November is Men’s Health Awareness Month and it’s no wonder that men today find it difficult to go and see the doctor.
Previous generations have drummed it into guys that to ask for help, is not a manly thing to do. Worse still, to admit that you are actually scared of something… even less manly.
So what can you do, if your guy clearly is worried about something health-related, and needs to go and see a Doctor, but refuses to talk about things, let alone book that appointment? In this article, Christopher Paul Jones, Harley Street therapist who specialises in breaking through fear talks about how you can get the man in your life to go and see the Doctor, in three easy steps.
Step one: Do not pressure him.
The worst thing that you can do is to get on his case and pressure him. Men, in general, shut down when a woman starts to do this – and so even if you think that you are doing what’s best for him, chances are, he will see it as ‘nagging’ and he will go even further down the denial rabbit hole.
If you are really concerned about him, drop him a note and let him know that you are concerned, but that you won’t pressure him about it , and that you know that he knows what is best for him so you will leave it in his hands.
Step two: If you do talk, think like a man.
Avoid getting over emotional if he does open up to you. It’s quite normal for a man to start talking but then shut down again.
Maybe this is something that he needs to come to terms with in his own time (and chances are, that he will). So, think like a man – listen to the facts, acknowledge how he feels, and avoid talking about how it makes YOU feel. This is not about you, it is about him.
Maybe even go as far as to tell him that: say something like ‘of course, I am worried about you and I am here for you, but this isn’t about me, it’s about you, and so I am here to simply listen. If you need my help I can help you but I know that you can handle this’. Don’t take away his masculine power, and make him feel feminised, because he needs to feel masculine when talking about his feelings.
Step Three: Stick to the facts.
Carrying on with the idea of avoiding emotions (at least for now), try and stick to the facts when you are talking to him. Of course, if some time passes and he does not talk to you, know when to step in. But do the following:
Keep it short, and simple, find out the facts about whatever it is that is bothering him and then point out some facts: for example, ‘Hey I know you’re nervous about seeing the Dr about Testicular cancer, but you know, 99% of cases that are caught at stage one are treatable, so sure, you’re nervous but just think how easy this is to sort if you catch it early. Anyway, I will shut up now, this is about you and not me. I am here for you but you’ll do what you feel is best for you.’
Then leave it at that. Plant a seed, remind him factually how important it is to get things seen to, but stick to the facts and don’t make it be about YOU worrying about him.
At the end of the day, you cannot force him to go and see the Doctor, but you can be a support system for him, and supporting him is a lot easier than you think. State the facts, put it out there, listen, avoid making it all be about you, and then take a step back and see what happens. He is much more likely going to make that call, and come towards you, than he is if you pressure him.
Christopher Paul Jones,
Anxiety and Phobia Expert,