I commented on a post by Susie over at Her Mischief Managed and after some additional thoughts, I decided to opine a bit more about how men and women process emotional issues and how to help each other when troubles are upon us.When I say troubled, I do not mean when the car won’t start or our team just lost the big game (although that is trouble…...LOL). It’s those emotional times when we feel helpless and alone. The catalyst may have been not getting a long awaited job, or thinking the love of your life has grown distant and daily communication has become more of a mis-communication. Maybe you believe you let either yourself or someone else down because you failed to be all you promised to be. Or perhaps it is just one of those days when life is getting the better of you and you are feeling blue.
Men and women have physically different brains. Women benefit from estrogen in their brain development. Estrogen builds synaptic connections, which allow the logically oriented left hemisphere to work in unison with the more visually oriented right hemisphere. This is a feature omitted for the male. Males must generally learn to function with their dominant hemisphere in contrast to womens' brains, which utilize both hemispheres simultaneously in their thought processes.Since men only use half their brain at a time they focus on issues one at a time, then formulate a plan. After doing so, they are ready to act (no comments needed here thank you).
Seriously though, for me (and I think most men) when we are emotionally troubled we retreat to "the cave" to be alone with our thoughts. I know that is opposite of what most women want because the women we love try to help by wanting us to “talk about it”. However, that only causes us to go deeper into the cave, because talking is a distraction to men in this condition. We need to be alone in the cave in order to focus 100%. After our thoughts are processed, we exit with a plan of action.
As difficult as it is for a women, the best thing you can do for a man in his cave, is let him be. After he emerges, he will be ready to discuss things, but not before. When he does, listen to his plan, join his team, and be encouraging. Give it a few days before you suggest any improvements or modifications, because he has worked everything out in his head and adding additional ideas will only make him retreat into the cave again. More importantly, by initially accepting his plan, you provide validation, and that will energize him more than you can imagine! However, if/when the plan needs refinement, after a few days, offer your ideas and he will listen.Women, on the other hand, are excellent mental multi-taskers using both halves of their brains simultaneously.
With multiple thoughts swirling around, verbalizing their thoughts is the technique that allows them to organize and prioritize all their ideas into an order that makes sense. It is as though each thought is an individual piece of a puzzle and verbalizing those thoughts is the way to bring the big picture into focus.
The best thing a man can do for a woman is to just listen and not try to fix anything, which is just as difficult for a man to do, as it is for a woman to not talk to him about his thoughts. So while he is in his cave, talk to other girlfriends about your situation. They will totally understand and have the patience to provide the support you need to process your own thoughts and ideas.TWD creates intimacy and oneness, but during times of emotional distress, men and women have to heal before they can resume a semblance of normalcy. Depending upon the situation, that can take varying lengths of time. However, the old cliché “Time Heals All Wounds” really is true.
No matter who you are or where you live, life will occasionally throw us a curve. However, the good news is that in any relationship with a strong foundation, after life’s trials and tribulations are suffered and conquered together, the bonds that bind us only grow stronger.
Blessings to all,