Emotional labour and blindness are two important topics when discussing how men find themselves after lifetimes of being subjected to toxic masculinity. Whether we owe our fathers, mothers, or societies isn’t really the point. Given how high suicide rates are among men, the need for more of a nurturance culture for men and breaking the silence around mental illness is great. Today I chat with my cishet friend William who discusses emotional labour and how it is gendered in heterosexual relationships. We talk about shame, defensiveness, and cultivating a language of emotions. We talk about gratitude and the debt we owe to women who have done emotional labour for us in our lives.
Content warning for parental abuse, especially fearing a parent, and people socialized as women putting up with people socialized as men as we slowly learn basic lessons we probably should have learned in childhood. If you’ve ever dated a person socialized as a man and that person felt like you were more of a parent than an equal… well I can’t apologize for anyone other than myself, but to the folks I dated from 17 through…maybe 34? Through the rest of my life as I continue to recover? To the folks I’ve dated who have done disproportionate emotional labour for me, I will do better. I’m sorry. And thank you so much.