January 5, 2007
January 5, 2007
The New Male Victims
A soldier told me he wanted to return to Iraq because it was easier than dealing with a relationship here. He was serious. Men, such as the soldier, are puzzled when wives reject them. They do not know how to verbalize their own emotions nor how to respond to the feelings of females. Men have hidden sentiments from themselves and frequently fear to allow them into their psyche. The male movie stereotype of drinking, brawling, or gambling is typical of the male’s fight/flight reaction in dealing with excitable situations.
Males are wired differently. The male brain’s left hemisphere deals with facts and connects with situations while the female brain’s right and left hemispheres fire simultaneously as the right side handles an overlay of creativity and emotions. This means that men process and respond differently than females. Men’s experiences and goals are on a opposite tangent with women. Females complain that males do not listen. Men are flummoxed because they hear the facts, but have not been taught how to respond to the emotions. Men have been told to “Handle it” “Tough it out” “Don’t air dirty linen in public”. In other words “Stuff it”.
Furthermore, Roles create confusion for men. They feel they are following the dictates of being a husband and father by providing a decent life style. Caught up in making money they become workaholics on one end of the spectrum (consequently have no time to spend with their wives) and on the other end of the spectrum feel that their work ends with a forty hour work week. Some males still seem to be oblivious to the fact that the modern wife is employed in an additional forty hour schedule plus shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and caring for the kids. So why do I feel that a man is getting the dirty end of the stick? Because of the unspoken inherited messages of females who refuse to tell the male to pick up the mop and scrub the floor, but instead heap abusive language and resentment for trivial issues because (get this) they don’t want to hurt the man’s feelings. However, they wind up divorcing him and if the couple does remain together he is regarded and sometimes even called a “Moron” since he disregards his wife’s overwhelming load. Her love dwindles to zero and sex life is dormant. The entire family disintegrates.
It can be different. Men can learn a skill called Active Listening. It is similar to role playing. Males must learn to mentally put themselves in the ladies shoes and verbalize what feelings she is experiencing. When this happens the female’s rage decreases and often disappears. Most women seems to have almost a natural attribute of Active Listening. For this reason the female can’t conceive why the male is withholding such a sensitive reaction. In her eyes there is only one reason: ”He doesn’t love me anymore.” During courtship, men exhibit Active Listening. When the male stops “listening” the wife believes it is a deliberate rejection. However, scientists find that the oxytocin chemical that the body secretes for women in nurturing situations is usually present in men only during courtship. Nature designed this difference so that the male could hunt for food without being bogged down with responding to the preys death agony. Women, however, need the oxytocin, for bringing up the offspring.
A combination of roles, gender differences, physical differences and culture create disharmony in marriage. Learning Active Listening and other communication skills bridges the gap and puts the marriage into gear again so that it hums along as if it were a courtship again.