You’re Not Crazy-He Really Isn’t Listening

Hey Ladies–great news!  It is not just your imagination that your man shuts down when you are having an argument. He really is.  But don’t assume that it’s because he doesn’t care, it’s that he cares too much.  The more stressed he is, the more he pulls away.  This is probably why men have such a hard time when women cry when they’re upset.

In reading Parade Magazine this week, I came across research that both men and women need to know about now.  The brains of men under stress react differently than women’s brains in the same circumstances.  When agitated, men’s ability for social understanding diminishes.  This is especially true if confronted with an angry face.

Women’s brains, on the other hand, become more coordinated under stress.  They are more likely to empathize with someone who is highly emotional than turn away.  According to researcher Mara Mather of the University of Southern California, this is probably a function of hormones.

Women, the historical caretakers, need to stay present in the face of high emotion.  The safety and well being of their children require it.  Men, on the other hand, may need to tune out the high emotions of others to remain in the “tribe”.  They can’t go responding to challenges from others at the drop of a hat.

Because your partner is handling the stress of an argument differently doesn’t mean it’s the “wrong” way.  It just means his wiring is different.  If you want to have a successful outcome, you need to understand what doesn’t work.  Understanding that the more emotional you get, the more distant he becomes is valuable information.

Now that you know, you can try something different.  Go for it!

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