NOTE: this story is published by David Jurasek, while co-written with Anthony Reynolds and Michael McCarthy.
Aman I have never met before, named Samir, left me a very personal voice message recently,
“Uh. I’ve never done therapy but, my wife, she’s giving me no choice…”
Behind the chuckle that followed, I could sense some desperation and pain in his voice as he explained further about his wife’s questioning of their marriage and how he dreaded losing custody over their two young kids. He also recounted how his adult son refused to talk to him, only taking his money. Despite his successful career and having life long friends, he felt like an utter failure at relationships.
When I got him in a zoom call, I saw in Samir what I have come to see in hundreds of men over the years: the collapsing of a middle aged man under the weight of trying to be “good” for decades. The shattering of a mask of pretence, revealing a deeper angst, and the helpless vulnerability of a young boy, afraid of losing everything.
Battling shame to reach out to me — a complete stranger for help — I validated his courage to reach out. I also felt the gravity of his trust in sharing more with me.
When I asked him what he really wanted, he looked confused.
Mumbling what many other men have said,
“Get her back, to wanting me.
Get my son to return my calls.”
“What about for yourself?” I asked.
“I guess a sense of not feeling shitty about myself. Maybe, a deeper confidence. I guess.
“Actually, I’m not sure what I want, any more.”