Unsurprisingly, 80 percent of people who seek out counseling are females. Greg Hasek, a licensed counselor with more than 20 years of experience, lightly shares that the 20 percent of men who go to counseling are being dragged in by their wives. Most men will tell you that counseling is the very last thing they want to do with their time and will only go if they are in a most precarious situation, usually when their own lives or marriages are hanging in the balance.
Those are the situations that Greg Hasek specializes in, most specifically in situations where men have sex addictions, are dealing with past trauma, or PTSD. But Hasek has another specialization: how abortion affects men. And, those roots run deep. Almost always, men aren’t coming to him for help with the aftermath of abortion. They are seeking him out because of an addiction that has nearly destroyed their lives.
From a counselor’s perspective, finding men who have been harmed by an abortion decision is no easy task for the reasons mentioned above. They are not walking into pregnancy centers asking for help. They are not walking into the offices of mental health professionals and asking for help to overcome their intense feelings about the abortion. But these men exist in droves.
Think about it: there are nearly one million abortions that happen in the United States alone every year. Even if only a small percentage of the fathers are suffering negative effects from the abortion, that is still a large number.
What does abortion have to do with those addictions? They are sometimes a root cause or they have made the addiction or behavior infinitely worse as the man tries to numb the pain of the abortion decision.
There are many reasons why men won’t seek out counseling in general, much less to deal with the pain from an abortion. The two biggest ones, according to Hasek are these:
1 – Our culture hardly ever validates men for the trauma they’ve experienced. The exception would be for war-related PTSD and trauma. But abortion trauma? Not a chance. Men shouldn’t hurt from abortion, our culture says, it’s a woman’s issue.
2 – Men have been conditioned since an early age to suppress feelings and not show emotion. Crying is out of the question. Showing weakness is frowned upon. This doesn’t mean the feelings aren’t there; it just means that men have had to find other outlets, including unhealthy ones, to release pent up emotions.
As a licensed clinician, Greg helps men and help them heal from not only their addictions and unhealthy behaviors and PTSD, but also from the trauma caused by the abortion experience. He has found that somewhere between 30 – 40 percent of men who come to him with sex addictions also have experienced abortion trauma in their past.
Remember that rock thrown into the calm lake? When a man experiences trauma from an abortion, the effects are felt far beyond his own life. His detachment from his partner and his children is very real and very powerful. When his partner was inside the clinic, he felt a double hit to his natural instinct to protect her and to protect his child, that fight response. His partner felt her natural flight response hindered while on that table. When he looks at her, he feels like he let her down. He feels like he let his child down. Those failures may predispose him to delve deeper into his addictions, no matter what they may be, and drive him away from his partner and family.
The good news is that there are resources for men hurting from abortion. They need not suffer alone. We will continue to have short, but powerful, discussions with Greg Hasek, who has been helping men find healing from past abortion will also be a key speaker at the Unraveling Roots of Men’s Trauma conference and his presentation is available to watch online.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. Call our confidential hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673). Women, this is your call: if your partner, male loved one or friend has had an abortion, visit us at www.supportafterabortion.com to learn how to create a safe space, and create dialogue so more men can receive hope and healing after abortion.