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My Husband Feels Worthless: How to Help or Support Him

by S. Grey

When men feel worthless, you may find it challenging to help them. In order to aid your husband, you must not only acknowledge men's emotional lives but also support him in ways that fit his identity. Encouraging him to pursue his favorite hobbies or seek therapy are among the many ways you can support a husband who feels worthless. Tailor your support to fit his identity as a man and as a person.

Understand Differences

The first step in helping your husband through his feelings of worthlessness is to understand common differences between men and women. While women tend to be more verbal and emotive, men are socialized to show less emotion. It may prove difficult for your husband to verbalize his feelings because it's likely that he was taught to avoid showing them. He may not even have the language to adequately express feelings of worthlessness. Respect that emotions are a difficult territory for many men and that men often handle them differently than women. Once you understand the emotional difference in men and women, you can tailor your strategy to your husband.

Be There for Him

Having you as a sounding board decreases your husband's feelings of depression. He may not be forthright about his emotions, so let him know that you are always there for him. Do not pressure him to talk about his feelings -- pressuring him does not honor his autonomy, an important part of identity for men. Instead, give him the opportunity to express his feelings by offering to talk about them, but honor his response. For instance, ask him if he would like to talk about feelings of worthlessness. If he opts to do so, listen to him and acknowledge his experience. If he declines, let him know you are always willing and able to listen when he needs it.

Encourage Hobbies

Hobbies provide a mental health safeguard against sadness and can help men combat feelings of worthlessness. Doing any kind of activity that you love can reduce or protect against depression. Men, who may often take up their hobbies in response to sadness, benefit greatly from doing things they love. Not only do hobbies lessen men's sadness, they also help men feel strong and important. Partaking in their favorite activities gives men space and allows them the time to process their feelings.

Encourage Therapy

For a man feeling worthless, therapy can create significant positive change. According to WebMD, feelings of worthlessness are a sign of depression, a mental disorder which may necessitate professional intervention. Inform him that therapists are trained to help people with issues like his and that it is okay to speak to them. Men often have issues seeking therapy because they have been taught that vulnerability is bad or feel that they must handle their problems alone. To reduce resistance to therapy, help him find a male therapist or a therapist versed in men's psychology.

About the Author

S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.

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