Self-Sabotage: The Epidemic
Why LATE Men Are Dying Young
By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD
During the past 15 years, more than 30,000 white, middle-aged men have died every year from various forms of self-sabotage. That’s 500,000 American men – an epidemic by almost any standard or definition. The actual cause of death is suicide, drug overdose, and liver disease caused by alcohol and drug addictions. These middle-aged men are experiencing emotional and relationship turmoil related to financial difficulties, separation and divorce, social isolation and depression. Counseling for men who self-sabotage can help to stem this tragic devolution.
Cause or Effect?
This epidemic of self-sabotage was discovered by a Princeton University professor who recently won a Nobel Prize in economics, Angus Deaton, Ph.D. In his December, 2015 report, Deaton used mortality statistics to show that white men in the 45-54 age group have been “hitting a midlife wall” (Men’s Health magazine, March, 2016). The article in Men’s Health accurately reported the scope of the problem in terms of addictions and suicide by middle-aged men. It did not adequately explain why so many men in this age group self-destruct. This group of men – I refer to them as the LATE Men – suffer from depression and feelings of shame – along with a tendency to under-function. And they are often socially isolated, separated or divorced.
Who Are the LATE Men?
The LATE Men are adult men who function much like Lost, Angry Teenagers. They are emotionally under-developed, and like teenagers, they often show up late – late to mature, and late to make or keep commitments. These men are often depressed, and they tend to self-sabotage, causing problems at work and at home – often leading to separation and divorce. Counseling for men, with a special focus on male psychology, can help the LATE Men to become loving, responsible Adults.
By mid-life, the LATE Men have an established pattern of self-sabotage, including some or all of the following:
* Under-employment or unemployment
* Lack of success in careers or work environments
* Financial instability and hardship
* Marital distress, separation and divorce
* “Process” or behavioral addictions (internet, video, gambling, pornography, etc.)
* Chemical addictions (alcohol and illicit drugs)
* Prescription drug abuse and addiction (often related to chronic pain and other health problems)
* Anxiety disorders, depression, and chronic shame (feelings of worthlessness)
* Anger management problems
* Social isolation (from family and friends)
The LATE Men tend to reach a low point by their late 40’s or early 50’s. That’s when their levels of satisfaction with life hits bottom. They become burdened with a life of unmet goals, unrealized dreams, disappointment, and depression. It’s no wonder the LATE Men self-medicate with drugs and alcohol – or resort to suicide. Is it too late for LATE Men to benefit from therapy or counseling for men?
Hope and Help for the LATE Men
In my article “The LATE Man Grows Up” I suggest 8 steps to Adult male integrity. Even very depressed middle-aged men can benefit from counseling and therapy groups designed specifically for men. The 8 steps include mindfulness methods, non-judgmental awareness and acceptance, healing past emotional wounds, forgiveness and healing relationships, and practicing responsibility, commitment and leadership roles. In addition to these steps, we guide and encourage men to practice self-care, with proper nutrition, exercise, health care, and sleep hygiene. Finally, we combat depression with support and therapy groups for men, a focus on building healthy relationship patterns, and creating new, achievable goals and dreams.
Even the most destructive patterns of self-sabotage can be reversed. We have many years of experience helping LATE Men to live a new life of purpose, love and community. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.