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#11 – Toxic behavior as a man

We have now analyzed and examined various constellations and positions in everyday working life, drawn some conclusions and received new impulses. In this episode, we will look at the toxic behaviors that are more male-dominated compared to the toxic behaviors that are more female-dominated, which I will look at in more detail in the next episode.

In principle, men were for some time the focus of toxic behavior, such as narcissistic traits. However, it is now known that these forms of behavior also occur in women, but in a different form.

Which harmful, restrictive and destructive behaviors tend to be rooted in male social and cultural norms?

1. Some men tend to display dominant behavior and try to gain control over others - in interpersonal relationships, at work or in other social situations.

2. Aggressive behavior includes physical, verbal or emotional aggression towards others in the form of violence, threats or verbal put-downs.

3. Many men in society are usually conditioned to suppress their feelings or see them as a sign of weakness. This can lead to an emotional inability to express or deal with their emotions appropriately.

4. Toxic masculine behavior can be reinforced by traditional gender roles that push men to be dominant, independent and stoic, while viewing women as weaker or less competent.

5. Sexual assault, harassment in the workplace or in social situations, and other forms of sexual violence are based on power inequality between the sexes.

6. Toxic masculinity refers to the idea that men should only be "masculine" in certain ways and not deviate from traditional stereotypes. This encourages risky or destructive behaviors to prove their masculinity.

Various social and cultural norms may encourage such behavior, while others advocate positive changes in gender roles and social norms.

What is the difference to toxic female behavior?

The difference lies mainly in the manifestations and underlying causes. Men, for example, are more likely to experience the more severe forms of toxic behavior, whereas women often experience the gentler forms.

- Men and women are generally exposed to different social expectations and role models. Men are more likely to be encouraged to define themselves through strength and independence. When individuals try to live up to these expectations and harm themselves and others in the process, violent reactions can occur over a period of time because at some point the barrel of conformity is full.

- Male toxic behavior can often manifest through dominance, aggression and power struggles. Men can be encouraged to exert their power and authority over others, which can lead to oppression, abuse and violence. Dominance, aggression and suppression of emotions may lead to physical violence, verbal belittlement and control-seeking in men.

- In many cultures, men can be asked not to show their weakness and to be "tough". This can lead to men hiding their emotions, isolating themselves and finding it difficult to talk about their problems and seek help. A lack of support, feelings of isolation and a lack of emotional connection can lead to an increased risk of mental health problems. In the worst cases, long-suppressed emotions can trigger depression.

- Male toxic behavior can also be characterized by a strong competitive spirit and a willingness to take risks. Men may be encouraged to prove themselves in risky situations and succeed at all costs, which can lead to reckless behavior and self-harm. Men may also be socially treated with more direct confrontation or punishment.

- Rigid gender roles are often promoted and encourage men to exhibit certain behaviors that are considered "masculine". This can lead to men forcing themselves into a tight corset of expectations, which can restrict their personal development and self-realization.

Overall, it should be noted that the manifestations of toxic male behavior are based on numerous stereotypes and make use of narrow gender roles. When dealing with this, it is certainly important to know the causes and background of these behaviors. Other solutions are then often possible.

How do I deal with this phenomenon in relation to men?

Dealing with toxic behavior in men requires a sensitive and strategic approach to support and protect both the affected individuals and potential victims. Here are some possible approaches:

- Education and awareness are critical to recognizing toxic behaviors and understanding how they can occur. Gender equality and healthy relationship programs can help challenge stereotypical gender roles and promote positive behavior change.

- Clear boundaries are important to prevent toxic behavior from occurring in the first place. This can mean making it clear which behaviors are unacceptable and what the consequences will be if they continue.

- Those affected by toxic behavior need to be supported and empowered, e.g. through counseling, safety measures at work or in the community, and by strengthening their ability to defend themselves and deal with stressful situations.

- Interventions for men with toxic behavior should be offered to help them reflect on and change their behaviors. Violence prevention programs, therapy, mentoring and support groups are used here.

- Men with toxic behavior must be held accountable for their actions and the resulting consequences. Conditions and participation obligations can be used to bring about reparation and a change in behavior.

- Structural changes at an individual, institutional and societal level are certainly the long-term solution here. Promoting equality and diversity, creating safe and supportive environments and overcoming gender stereotypes and discrimination are goals that should be prioritized.

Toxic behavior is of course not limited to a specific gender and can occur in different forms and contexts. This is what I am trying to highlight in this series. It is therefore always a matter of taking a differentiated view and considering individual circumstances and needs in each individual case.

Stand up for healthy, safe and open interaction with each other!


Coaching offers ideal support here to either take the first steps in conflict management and analysing one's own reaction structures or to directly implement new skills that enable and empower all those involved to learn to deal well and confidently with corresponding situations in relationships. Another option is to act as a mediator or observer and outline a neutral picture of the prevailing relationship patterns in the department or company and use this to provide insights and recommendations for action to the decision-makers.

Trusting that the best possible solution will be allowed to develop and be implemented.


Coaching can provide you with targeted support in overcoming upcoming challenges at every stage - internally in the team or as a leader in the company. Let's work out together how I can provide you in your individual situation with optimal support and customised assistance.

Contact me to take your next steps

Nicole Dildei Coaching

+49 157 58 267 427

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