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Manhood and Vulnerability

The Concept of Manhood and Vulnerability

American culture paints a picture of manhood as being tough, untouchable, stoic, and indestructible. But is that what being a “real man” is truly about? Dr. David Hawkins explores the concept of manhood and vulnerability.

The Concept of Manhood and Vulnerability

In a world where masculinity has been traditionally associated with physical strength, financial prowess, and power, Dr. David Hawkins of the Marriage Recovery Center offers a refreshing perspective on what it truly means to be a real man. In his view, authentic manhood is intricately tied to emotional vulnerability. This article will delve into the importance of emotional vulnerability in the context of defining a real man and explore practical steps to embrace this trait.

Redefining Real Manhood

The Traditional Notions of Manhood

Throughout history, society has often held stereotypical notions of what it means to be a man. Real men were expected to be tough, stoic, and unyielding in the face of adversity. Strength, whether it be physical, financial, or authoritative, was the yardstick against which masculinity was measured. Men were taught to suppress their emotions, to be invulnerable in a world where vulnerability was seen as weakness. However, Dr. Hawkins challenges this age-old paradigm.

The New Definition: Emotional Vulnerability

Dr. Hawkins posits that real manhood is, in fact, about emotional vulnerability. This assertion might initially sound counterintuitive, as it goes against traditional gender norms. However, this alternative perspective invites us to reconsider what it means to be a man in the 21st century.

Why is Emotional Vulnerability Important?

Building Intimacy and Authentic Connections

One of the fundamental reasons why emotional vulnerability is crucial is its role in building intimacy and fostering authentic connections. When men allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable, they become genuinely available for “into me see” (intimacy). In essence, they open themselves up to their own emotions and thoughts, allowing them to articulate their feelings and thoughts with clarity. This level of authenticity not only deepens their relationships with others but also enhances their self-awareness.

The Strength in Vulnerability

Emotional vulnerability is, paradoxically, a source of strength. It takes considerable courage and resilience to expose one’s emotions and vulnerabilities. In doing so, men gain a profound understanding of their own inner workings, learn to accept their flaws, limitations, and failures, and demonstrate a remarkable willingness to confront and work through their personal challenges. Real men walk alongside their failures, embracing them as part of their journey.

Practical Steps Towards Emotional Vulnerability

Acknowledge Your Emotions and Thoughts

To embrace emotional vulnerability, the first step is acknowledging what you feel and think. Being available to oneself is essential. It’s an internal dialogue that allows men to understand and accept their emotions, even when those emotions might be difficult or uncomfortable.

Share with Those Who Matter

Once you’ve made progress in acknowledging your emotions and thoughts, the next step is sharing them with those who are important to you. This can be a challenging and daunting process, as there’s a fear of not being fully accepted. However, true emotional vulnerability means taking that chance. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing others to see the real you, with all your imperfections and struggles.

Using Vulnerability for Positive Change

Emotional vulnerability is not just about self-disclosure but also about using it as a tool for personal growth and positive change. When you share your thoughts and feelings, you invite others to provide support, guidance, and understanding. In this way, you can use your vulnerability as a catalyst for shaping the changes you want to make in your life.


In a world that often emphasizes the traditional markers of masculinity, such as physical strength and financial success, Dr. David Hawkins offers a compelling and insightful redefinition of manhood. Real manhood, he argues, is rooted in emotional vulnerability. This perspective challenges long-held stereotypes and encourages men to embrace their emotions, share their thoughts, and develop deeper connections with themselves and others.

The strength of a real man lies not in invulnerability but in the courage to be emotionally vulnerable, accepting flaws and limitations while actively working towards personal growth and change. In the end, emotional vulnerability is the cornerstone of authentic masculinity in the modern era.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Improve your Communication with Your Spouse

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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