Why men scare women and women shame men and how it destroys relationships
My wife left me a message the other day. It said, “Jed, you forgot to lock the door when you went out the other day. Lots of love, Carlin. “I read the note, quickly thought about remembering the other time I forgot to lock the door when I left, and quickly forgot about it.
This morning Carlin asked me about the note. “Why didn’t you reply to the note?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t think it needed an answer,” I said. I could feel my discomfort increase.
“Well, usually when I leave you a note, you at least acknowledge it. I am annoyed that you left the door unlocked, but even more annoyed that you just ignored my note, ”she said.
I was like, “Damn it, what’s the big deal here? Why does she go into my case? “but I bit my tongue and said nothing, although as always I felt like I was being punished by the headmaster. This exchange often leads to a fight or an emotional cool-down where we both withdraw and we are both hurt and misunderstood feel.
But Carlin went on and said something that broke the ice and created a greater bond between us. “It’s really scary for me when I get home and find the door open,” she told me. I could hear the fear in her voice. “I walk around the house and wonder if there might be an intruder inside. It’s really scary. “
As soon as Carlin spoke of her fear, I could feel my shame. “Protecting you and protecting you is one of the most important things in my life,” I said. “If I feel like I’ve let you down, I’m ashamed.” I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts, and continued. “I realize that I often deal with shame by blocking the incident and erasing it from my head. I really understand your fear and will be sure to lock the doors before I leave for the day. ”
It took me a long time to understand the relationship between feelings of shame and the way I react with anger. Like many men, I often hear a woman’s unhappiness as a criticism of him and her criticism as a personal attack.
How men unknowingly frighten the women they love
When a woman tries to talk to her husband about how he creates fear in her, he is usually surprised. “I never hit her,” one man told me. “I can’t imagine why she could possibly be afraid of me.” Here are some ways men can unknowingly cause anxiety:
- Its size and strength
Men tend to be taller and stronger than women. Many women have grown up with men who, because of their size and strength, could threaten and intimidate them. A woman may not even be aware of the fear that exists within her just being around someone who could hurt her if she so wishes.
- His voice
I often hear from women that a man is scared when he raises his voice. He may not even be aware that he is speaking differently than normal. And he can be right. The male voice is quiet and can be threatening without his even being aware of it. Like other male mammals, men are equipped to “roar”. Since we were little boys we have competed with other men and in part demonstrate our superiority by the sound of our voices.
- His eyes
If my wife and I had an argument, even a small one, she would tell me that I would get “pearly eyes”. She said it frightened her more than anything else I would say. For a long time I had no idea what she was talking about. I would insist that my eyes don’t change. I just looked at her and did nothing to startle her with my eyes.
However, when I saw two boxers being weighed in preparation for a fight, I understood what she was talking about. I realized that each boxer was staring at the other, clearly trying to demonstrate their superiority and intimidating their opponent.
- His anger
For most people, anger is an emotion that we know very well. Many of us grew up with angry men. We played with anger as kids and hung around with our buddies. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a woman say to me, “I can’t talk to him without him getting angry.” While the man replies, “I wasn’t angry – I just talked.” Obviously, men often do not realize the level of their anger or how it affects the woman in their life.
How women unknowingly shame the men they love
- Your “size” and “strength”
Most of us do not consider the greatness and power of women to be men to shame. But all men have a physical reminder of being small, vulnerable, and totally dependent on a woman who is tall, strong, and imposing. As an adult, he may seem big and strong, but inside he still feels small and vulnerable. He never forgets that it was a woman who held his life in her hands, whose displeasure could lead to her abandoning him to his death. This creates an inherent sense of shame that men feel when they are with women, but it’s a shame that neither the man nor the woman are aware of it.
2. His need for her.
Anthropologist David Gilmore has studied relationships between men and women in cultures around the world. He recognizes this male ambivalence as the core of the conflict between men and women. In his book Misogyny: The Male Malady, he tells that the male anger toward women stems from his enormous need for her and his shame of being needy.
There are, he tells us, “unconscious desires to return to childhood, longings to suckle the breast, to return to the womb, the strong temptation to leave one’s male autonomy to the almighty mother of the childhood imagination.” Men long for the connection they had or wanted as children, but are deeply ashamed of the need.
- Your power to choose or reject
Men never forget that they have to be chosen by a woman. You have to compete with other men and constantly try to “get the woman he wants”. We all remember the horror of walking across the dance floor and asking the woman we want to dance. It could light up our lives with a “yes” or crush us with rejection. If we won the esteemed wife, our fight would not be over. We had to please her and continue to please her, otherwise we could lose her to someone else.
When we feel that we liked her, we feel excited. When we don’t like it, we feel defeated. “Most women do not understand how much a man likes to please a woman, especially how important it is for the man in their life to please her,” say psychologists Patricia Love and Steven Stosny. “Besides, a man doesn’t just want to please her – he lives to please her.”
- Your cutting words
Men are very susceptible to women’s words. He’ll likely cover his pain because he’s ashamed to admit that what she said hit him to the core.
Patricia Love and Steven Stosny remind us that “Words hurt. Destroy words. Words can kill a relationship. “In their book, How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It,” they describe some of the most common things women say that cause shame in a man, including:
- Correct what he says, “It was last Wednesday, not Thursday.”
- Provide unsolicited advice: “If you just called, you would feel better.”
- Implicit inadequacy: “I wish you had been with me in this workshop (not because he enjoyed it, but because it” corrected some of his shortcomings “).
- Focus on what she didn’t get, not what she did: “It would have been better if you said ‘I’m sorry’ from the start.”
As with fear triggers in men, women are often unaware of the things they say that cause shame in a man. Women are generally much easier with words than men and are more used to verbal tournaments. They often wound without wanting to because they are unaware of the power of their words.
A better understanding of fear and shame can help us break the cycle that harms so many men and women in their relationships. If you would like more information, please visit me on my blog.
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