I don’t want to talk about it – Men & Women

In this month’s Psychologies magazine there’s a very insightful article by Dr Patricia Love and Dr Steven Stosny (Improve your relationship without talking about it based on their book Why Women talk and Men walk). It highlights some of the differences between men and women when it comes to talking about relationships and feelings. It claims: talking about problems and emotions calms women and makes men feel uncomfortable, because if you approach a man with anxiety or unhappiness, he is likely to feel shame. This is a primal dynamic present in all social animals – your fear stimulates his shame or aggression. And because men have been punished and /or humiliated at an early age for showing vulnerable emotions, they become aggressive to avoid the exceeding pain of shame.
In contrast, when women talk to one another, they make connections by exposing vulnerability and showing care.
(The Individual Effectiveness Profile has a scale – now renamed – Personal Openness and Connectedness).
Love and Stosny remind us that when people feel connected, fear and shame are soothed. That connection is such an important starting point. Compassion, empathy and / or reassurance will help to establish connection, which in turn will bring co-operation, diminishing fear and shame.