It seems that we are re-discovering the undeniable fact that men and women are actually quite different. And we are beginning to develop a coherent and compassionate understanding of healthy, normal male emotion, behavior, and relationship dynamics. Man’s earliest ancestors lived in a harsh and hostile environment that placed a high premium on physical strength. The strong survived, and the weak lived exceedingly brief lives… Because he was the fighter and because he was the provider, it was inevitable that the male came to be responsible for woman’s welfare. This is the historical reality. Gender differentiation evolved out of actual physical, perhaps physiological, necessity. This biological foundation, along with recent findings from modern brain science, helps to explain why men do what they do, feel what they feel, and how they struggle with confusing, even conflicting contemporary role demands and expectations. Men have primarily been defined by their work roles (along with conquests and success in business, sports, wars, and other ventures), not by their role relationships within families or other social groupings. Historically, men were dominant over women, driven primarily by physiological factors, and the major forces of historical change were conducted by powerful male rulers and military leaders, a male-dominated church, and other powerful men. In the modern era, male stereotypes developed as a result of cultural ideals created in literature, movies, and television (cowboy, romantic hero, soldier, 1950’s family man, and even the angry, bigoted archetypes like Archie Bunker). Currently we are influenced by post-feminist stereotypes such as the bumbling, ineffective and inarticulate man, or just the insensitive “cave man” who “cannot communicate”. The role of men in the workforce, relationships and society has changed dramatically in recent history, as a result of revolutionary economic and social changes. Until very recently, there was no need or expectation for men to communicate in an intimate manner. There was no historical necessity for men to talk about their feelings, to be emotionally sensitive to others, or to “validate” women or children. From article by Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, PA http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-men.html
Feelings are not
supposed to be logical.
Dangerous is the man
who has rationalized
When men and women speak, the human brain processes the sounds of those voices differently, Britain’s Mirror and Agence France Presse report of a new study from the U.K.’s University of Sheffield. While most of us actually hear female voices more clearly, men’s brains hear women’s voices first as music. But it’s not music. It’s someone giving them a honey-do list. So the brain goes into overdrive trying to analyze what is being said. Bottom line: Men have to work harder deciphering what women are saying because they use the auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. Men’s brains are not designed to listen to women’s voices. It’s not the pitch of the woman’s voice, but rather the vibration and number of sound waves that cause the problem, notes Discovery News. But guys have no trouble at all hearing each other because men use a much simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain to decipher another man’s voice and recognize it as speech. “The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices. This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice,” lead researcher Michael Hunter told The Mirror. “When men hear a male voice they process it in the ‘mind’s eye.’ This is the part of the brain where people compare their experiences to themselves, so the man is comparing his own voice to the new voice.” Here’s a really bizarre side effect: These findings help explain why people who suffer hallucinations usually hear male voices. It’s just too hard for the brain to create a false feminine voice as accurately as it can create a false masculine voice. The research findings were published in the journal NeuroImage. http://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/men/package.jsp?name=fte/womenspeak/womenspeak
Most people do not listen
with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply.
Stephen R. Covey
In studies of more than 2,000 school-aged children, Dr. Amanda Rose of the University of Missouri has discovered boys and girls are fundamentally different when it comes to talking about their feelings. While girls love nothing more than to yap at length about what’s bothering them, boys tend to keep quiet — and not because they’re embarrassed; they just see it as a waste of time. “For years, popular psychologists have insisted boys and men would like to talk about their problems, but are held back by fears of embarrassment or appearing weak,” Rose says in a statement. “However, when we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn’t express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Instead, boys’ responses suggest they just don’t see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity.” That’s fine for school-aged boys, but what about men who know better? Rose suggests their early aversion to talking about their feelings is something they carry with them into manhood: “Men may be more likely to think talking about problems will make the problems feel bigger and engaging in different activities will take their minds off of the problem. Men may just not be coming from the same place as their partners.” So if they’re not gushing about their problems to their friends and family like we do, how do men cope with their feelings? By keeping busy with activities that keep their mind off things, says Rose. Maybe this explains why your man spends so much time in his shop/garage/man cave. It’s something positive men might be onto — it seems many of us women might actually be over-talking our feelings and making ourselves kind of crazy in the process. Females who talk their problems out too often are in danger of engaging in “excessive problem talk,” which causes stress and anxiety. It’s a classic case of completely obsessing over something that’s not that big of deal and then inevitably blowing it out of proportion. No matter what, though, communication is key to any relationship and sharing feelings with your spouse, family and friends is usually a positive thing. Just remember to be respectful of other communication styles. By Martha Edwards http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/06/men-talking-relationships_n_950218.html
Don’t allow your mind
to tell your heart
what to do.The mind
gives up easily.
“It is not love that is blind, but jealousy,” according to the writer Lawrence Durrell. Jealousy is defined as a fear and rage response that preserves romantic bonds between sexual partners. Its function, it is believed, is to curb infidelity between parents, which advances the survival of their children and their subsequent reproductive success. Romantic jealously is widely understood to be different for men and women because each gender has a different level of investment in reproduction. For a man to provide for genetically distant children decreases his reproductive success — and because men are uncertain whether they really are the father of said children, they are most susceptible to sexual infidelity. By contrast, women can rest assured that they are the mother of their own children; however, they are more dependent on men for resources, making them more sensitive to emotional infidelity, since it could threaten the supply of resources for herself and her child. While many subscribe to this view, the research has been admittedly inconclusive. Now, a team led by Hasse Walum of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has broken new ground. Participants were presented with two hypothetical infidelity scenarios: “Sexual jealousy: ‘You suspect that while your boyfriend/ girlfriend was on vacation s/he had a one nightstand. You realize that even if s/he did have sex with this other person, they will probably never see each other again. How upset do you think you would feel if this happened?’” “Emotional jealousy: ‘You suspect that while your boyfriend/girlfriend was on a trip s/he fell in love with someone else. You realize that even if s/he did develop these feelings, s/he will probably never see this other person again. How upset do you think you would feel if this happened?’” They were then asked to answer these questions along a 10-point scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 10 (extremely). What did they find? Consistent with prior research, women reported higher levels of jealousy on both measures, and both men and women scored higher on sexual jealousy than on emotional jealousy. However, men reported greater jealousy in response to sexual infidelity by comparison to emotional infidelity. These findings square with the theory that men and women differ when it comes to the types of jealousy, that is, sexual vs. emotional. From an article by Vinita Mehta, Ph.D., Ed.M. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/head-games/201308/whos-more-jealous-men-or-women
In jealousy there is more self-love than love.
François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld
You have mixed feelings about your worries. On one hand, your worries are bothering you—you can’t sleep, and you can’t get these pessimistic thoughts out of your head. But there is a way that these worries make sense to you. For example, you think:
Maybe I’ll find a solution.
I don’t want to overlook anything.
If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I’ll figure it out.
I don’t want to be surprised.
I want to be responsible.
You have a hard time giving up on your worries because, in a sense, your worries have been working for you.
It’s tough to be productive in your daily life when anxiety and worry are dominating your thoughts. If you’re like many chronic worriers, your anxious thoughts feel uncontrollable. You’ve tried lots of things, from distracting yourself, reasoning with your worries, and trying to think positive, but nothing seems to work. Telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work—at least not for long. You can distract yourself or suppress anxious thoughts for a moment, but you can’t banish them for good. In fact, trying to do so often makes them stronger and more persistent. You can test this out for yourself. Close your eyes and picture a pink elephant. Once you can see the pink elephant in your mind, stop thinking about it. Whatever you do, for the next five minutes, don’t think about pink elephants! “Thought stopping” backfires because it forces you to pay extra attention to the very thought you want to avoid. You always have to be watching for it, and this very emphasis makes it seem even more important. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to control your worry. You just need to try a different approach. This is where the strategy of postponing worrying comes in. Rather than trying to stop or get rid of an anxious thought, give yourself permission to have it, but put off thinking any more about it until later. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm
If I had my life to live over,
I would perhaps have more
actual troubles but I’d have
fewer imaginary ones.
Maturity is being able to move from environmental support to more internal self-support. People who won’t leave a bad marriage because it scares them too much are afraid of independence. Dwelling in a bad marriage is a form of need wrapped up in resentments, which can get very ugly. Remember that drama always obscures the real issues. It is important to learn to stop the drama and learn to soothe yourself. It is too often true that the work and struggle of solving relationship problems is avoided. Ask yourself: What are new ways to give yourself comfort? As difficult as it can be to make new friends reach out and build up your support system. Don’t tally up the rejections while licking your wounds, but instead learn how to be able to be alone. Try going to a bargain matinée or eating lunch by yourself; tolerate the anxiety that this may provoke by knowing no one is really paying much attention to you. Learn what your triggers are for anxiety, the ones that make you lurch into retreat and old patterns of hiding. Remember that transitions are the hardest parts of life and that they must be faced in order to grow. One thing to keep in mind is that people will often get angry as a way to avoid saying goodbye. That is how hard transitions can be. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
In a consumer society
there are inevitably
two kinds of slaves:
the prisoners of addiction
and the prisoners of envy.
A good marriage is best friends with passion. Without the passion, you just have a friendship. For some, being companions is sufficient. But for most, it is not. One of the major casualties of the harried pace of modern marriage is the loss of sexual intimacy. It is too steep a price to pay. While communication is the most frequently mentioned issue in troubled marriages… a diminished sexual relationship at the center of most troubled marriages. Men and women are different. While these differences get debated in some circles, when it comes to sex, they are real and very clear. Unfortunately many couples fail to reflect on these differences and integrate them into an understanding of how to be successful partners. Start with arousal patterns. Men are quick to be aroused and relatively quick to achieve orgasm. The “spike” rises sharply and drops off just as sharply. Men are especially aroused visually; brain research documents this. So looking at other women, at magazines, videos, and online pornography play a much bigger role in the sexual life of men. Women are aroused more slowly and after achieving orgasm, tend to remain at a high plateau of arousal before dropping off. These are very different physiological patterns. No wonder it is a challenge for couples to really experience mutual satisfaction. These differences must not be ignored; instead they must be incorporated into the lovemaking process. It is also important to understand the psychological implications of the different genital anatomies. For men, sexual intercourse is an external act. This has evolutionary implications about the need for prehistoric men to “seed” many partners in order to insure survival of the species. It is part of what allows men to more easily separate sex from love. But, for a woman, to have intercourse means allowing a man to enter her body. That is a deeply personal act and men need to appreciate this. It is why women complain about the need for emotional intimacy before they can be sexually active. Combine this with the difference in arousal patterns and it becomes much easier to understand why it is so important for women to experience meaningful foreplay.
Chains do not hold a marriage together.
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads
which sew people together through the years.