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Healing the Hidden Wounds: A Guide for Men Navigating Trauma


Men deal with trauma differently than women. This doesn't surprise me based on the way men are socialized. I know that every man who is reading this has dealt with some sort of trauma at one time or another in your life, it’s inevitable: sudden illness of a family member or loved one, death, an act of war, an accident, physical or sexual abuse.


I experienced a traumatic event last September when my wife Jude and I were driving back from Charleston, South Carolina. We saw Carlos Santana in concert the night before, and were traveling on a major highway about an hour from Asheville in northern South Carolina when Jude experienced a medical emergency. It was frightening to witness her struggling in that way. I pulled over and went to her side of the vehicle, and was trying to use the emergency button on my phone but my hands were shaking too violently. I began frantically trying to wave passing vehicles for help. Finally an angel, an emergency room nurse pulled over to assist us. She was from the area so knew where to direct the Paramedics. Jude was loaded into the ambulance and I followed with thoughts of the worst case scenario racing through my mind. I began to draw my attention to my breathing and talked myself down by focusing on something positive. A day or two after this event and I was clear of the crisis mode, I released my armor and wept as I relived the episode in my mind.


In crisis situations the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, which is the fight or flight response. Trauma if not dealt with, over time contribute to a host of physical, emotional and mental health issues.

Here’s How Men Deal with Trauma:

1.) Men get more angry quickly after a traumatic event.

  • Being afraid of letting people in and exposing vulnerabilities.

  • Not wanting to deal with the feelings associated with the trauma

  • Feeling the memory of the trauma itself is too painful.

2.) Men are more likely to isolate themselves.

  • Avoid seeking treatment.

3.) Men often avoid dealing with stress.

  • Shutting down when they're feeling overwhelmed.

  • Some may turn to substance abuse or other destructive behavior.

Dealing with a traumatic event is almost like dealing with the stages of death:

  • Shock

  • Denial

  • Depression

  • Anger

  • Acceptance.

4 Tools for managing traumatic stress:

1. The Breath

  • Breathe slowly and deeply in/out through your nose

2. Speak with a trusted person or trained professional.


3. Thing positively for 12 seconds. According to research it only takes 12 seconds to create new neural pathways to be formed.


4. Exercise-helps release the energy trauma from the nervous system and releases chemicals and neurotransmitters that calm the nervous system.

If you're a man who is currently grappling with trauma, know that you are not alone. It takes immense strength and courage to confront and heal from the wounds of the past. Remember to be patient with yourself and seek support from trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can help you navigate this journey. Embrace self-compassion and allow yourself the space to grieve, process, and heal. Remember that healing is possible, and with time, patience, and a resilient spirit, you can reclaim your life and move forward with a newfound sense of purpose, joy, and inner peace.




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