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Joined: 9/6/2011
Msg: 1
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?Page 1 of 1    
What helps you when you're fighting multiple battles at once, trying to be positive and strong, and yet are sad, (rightfully) angry, and uncertain about you future? Fortunately, he's in stable health (for now), though.

This is how a good male friend of mine is probably feeling right now.

And I'm not sure how to help him. The things that help a lot of women (talking, analyzing, planning, empathy, and Chinese food) might not work as much for him.

He's an extremely kind person, but definitely a tough guy. He hides pain, hates to show weakness, and generally runs around fixing everyone else's problems while his eat him alive.

Sooner or later, I sense he's going to blow/explode. It'll be scary to anyone around, but I kind of think he might need to. Should I help him sort of do that in a constructive way (not sexual XD) or do I try to stop that from happening???

P.S. Yeah, I admit it! I like this guy. I can't be with him because he's moving 3,000 miles away and smokes way too much (which contributed to the deaths of all my grandfathers and uncles) but I HATE to see him suffering. Especially since, after he moves to the middle of nowhere, he might be out there suffering alone :<.
Joined: 5/7/2005
Msg: 2
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/19/2017 5:59:17 AM

This is how a good male friend of mine is probably feeling right now.

Reread the word "probably" that you typed.

Before getting into saving this guy, make sure that he is actually requiring the saving. Yes, some people seem to take on too much, and yeah, they will contain some of their own personal feelings when doing so. But, many times, without anyone else knowing, they have ways to cope, adjust and carry on when the majority could not. In other words, you may "know" certain things about this guy, just not EVERYthing.
Joined: 8/25/2011
Msg: 3
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/19/2017 10:05:26 AM

talking, analyzing, planning, empathy, and Chinese food

These things will work fine, especially the last one.

Also doing an activity he enjoys, like sport, can help him take his mind off things, have fun, and let out some aggression.
Joined: 4/17/2016
Msg: 4
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/19/2017 11:25:37 AM
I had a guy friend going through the same..many struggles in his life. Don't pressure him to put words to his pain. He maybe emotionally illiterate and talking about his feelings may make him more frustrated than relieved.

Just let him know you will still always be available as a friend in spite of the long distance move. Tell him you are a great listener and leave the door open for him to come to you.

This was exactly what I did. The friend eventually came to me and unloaded. He spilled his guts and I gave him empathy and a safe place to vent. I did not try to fix things for him but made some subtle suggestions as to how he may cope and get rid of some fears.

Funny thing that helped. I took him to a bottle redemption center where they allowed people to throw the glass bottles at a cement wall. He loved it. Loved the sound of the breaking bottles. Loved the energy it gave him. He was high on adrenaline.

Throwing rocks is good too.. over a cliff or into an open field. I've done this. Put words to each throw. "I'm done". "I'm not going to be abused again" , " I don't have to save everybody", " I am good enough just the way I am". Something about these positive affirmations and throwing the rocks as hard as I could helped me. It may sound crazy but I got rid of a lot of emotional frustration and on the road to therapy.

You are his friend, not his therapist. You can only open the door for him but he may not ever use you to vent or ask you for help. Don't take it personally. Sometimes we are too close to a person and we are not the ones that can help. Be careful not to be too self important. You can lead him to the water but he may not want to drink.
Joined: 9/10/2011
Msg: 5
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/19/2017 4:26:42 PM
Maybe, maybe not. I'm like that. Put others fires out first, then deal with my own.

I vent by yelling. Gimme five minutes to gripe. Just stand there and let me. Then things can be solved. I was told that I hold things in, that the stress would kill me. You should vent your stress, but don't yell about it.

It don't work that way with me. Want me to be better? Let me vent-My way. I'm sorry that it upsets you. What possible good does it do me, if I have to be calm when I vent? My stress is still there. You're not upset because you didn't get yelled at. But I'm still grumpy because I didn't solve a thing.

Just because your way solves your stress, chances are, your way doesn't do it for him.
Joined: 12/7/2016
Msg: 6
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/19/2017 6:06:41 PM
Nezz123- First of all, you are an amazing friend, he's lucky to have you in his life.

"He's an extremely kind person, but definitely a tough guy. He hides pain, hates to show weakness, and generally runs around fixing everyone else's problems while his eat him alive."
Honestly, the last part of that is an assumption on your part. Secondly, it doesn't seem to have to occurred to you that helping other's is how he copes with his own stress.
I can relate to that. I do the same thing, sometimes. Helping other's can be a good way to take his mind off of what is going on with him.

"Should I help him sort of do that in a constructive way (not sexual XD) or do I try to stop that from happening??? "
What is constructive to you might not be constructive, to him. You can't stop anything, he is the one in control of what he does.

As Penny said, let him know you will be there for him, even once he moves away. Then do it.
Also, Purplerider was correct in saying sometimes people just need to vent.
If I'm super stressed and aggravated, I'll turn to someone who knows me well and talk it out. Sometimes, I rant, rave and yell, cuss up a storm, maybe cry a little. Once it's out of my system, I'm fine.

Your best bet: Be there, listen, don't try to fix it. Offer him validation, support, comfort. Be the friend you have been being, thus far.
I promise you, that means a lot to him and it's enough. :)
Joined: 6/11/2013
Msg: 7
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/19/2017 11:41:55 PM
I was going to defer to the men for their thoughts, then I read what Penny wrote and that sounded good to me.

Nezz, You listed some attributes of women, missing is "fixer"☺😊😁😂 We love to fix things. More women need to become engineers☺
Joined: 4/8/2004
Msg: 8
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/22/2017 5:33:46 PM
Here's one of the biggest mistakes people are making these days. Stop trying to create your perfect partner.

You can call it whatever you want. You can rephrase it in any way that you like that makes the justification better... but what you are doing here, is trying to create a partner. You aren't trying to find one. You are trying to make one.

You found someone that is broken. You believe you can help him heal and become the man you see inside him. You see such potential in him. You just know there are things he has to change, and heal from, and leave behind, and grow into. You see those things, and you want to help him. And... you'll be there every step of the way so he will appreciate it, and come to love you in that really, steadfast, depending/dependable kind of way. Right?

Yeah. That doesn't work.

If he isn't who you want to be with, right then and there... then move on. I did not say anything about "perfect".... but I'll come back to that word. No. I'm talking about loving someone for who they are, versus loving someone for who you think they can become. See, that potential you see in him actually has very little to do with him. Seriously. It has far more to do with YOU, and how you believe he has the potential to be a man YOU could be with. You are seeing it more through the filter of him being your man, than you are just seeing him for who he is.

Now, before you disagree, or say that you just want to help him... stop and think about that for a moment. If he is moving 3000 miles away... what do you expect to be able to do to be able to help him? Don't say "I don't know, that's why I'm asking." Apply some common sense. The big things that reduce stress... really depend on the individual. I was going to say sex, for one... but if I look at myself as an example, sex causes me chest pain, and makes the entire event stressful, which by itself creates chest pain, so sex for ME increases stress. For many people, sex reduces stress... unless getting it when you want it becomes an issue, and then sex is creating stress. Sex is too intense? Hugs reduce stress for many people, right? But he's going to be 3000 miles away.

Do you want to pay for his Netflix and Hulu accounts, so you know he'll always have a movie to relax with... and he won't have to stress over paying those bills? Do you want to pay for his phone, so he doesn't have to stress over being connected? Hell, you could send him a Tracfone and a box of assorted cards (to add minutes AND push their expiration date back), so he doesn't think you are trying to monitor how he uses his phone. But paying for that would reduce stress. UNLESS, he's too proud for that, and wouldn't accept charity.

If you see a pattern starting to form here... it should be this. What will reduce HIS stress will depend on him personally. And, I want you to look back over what you've written here. Do you really think you've provided enough information about him to be able to figure out what might reduce his stress? Can we say that walking on the beach would reduce his stress? Does he like the beach? Will he be near one? Would skiing reduce his stress, or would hiking in the desert soothe his nerves?

Ok. He's kind, but tough. Hides pain, and whatever he considers to be weakness. He solves problems for other people, but not his own. And he's a ticking time-bomb. That's what we know about him. I'm sorry to say. That's not enough.

Bubble baths don't do it for every woman. I've met too many that turn their noses up at what might be "conventional" stress reduction for women. Not every woman likes American Chinese food either. And... here's another reason that Chinese food specifically is a bad, bad suggestion. I moved 3000 miles (from RI to WA) and I can't find any Chinese Food here that is anything like what I left behind in RI. In point of fact, the Chinese restaurants I've been to that are around here have depressed me to the point where I'll wait until I move to another state before I have Chinese food again... although I'll try to give what Seattle has to offer first before I render a final personal judgement.

If you wanted to make broad generalizations, men reduce stress by having sex, getting inebriated on something, being loud with their friends, blowing stuff up, going really fast, and having powerful tools at their disposal. So, if you want to play darts with the concept of finding out what reduces his stress, see if you can combine your resources, with that list. However, it will be a game of chance that you are playing, since if you don't know whether or not he likes any of those things, making it easy for him to do those things may or may not reduce his stress.

You did hit on one thing I thought was important though. You pointed out how he fixes everyone else's problems, while not fixing his own. So. Fix his problems. That should ease some of his stress. I'm not talking about the problems in his personality, or whether or not he smokes cigarettes. I'm not talking about fixing him to make him into a different, "better" person like I was earlier. I'm talking about the things he complains about, when he complains. If his problems are eating him alive, he must be expressing himself in some way that makes this clear. You can't assume that him being pissed off because people take advantage of him is a sign that he has another internal problem of unresolved issues with his dad. He really might be pissed because he hates the fact that he can't help people when he has no resources to help them with, and they won't contribute. If he had the resources from another source, he might not care as much if people don't pay him back... because he likes helping more than exchanging fairly.

He has to want your help. So talk to him. Not about the things you want him to change, but talk to him about what HE wants. If you are really just interested in helping him and not getting anything in return... then find out what he wants, and see how you can get it to him. In this case, it would really be about him. You seem to have put him into this category of being the kind of person who likes to make it about other people, and NOT about him. So, without being public with the details, so you can respect as best you can the concept of it not being about him in front of everyone else, try to see what you can do about getting to know what IS about him. Talk to him about what he wants... what he thinks would help him feel better about being him.

Who knows. Maybe that's all he really needs. You say he hides feelings.... maybe all he needs is someone who doesn't have an agenda, who truly just wants to listen and help. But you've really got to be honest with yourself first. Do you have an agenda? You say you admit to liking him. If you are entertaining ANY thoughts about trying to help him so the two of you will be together, that's something completely different than helping him just to help him.
Joined: 3/7/2017
Msg: 9
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/22/2017 7:59:07 PM

How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?

Joined: 9/6/2011
Msg: 10
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/25/2017 9:17:54 AM
This is going to sound weird. It'll sound like I'm fooling myself, or even I'm flat lying. And yet....although I like him, feel attracted to him, and think about his happiness....I don't see him as a potential partner for myself (that would not be smart).

To explain... he's exactly what you'd expect a ex-Marine/Army combat vet might be. Strong-minded, protective, precise, willing to suffer, doesn't complain, can learn to do anything, and sets high standards for himself and others.

*But*...he doesn't swagger around barking orders. He jumps in and helps. He's nice, sometimes silly, and has a great laugh. He was shot in the neck, blown up with an IED, and grazed by a rocket. The people trying to kill him didn't do him any favors. But he won't hurt a bug.

The more I noticed that, the more I liked it. I started checking my phone more, feeling happier when he's around, and wanting to help him when he got bad news. I realized that he's tough, but he acts like he's invincible. A few days before this post, he looked exhausted and kind of sad. I wasn't sure what to do, so I posted here. It's obvious to me now that I failed, because it all caught up to him a few days ago. He didn't explode like I thought, but he did push himself too hard and went to the ER yesterday.

I definitely have an agenda, but not really to be his girlfriend or wife. I wish I could convince him that wartime is over and that nobody will die if he takes a step back and lets others do the hard stuff for once. I wish I could convince him it's okay to put *himself* first sometimes. It won't make him weak. It might make him stronger, maybe even happier. I wish I could show him he doesn't have to subjugate what he needs in order to "deserve" the good stuff he's already earned.

Who knows? That may be none of my business. I may be dreaming.

And it probably isn't my place. Like I said, I shouldn't be his girlfriend or wife. He's much older than me and smokes way too much. Meanwhile, I'm a bit of a health nut. Watching (another) man die of cancer would be torture and not even I'm delusional enough to think I could stop it.

Fortunately, after he moves cross-country, he'll be a few hours from two major cities where he'll have chances to meet cool women his age. I just hope I can give him a the right send-off and the best headstart, so that once he gets there he'll be won't miss out because he'll be in the mindset to enjoy it...
Joined: 6/6/2015
Msg: 11
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/25/2017 10:53:51 AM
Since he's a vet, what was his service like? Does he have ptsd or has he had/does he need counseling?
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 12
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/26/2017 7:07:18 AM
I think you might be missing a couple of very important concepts, Nezz. The biggest one is, that many of us who take on challenges as your friend does, actually derive our sense of place in the world from fighting those battles. Telling us to sit down and take a break, can be like telling us that we've been wasting our lives on nothing. It's like telling a prime athlete that they don't have to win races or jump the highest or whatever their specialty is. The challenge battlers and helpers of the world, actually get more stressed if they try to stop. He might be one of those.

On the recommendation end of things, I'd suggest only the one thing that has always been gold for me: faith. Not my own faith, but faith IN me, from others. You being supportive of him AS A PERSON will help him more than any suggestion about diet or activities. In fact sometimes, when a friend gives me such suggestions, it can feel as though their goal is to do like a careless doctor does, and write me a prescription that allows THEM to stop paying attention to me. Instead, do as you say you mostly have been doing, and show without saying it straight up, that you have confidence in his value as a human being. That's done by the continuity you've described, and that others have said, in being available responsive and friendly to him.

Lots of us hide stress. Hiding stress is a necessary part of our lives, perhaps more for males than females due to long standing cultural standards, but females are required to hide their stress as well, in different ways than males are. The trouble comes not from HIDING it, but from DENYING THAT IT EXISTS.
Joined: 5/24/2012
Msg: 13
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 8/31/2017 9:26:25 PM
Frankly, just ask how you can help and listen, vs assuming so much or getting smudged boundaries. Sometimes a connection is enough, and frankly it's parental sounding the way you go about relationships. Not sexy to mom people, nor does it allow people to be strong, nor does it allow you to step out of the assuming, all knowing role and actually hear people, nor does it make for good friendships. Maybe some of your perceptions are right, but hold up with unverified assumptions.
Joined: 4/7/2005
Msg: 14
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 12/29/2017 10:35:59 PM
A guy is taught at a young age to hold in emotions fight through things. If you want to help do something fun. This is how guys relieve themselves of stress. We search for temporary happiness from place to place time to time. Whatever dude likes to do, do that with him. Now also what would be helpful since you are an attractive break your rule. You like him for a reason and you have a fear of losing someone you feel close to. That's why him moving 3000 miles away and his smoking bothers you from making a move. You relate smoking to your family's death and that brings back pain you don't want to feel.
Joined: 1/7/2018
Msg: 15
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 1/24/2018 6:25:32 AM
Yeah, it sounds like you are dreaming.

He's not a woman. He doesn' have to have a good cry/"explode" just because you think that is what his reaction should be. What is stressful for you is not stressful for someone else. It all comes down down to attitude. Everyone handles things differently. He throws himself into helping others to occupy his mind and time. There is nothing wrong with that if that is what works for him.

How old is this guy? 70?
Joined: 11/25/2016
Msg: 16
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How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 3/30/2018 3:44:22 PM
Just be a positive and don't-have-to-think-too-much-about-it part of his life.
Maybe invite him to do some fun, healthy and low-stress things as friends.
Joined: 10/11/2017
Msg: 17
How to Help Guy Who Hide Stress?
Posted: 4/1/2018 7:00:51 AM
Buy him a stress ball, rad roller, and foam roller teach him home stress relief techniques lots of stuff on that available on internet and some actually works.
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