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I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression Paperback – March 2, 1998


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I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression + How Can I Get Through to You? Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women + The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (March 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684835398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684835396
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Terrence Real was studying to be a therapist, he accepted the notion that women suffered depression at rates several times that of men. Now he believes that conventional wisdom is wrong, that there has been a great cultural cover-up of depression in men. Real is convinced of the existence of a mental illness that is passed from fathers to sons in the form of rage, workaholism, distanced relationships from loved ones, and self-destructive behaviors ranging from stupid choices at work and in love to drug and alcohol abuse. Men reading I Don't Want to Talk About It will probably recognize themselves in every chapter, while women will recognize their partners--and, of course, both sexes will see their fathers in a new light.

From Publishers Weekly

Hidden male depression is the focus of this clear, compelling book by a Massachusetts family psychotherapist who specializes in working with dysfunctional men. Because our culture socializes boys to mask feelings of vulnerability, he says, they bury deep within themselves damaging childhood trauma and its ensuing depressive effects when they become men. This strongly reasoned study starts out with an illustration of the "toxic legacy" that is passed, often for generations, from father to son, with each chapter adding another piece to the complex face. The lucid exposition of ideas is made more vivid through dramatizing. Real uses "composite" cases, so no actual person is depicted except the author himself. One of the most arresting aspects of the book is the autobiographical thread that he weaves throughout. Real's central concern is what he calls covert depression, a pain-filled, inchoate state that may or may not eventually erupt into overt depression. The book is wise beyond its stated scope: in setting up a model for the nature, etiology and treatment of male depression, Real ends up offering-with some gender variants-an almost universal paradigm. BOMC, QPB and One Spirit alternates.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Terrence Real is the bestselling author of I Dont Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression and How Can I Get Through to You?: Reconnecting Men and Women. He has been a practicing family therapist for more than twenty years and has lectured and given workshops across the country. In March 2002, Real founded the Relational Empowerment Institute. His work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Today, Good Morning America, and Oprah, as well as in The New York Times, Psychology Today, Esquire, and numerous academic publications. He lives with his wife, family therapist Belinda Berman, and their two sons in Newton, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

This is a very good book- it's well-written, thorough, and engaging.
Avery Z. Conner
By explaining how we get into this trap, it helps us to understand it and thus gives us a chance to find a way out.
D. E. Chapin
This book gives so much insight into the legacy of childhood abuse and abandonment, PTSD and depression in men.
a mom's heart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Mel W on April 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I say I suffered in my depression I should say "we" because I dragged a lot of people down with me. I did therapy, read books, took medications. This book helped me, I believe, more than any other single thing that I did.
Mr. Real writes from experience and with knowledge from both sides of the couch. As he composites out and recreates therapy sessions, you, as a depressed man, should see yourself. You can see where you've been and get a preview of where you're going.
Each chapter ends on an upbeat. It does not end on a sappy upbeat. This is no Stuart Smalley book, no pop psychology here. It is a real upbeat, real hope on a deep level. I actually copied paragraphs from this text onto my own paper and carried them along with me.
It takes courage not to be depressed. This book makes this clear. It also makes it abundantly clear that it can be done.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By obediah on July 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a well written book about male depression, filled with case studies that the author has overseen throughout his years as a psychotherapist. The style of prose is easy to read and the book avoids technical jargon.
A distinction is made between covert (or hidden) depression and overt depression - the type which is plain for the world to see. Covert depression in many cases is hidden from the victim himself. The author suggests a strong link between covert depression and addictive behavior.
Although the book was very educational, it left me with an overwhelming feeling of sadness. Case after case after case of abuse, violence, despair and hate leaves the reader with a profound sorrow and a feeling that the world is a terrible place.
Male depression is a "legacy" in the sense that it can be passed down through the generations. In many cases, a father is not able to come to grips with his own psychological afflictions and in turn these manifest themselves in the child when he grows up to be a man.
Male depression can also spring from cultural expectations. Men try to conform to the stereotype of "strong, silent". If a man is an alcoholic or addicted gambler, these are conditions that are seen as curable. However, if a man chooses to discuss his emotions or behaves in a manner which might be considered as feminine, then he is avoided like a leper and socially ostracized.
The book concludes with a powerful message - that it is necessary in life to nurture relationships and have a goal in life that is larger than personal gratification. This is a personal quest on which I am currently embarking.
I have no negative things to say about the book and would highly recommend its purchase!
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover
"I Just Don't Want to Talk About It" by Terrence
Real may just save my marriage and give me

back the man I married 33 years ago. As I read

this book, I cried. My husband and I were on

every page. Finally, I understand the hell

we've been living in for so long. A psychotherapist for twenty

years, author Terrence Real exposes the pain

the isolation, the workaholism,the disconnection

that signal covert male depression.

He is conservative in his estimates. I would say

most men suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

And they suffer longer because they have been

taught to repress, to deny. Thank you, Terry.

I'm bringing your book to our next counseling session.

We may live happily ever after, after all.
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124 of 145 people found the following review helpful By The Honourable Husband on May 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've struggled with depression since childhood. I've read volume after volume on the subject. Most of it, however earnest, just blows smoke.
This one's different. Real is the only therapist I've read who captures the anger behind depression--dammit, harm has been done to innocent people, and the pain they suffer is unrecognised, devalued or morally stigmatised becuse the sufferers happen to be male.
The rage they feel against the perpetrator(s)never gets a focus. After all, it would be focussed on the people who cared for you as you grew. What does one do if the hand that beats you is the hand that feeds you? You do what you need to survive the moment. You stay fed. Only later do you fail to thrive.
Terrence Real focusses his own rage on this injustice--and rage, indeed, he does. He suffered the abuse that leads to depression, and now helps men face it squarely.
Like an ugly scab, healing ain't always pretty. If you never properly clean and dress a wound, grotesque scars disfigure you. Real tells the stories of men who have put the time, effort and care into healing. It ain't easy. But having done so, their scars heal clean, and a happier life begins.
Other so-called self-help books (the "inner-child" movement springs to mind) seem to argue that learning to love your scars is the road to happiness. Poppycock.
(I might also add that this is less a self-help book than a political and moral treatise. If sufferers find it helpful, that's a by-product.)
Personally, I think Real lets women off the hook too easily in this book. Having endured the female-dominated "caring professions" to effect my own cure, I think Real ought to empahsise the complicity of women in the patriarchy (which he rightly labels as damaging to both sexes).
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