nigger but what I will do is hit them with some wit and and laugh at they ass because the whyfokes who have the nads to call us niggers can't stand uppidy negros who outrank them educationally. Or just plain smarter than them.
You don't have to tone down yourself. You can't control people. You can control how you react to them though. Do people not like gays?yep. Do people not like black gays? Yes. Do people not like black out gays? Hell yes. But There's plenty of out, flamboyant gay men who have jobs and get knocked down but one bad monkey don't stop their shows. And they know that you don't go off on people.
My advice is to try to figure out what making you angry and learn how to handle it better.
Trust me when I say that there are plenty of mofos I want to pop dead in their jaw. But I'm not trying to put myself in a position where I can not do what I want to do professionally.
Artists and students Jeana Lindo and Richard Bryan grew up longing for more representation of themselves in the cartoons and films they watched, and video games they played. Most of what they saw featured white protagonists and ‘good guys,’ whereas black men and boys were portrayed as criminals or thugs.
In their new anthology, “Black Boy Feelings,” Jeana Lindo and Richard Bryan are looking to give readers a look into the everyday lived experiences, thoughts, memories and feelings of black men, fighting the kind of stereotypical portrayals that make it hard for black boys to express their feelings and see themselves as more.
They began the project by spreading flyers on the street and on social media that asked for submissions relating to black boyhood, not knowing what kind of responses they’d receive. When asked what the majority of reactions to the project were, Lindo said, “people were really grateful”; most submissions started with a thanks.
In the book’s introduction, Bryan writes that “growing up as a black boy, you see a lot of things that other people don’t see and feel a lot of things that other people don’t feel. A lot of things are expected of you. A lot of things hurt you.” Because of “archaic and poorly explained principles of black masculinity,” he writes, “we don’t even talk about most of it.”
Bryan told NewsHour that as a fan of anime and manga, even today he sees a lot of black characters being portrayed as “borderline minstrelly” — a reference to early American minstrel shows in which entertainers would dress in blackface and lampoon black people. “We’re trying to combat this massive systematic wackness” in the anthology, he said, as an avenue for black male expression.
Lindo said she hopes this book will reach many different kinds of people, and allow for a better future in which “boys are more honest with everyone and especially themselves.”
Below, read some of the submissions — which range from photos to personal memories to original artwork and poems — that are included in “Black Boy Feelings.”
This new book explores black men's feelings on masculinity and boyhood
- Thread: Depression
@Jdudre, I can be a guarded MF, but depression is such a serious issue that I want to speak up. I am so glad that you posted this thread and are addressing your situation head-on. That is strength!
My brother committed suicide 7 weeks ago as of tomorrow. The outside world would never have known that he was struggling. I wish that he hadn't been the stereotypical Black man who thought that seeking help was a sign of weakness.
It appears that you have a supportive community on this site who not only understand the challenges of depression, but can recommend available resources to help you and others stay on track (THANK YOU Cypher Avenue!). Congratulations for recognizing that this is not your fight alone. And, as many others have said already, all the best to you. We've got your back!
- Thread: Depression
I've dealt with bouts of depression. I've been seeing a therapist. At one point I was even on Paxil. I stopped taking it because it made me gain weight. How I deal with depression is going to the gym. The therapy helps, but the gym is how I deal day to day stress. It also helps that I've set a goal on improving my employment situation and have been sticking to it.
- Thread: Feeling Like A Burden
- Thread: Circumcision - I Did Not Consent
While I agree that the mass routine circumcisions that doctors used to perform on babies in previous generations (like mine) should end, and that it is medically unnecessary, I had to eyeroll at grown men with a “movement”, acting as if a missing foreskin is the equivalent of the FGM performed on African/Muslim girls. These girls are true victims as FGM is akin to castration (an entire body part, the clitoris, is forcibly removed). Dudes (like me) with circumcised dicks just have a little less to clean. These candy assed dudes acting like they are Nigerian FGM victims need to grow (another) pair.
- Thread: Depression
Depression is rough. I can see you're already on the right track with talking to someone about it. I don't really have anything profound to say. I just know it's a struggle. I've seen other people go through it and I've dealt with it in the past. The thing about having someone to talk to is it has to be consistent. You build on it each time you discuss. Different techniques work for different people but one of the things I did was keep track of things that made me happy each day no matter how small they were. It could be something as simple as a person smiled at me when I walked down the street. It was nice to try and find the silver lining even when I felt like everything was going wrong. Good luck man. I wish you all the best.
Dude is wildin man....his rubbish “apology” literally screamed, “uh...I was fucked up, my bad....also, I like dudes.” How do you try to deflect like that. Like bro, 14 is fucking 14....& I can’t even get started on how people are going to try and run with the narrative of how “gays are paedophiles.”
- Thread: Growing Up Around Mostly Woman
I would say that what happen to you was more because of the person your mother was and not really a "women thing" no disrespect as I don't know her so I can't go off by anything other than what you said happened.
Secondly, try talking to her about some of these things she herself may not have realized what she was doing to you; parents don't always see how the the things she was doing effected you.
If she doesn't want to talk about or acknowledged any wrongdoing well then your going to have to decide what to do about if you want her in your life.
As far as the anger issues I would try and find a good family therapist or counselor as your anger stems from family issues just know it may take awhile to find the right one and that there is nothing wrong with you it's natural to feel anger at parents especially when we feel they did not help or provide us with the emotional support we needed.
Good luck to you
- Thread: CORONA AVENUE
Due to the escalating concerns and cautions around COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Cypher Avenue Meet Up that was scheduled for March 25th, 2022.
We thank you for your understanding. The health and safety of our Squad Members, readers and staff will continue to be our top priority as we work through this challenging time.
The Cypher Avenue Team
“When he would yell at my mother, I would start crying. I didn’t know any better. I was only 6. As soon as I started sniffling he would turn around and scream “Shut up Sean!! Don’t be no f*cking punk!” I was so scared. I was scared he would hate me like I thought he hated my mother. I learned from that to shut up whatever feeling I was goin through. Back then it was fighting other kids. As I got older I would drink, smoke, or just zone it out. Years later being with my own kids made me realize something was wrong. I was angry all the time. I started to see that I had been doing something that was pushing me away from people I cared about….”*
What happens to little Black boys, who learn to hate their feelings? Who do they become? What is the “inner child” and how is this all connected? The answers to these questions aren’t easy to hear. Nor are they as one dimensional as we might imagine.
The “inner child” represents the emotionality and perceptions we learned as children that, if left un-engaged, we carry on as adults. For all Black children, our inner perceptions are highly likely to be informed by a number of traumatic experiences. Despite this, African American Americans overall are not likely to access mental health services, much less Black men. This creates a considerable challenge: On one hand Black men and boys are traumatized constantly. But on the other hand, we are not given emotional tools to transform that pain. We are taught, like Sean, masculine norms that do not support mental health. The consequence of this is evident: climbing rates of suicide, abuse, and assault against ourselves, Black women and Black gender non-conforming individuals.
To explore this further, I spoke with Washington D.C based Therapist Douglas Gotel. Gotel has been working with African American men and boys for nearly 10 years and had much to say on how inner childhood trauma is playing a role in Black men’s lives.
Akili: How do you see child trauma impacting Black men and boys?
Gotel: Trauma literally changes the emotional map in the brain, it alters perception. Left unaddressed, these emotional imprints can negatively impact perceptions held by Black men (and any person); perceptions of self, others and circumstances that can cause problems in every relationship in a person’s life. For men, it often manifests as anger or rage, a product of fear and powerlessness.
Akili: How have you seen inner child trauma show up in working with adult African American men?
Gotel: I remember a time as an intern on a home visit, witnessing what unresolved inner child trauma looked like in vivo. I was visiting with a single father who was doing the best he could trying to raise his teenage son to keep him out of foster care. Their relationship was, in a word, combustible. As I look back on that home visit, what I witnessed were two people with unmet needs, two child states in conflict. A young man, who had been abandoned by his mother, his defiance fueled by competition with his father’s girlfriend for his father’s attention; a father, who could not read, conflicted with wanting nurturing and attention from his girlfriend and feeling his authority challenged by an acting-out teen. Both had childhood traumas of parental separation.
The young man had skipped school the day before and I arrived in the middle of an altercation between father and son. The father literally had a tantrum before me. He was jumping up and down, stomping, fists clinched, screaming at the young man saying, “You don’t appreciate anything I do for you!” The best I could do in that moment was to create some space between them before it got physical. The father, with his own emotional needs, was not ready developmentally to parent. This is one way that unresolved childhood trauma can show can show up in relationships, explosive anger. When we are faced with unmet needs, particularly attachment needs of feeling safe, secure, comforted and validated from those with whom we have community, how we respond to those unmet needs is reflective of the degree that our inner child has been nurtured.
Akili: What can we as adult Black men do to address and deal with our inner child trauma?
Gotel: One thing that Black men can do to help to resolve inner child trauma is to cultivate awareness of our systems of meaning. What I mean by that is the ability to recognize when behavior reactions to someone else’s behavior are being seen through the lens of adverse childhood experiences. Awareness is the antidote to impulse. Awareness puts you in a position to choose—a different way of thinking, a different behavior. In order to heal, you have to open up the emotional baggage, suppressed material of past hurts and confront it. Feel it. Name it.
Akili: What would you say to Black men who feel this work is not important?
Gotel: To Black men who feel this work is not important, I say watch the local evening news. The local headlines are rife with stories about felony crimes—domestic violence, murder— There is always a back story pointing back to a “troubled childhood,” unresolved childhood trauma. There has been a great cost to communities and families already when the emotional needs of Black men and men in general are disregarded and the emotional expression of Black men is stifled by messages such as “be a man,” “man up,” or “big boys don’t cry.”
Akili: What do we as people who love Black men, need to do to help Black men and boys grow emotionally and heal? What’s the best way we can be supportive in creating a healing community?
Gotel: What we must do above all things is preserve childhood and ensure that parents across the spectrum of financial affluence have the tools and means to make to make home an extended learning environment for their kids; that Black boys and Black girls—all Black children—experience enough of the “Crucial C’s” in childhood that build resilience and a healthy sense of self as they face life’s challenges and changes.
All children need four interpersonal experiences regularly in childhood to develop a healthy sense of self. These are the four Crucial C’s developed by psychologists Amy Lew and Betty Lou Better that I refer to often in my work.
We all need to feel Connection (I belong), Capable (I can do it), I Count (I matter, I can make a difference) and Courage (I can handle what comes). When children don’t experience enough of the Crucial C’s, they will act out in any of the four ways: Attention seeking, revenge, power/control or avoidance/withdrawal. When Black boys act out, the penalties and stigmatization is greater. We can ensure healthy social-emotional development of Black boys by providing experiences with Crucial C’s.
Akili: The message is clear: the little boys in all of us are begging to be reconciled with. Black boys in this country need our support in cultivating and maintaining emotional literacy. Black men need to get support in cultivating healthy emotional lives. This is a pressing priority for the wellness of the Black community. If national entities can build campaigns to support Black men and boys with ties, business suits and coding skills, then we can do the same with teaching emotional literacy that is informed by Black feminist and Womanist theory. Because all the other things are useless if they only serve to remake us into emotionally dead patriarchs who cannot nurture our families and communities. Our communities need black men, all Black men—gay, heterosexual, trans, disabled—to show up and be present, and be loving full adults. The inner child in you needs the same.
About The Therapist:
Douglas Gotel, LICSW, RPT is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist.
He maintains a private practice in Washington, D.C. and has extensive experience providing behavioral health services in school settings and community-based settings as both as a clinician and administrator. He specializes in child-centered play therapy, sand tray therapy and cognitive therapy.
A graduate of the Howard University School of Social Work, Mr. Gotel has been a presenter at The Center for School Mental Health National Conference and the Mental Health Association of the District of Columbia. He is a member of the Association for Play Therapy. For more information about Mr. Gotel’s work, visit www.douglasgotel.com
*Person’s name and story have been changed to protect confidentiality, personal account from an open forum on masculinity and maleness,
Exploring The Inner Child Trauma of Black Men | Huffington Post
TLDR: gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression, which arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.
It has been my experience that gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression. Although an episode of existential depression may be precipitated in anyone by a major loss or the threat of a loss which highlights the transient nature of life, persons of higher intellectual ability are more prone to experience existential depression spontaneously. Sometimes this existential depression is tied into the positive disintegration experience referred to by Dabrowski (1996).
Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. Death is an inevitable occurrence. Freedom, in an existential sense, refers to the absence of external structure. That is, humans do not enter a world which is inherently structured. We must give the world a structure which we ourselves create. Isolation recognizes that no matter how close we become to another person, a gap always remains, and we are nonetheless alone. Meaninglessness stems from the first three. If we must die, if we construct our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have?
Why should such existential concerns occur disproportionately among gifted persons? Partially, it is because substantial thought and reflection must occur to even consider such notions, rather than simply focusing on superficial day-to-day aspects of life. Other more specific characteristics of gifted children are important predisposers as well.
Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. Similarly, these youngsters quickly spot the inconsistencies, arbitrariness and absurdities in society and in the behaviors of those around them. Traditions are questioned or challenged. For example, why do we put such tight sex-role or age-role restrictions on people? Why do people engage in hypocritical behaviors in which they say one thing and then do another? Why do people say things they really do not mean at all? Why are so many people so unthinking and uncaring in their dealings with others? How much difference in the world can one person’s life make?
When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others’ expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.
When their intensity is combined with multi-potentiality, these youngsters become particularly frustrated with the existential limitations of space and time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to develop all of the talents that many of these children have. Making choices among the possibilities is indeed arbitrary; there is no “ultimately right” choice. Even choosing a vocation can be difficult if one is trying to make a career decision between essentially equal passion, talents and potential in violin, neurology, theoretical mathematics and international relations.
The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. But they quickly discover that their anger is futile, for it is really directed at “fate” or at other matters which they are not able to control. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression.
In such depression, gifted children typically try to find some sense of meaning, some anchor point which they can grasp to pull themselves out of the mire of “unfairness.” Often, though, the more they try to pull themselves out, the more they become acutely aware that their life is finite and brief, that they are alone and are only one very small organism in a quite large world, and that there is a frightening freedom regarding how one chooses to live one’s life. It is at this point that they question life’s meaning and ask, “Is this all there is to life? Is there not ultimate meaning? Does life only have meaning if I give it meaning? I am a small, insignificant organism who is alone in an absurd, arbitrary and capricious world where my life can have little impact, and then I die. Is this all there is?”
Such concerns are not too surprising in thoughtful adults who are going through mid-life crises. However, it is a matter of great concern when these existential questions are foremost in the mind of a twelve or fifteen year old. Such existential depressions deserve careful attention, since they can be precursors to suicide.
How can we help our bright youngsters cope with these questions? We cannot do much about the finiteness of our existence. However, we can help youngsters learn to feel that they are understood and not so alone and that there are ways to manage their freedom and their sense of isolation.
The isolation is helped to a degree by simply communicating to the youngster that someone else understands the issues that he/she is grappling with. Even though your experience is not exactly the same as mine, I feel far less alone if I know that you have had experiences that are reasonably similar. This is why relationships are so extremely important in the long-term adjustment of gifted children (Webb, Meckstroth and Tolan, 1982).
A particular way of breaking through the sense of isolation is through touch. In the same way that infants need to be held and touched, so do persons who are experiencing existential aloneness. Touch seems to be a fundamental and instinctual aspect of existence, as evidenced by mother-infant bonding or “failure to thrive” syndrome. Often, I have “prescribed” daily hugs for a youngster suffering existential depression and have advised parents of reluctant teenagers to say, “I know that you may not want a hug, but I need a hug.” A hug, a touch on the arm, playful jostling, or even a “high five” can be very important to such a youngster, because it establishes at least some physical connection.
The issues and choices involved in managing one’s freedom are more intellectual, as opposed to the reassuring aspects of touch as a sensory solution to an emotional crisis. Gifted children who feel overwhelmed by the myriad choices of an unstructured world can find a great deal of comfort in studying and exploring alternate ways in which other people have structured their lives. Through reading about people who have chosen specific paths to greatness and fulfillment, these youngsters can begin to use bibliotherapy as a method of understanding that choices are merely forks in the road of life, each of which can lead them to their own sense of fulfillment and accomplishment (Halsted, 1994). We all need to build our own personal philosophy of beliefs and values which will form meaningful frameworks for our lives.
It is such existential issues that lead many of our gifted individuals to bury themselves so intensively in “causes” (whether these causes are academics, political or social causes, or cults). Unfortunately, these existential issues can also prompt periods of depression, often mixed with desperate, thrashing attempts to “belong.” Helping these individuals to recognize the basic existential issues may help, but only if done in a kind and accepting way. In addition, these youngsters will need to understand that existential issues are not ones that can be dealt with only once, but rather ones that will need frequent revisiting and reconsideration.
In essence, then, we can help many persons with existential depressions if we can get them to realize that they are not so alone and if we can encourage them to adopt the message of hope written by the African-American poet, Langston Hughes:
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams.
For if dreams go,
Life is a barren field
Covered with snow.
original link: Existential Depression in Gifted Children | The Unbounded Spirit
And nikkas still wonder why I don't care to be "Out" like these other gaylebrities. There are only 4 or 5 gay ppl I would text or email revealing gay shit to...And there are only 3 gay ppl that I would leave in my home alone without a second thought.
DO NOT TRUST THESE HOES!
- Thread: Going Limp
Sex is fucking complicated- plumbing AND a mental component? And then you add at least one other person? I'm surprised anyone gets born.
I'd say initially, don't panic. Erectile dysfunction is pretty common. I have young men, one who's 21, who come and ask about this. And it ends up being a long discussion.
There are soooo many reasons why dudes can't stay hard, from structural to biochemical to poisons to mental stuff and everything in between. For most people, there are multiple factors at play, one of which is psychological. It doesn't even have to be about desire for your partner, it's just...something else. And that 'something else', performance anxiety and other feelings, can be as debilitating as physical problems.
I'm sorry that you're having a rough time with this. Honestly, I'd be anxious too. But (and it's a big but) we know you can get hard. We know you can get a nut. Now all we need to do is optimize.
You should talk to your doctor about this. Yes, even if she's a woman- they understand too! You'll need to review medical history, medications, drug and smoking history, have a physical exam (including a digital rectal exam-it's procedure), some limited bloodwork (ugggh 'low T' isn't really a thing), and some psychological screening tests (GAD7 and PHYQ9). And then you might need to talk to a sex therapist. They're phenomenal.
Medicine is a team sport and people are around to help. But you gotta speak up.
I'm glad you've taken the first step. Keep us updated
- Thread: CORONA AVENUE
- Thread: Depression
I saw a psychiatrist and therapists. I was never diagnosed with clinical depression or clinical anxiety by them but they told me to keep talking it through and the treatment given to me by the psychiatrist was to begin an exercise regimen. I started that and I have not looked back.
My anxiety and depression (possibly "situational" I guess) was mostly tied to my sexuality and living a lie to please my parents. I went so far as to believe a story that I told myself over and over again. Long story short, I was in medical school for one year and the experience was tough. I ended up leaving that program for medical reasons, mostly tied to the anxiety and depression. Then during my downtime from school, I realized I made the wrong choice so I am finding my way on the right path in graduate school for anesthesia. I still get to do the medical field but have time for other things I want to do when I finish this 27 month program. Medical school and becoming a doctor would not have allowed me that freedom. I would not have been happy. My parents would have been happy to have the first doctor in the family but then I would have most likely been miserable. I started to really form my own identity outside of the one my parents created for me from childhood around 22 or 23 years old.
The key is management. We are all built differently so while you might think you're the only one going through it, others are dealing with mental or other health issues too. For me, I manage it by healthy living, exercise, fueling positivity into my life... I hope you find what works for you buddy! All the best!
- Thread: Depression
My advice for countering depresion is always activity.Stimulation is the exact opposite of depression so literally work through.Some kind of activity that keeps you moving helps you to work through it ,even when you don't realize it.Otherwise the stagnation fells like it's swallowing you whole and you can't escape it.You gotta work through those hard moments and days,so the best way to do that is by moving forward.
And do things that give you some sense of obligation.Being needed will help you to not dwell unnecessarily on yourself,or rather your issues, and do something progressive.
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