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When it comes to chronic illness and trauma healing for men, what help is out there?

Blog post written by Steve Connolly – a Primal Trust™ 1-1 Mentor and co-runner of the newly formed Primal Trust™ Manclub. Follow him on Instagram @mentoring.with_steve

Men are at less risk of chronic illness. There are probably a lot of reasons for this. I read a study recently that suggested oestrogen itself made the brain less protected from stress injury; but I also have no doubt that our society places a particular set of burdens on women, whilst men in general benefit from certain privileges.

However men are not impervious to stress, trauma and difficult upbringings. It is also likely that men do not seek to share their vulnerability due to another societal burden, which means that weakness is regarded as an insult to their own masculinity and sense of self. With this, many men probably push through working and driving themselves into a deeper illness state using their own twisted version of masculine logic as much as anybody does. There are many often stated statistics about males that paint a powerful picture of the challenges men face in society, but still our society, or certainly men, find it challenging to see any form of masculine weakness.

Who do men turn to when they are in need? Do they also access their own friends and family, where they are seen as strong, and potentially as leaders and breadwinners – or at least perceive themselves, or believe they should be seen that way. Many end up without anyone at all they can turn to for support.

What do men share with their friends? Feelings? Or beer and a joke?

I personally have been a member of so many groups in the Primal Trust™ community, and others, as the sole guy. Or one of two. I can say that I have always been made entirely welcome and felt entirely comfortable – although there have been a handful of times where the meetings I was in, were referred to as either a women’s meeting, or a sacred women’s space. But of course, when you’re the only guy there, people often don’t even know there is a guy on the call!

At Primal Trust™ we do not seek in any way to separate the genders at all; the doors are open, and the marketing is gender neutral. So why at Primal Trust™ have we created a space just for men?

Well, maybe it is easier for men to be more vulnerable with other men. Maybe they need a place where it is easier to reveal their true selves, as the sometimes less open gender. Maybe they can share more fully if they so choose, or more easily. If so, this is a great gift to provide this safe space. Maybe the tone of meetings might be different to other Primal Trust™ meetings? I do not know, we will see.

But what we do know is that men need to be vulnerable, share their feelings and progress, celebrate their wins, and be with people who understand them. Just as women seem to do so much easier, men must allow themselves to benefit from peer and mentor support, instead of having barriers up preventing them from accessing these critical healing support factors.

I lost many of my friends when my perfect storm happened. It remains a scar on my soul, one I have had to accept and heal. Next month I will see my oldest best friend for the first time 8 years. He still has no idea of my travails and the losses in my life and where things got to after I last saw him. Should be interesting, and healing, and precious.

In our meeting welcoming new members a few weeks ago we skimmed past the Manclub notice, and I mentioned it since we unusually had three chaps on the call, and I have to say it brought a lovely reaction, which I was glad of. Then last week there were three guys again. I wonder if we are seeing more men joining the community? I really hope we are.

Manclub is going to be a place for men to be with men and be vulnerable, share and find themselves. We will meet bi-monthly and be a simple group where everyone can come forwards and share what is going on for them, and how they are implementing Primal Trust™ as a man.

I am looking forward to working with Neal Phalora who is helping with the group, and a coach in his own right. Neal, I have known for almost two years, simply as two guys who spotted one another on Dr Cat’s Level 2 course in 2021. Unafraid to seek each other out and engage, their eyes met across a crowded Zoom call…

To join the Primal Trust™ community, visit: www.primaltrust.org

Steve and Neal are welcoming all Primal Trust™ male members to join them on Zoom on Wednesday’s biweekly, the next meeting being the 22nd of February.