Counselling psychologist Sebastian Droesler has worked with male and female individuals, couples and groups for almost a decade. During this time, he has seen how the challenges of modern city living can impact on men. With his male clients, he typically sees five fears that can negatively impact on them and the people around them. “Dealing with fears is a necessity of life,” he says. “Overcoming the typical reactions to fear – paralysis, distractions and escapism – is a challenge.” He details the five fears for us here.
#1 Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
“FOMO is a state of restlessness that often leads to unhealthy behaviour and bad choices. You want to network and socialise, but slip into shallowness. You go to bed late, absorbed in games, videos, news and social media. Business trips and corporate events are welcome opportunities to break rules. You find it difficult to own one agenda.”
#2 Fear of not being good enough
“This fear arises out of the belief that one has failed to achieve relative to one’s peers, combined with the perception that one lacks what it takes to succeed. Typical coping styles range from avoidance by procrastinating to overcompensation by trying harder and working non-stop. Many men tend to discount their accomplishments and accentuate their setbacks.”
#3 Fear of not being able to provide
“Men who have been through phases of unemployment are particularly anxious about losing their jobs. The high cost of living in Hong Kong often increases symptoms like excessive worrying and restlessness, but also physical symptoms like chest pain. Feeling paralysed, they are unable to assert themselves and unfold their healing potential.”
#4 Fear of intimacy and rejection
“The terror of rejection and vulnerability that I see in men often shows two opposite self-sabotaging patterns: isolation or over-engagement. It is tempting to label yourself a “lone wolf” destined to solitude or to prove your stamina and compatibility pursuing numerous adventures. The fear is maintained by the avoidance of closeness in relationships.”
#5 Fear of freedom
“Acknowledging unhappiness and approaching the unknown often causes anxiety. We can be comfortable and persevering in miserable but familiar conditions. Discovering your edge, taking risks and believing in yourself are particularly difficult for men with absent, distant or critical fathers.” Sebastian offers regular Men’s Groups and Men’s Retreats designed to enable men to take charge of their wellbeing. “More men want to author their own wellbeing and become a better version of themselves,” he says.
Sebastian’s next Men’s Retreat Thailand will be held over five days from 15 to 19 December. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section
This article first appeared in the October/November 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.