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Bethany - http://elegantwordart2.blogspot.com

Monday, December 10, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

How Woman Unknowingly Start Arguments

The most common way women unknowingly start arguments is by not being direct when they share their feelings. Instead of directly expressing her dislike or disappointment, a woman asks rhetorical questions and unknowingly communicates a message of disapproval. Even though sometimes this is not the message she wants to give it is generally what a man will hear.

For example, when a man is late, a woman may feel "I don't like waiting for you when you are late" or "I was worried that something had happened to you". When he arrives, instead of directly sharing her feelings she askes a rhetorical question like "How could you be so late?" or "What an I supposed to htink when you're so late?" or "Why didn't you call?"

Certainly asking someone "Why didn't you call?" is OK if you are sincerely looking for a valid reason. But when a woman is upset the tone of her voice often reveals that she is not looking for a valid answer but is making the point that there is no acceptable reason for being late.

When a man hears a question like "How could you be so late?" or "Why didn't you call?" he does not hear her feelings but instead hears he disapproval. He feels her intrusive desire to help him be more responsible. He feels attacked and becomes more defensive. She has no idea how painful her disapproval is to him.

Just as women need validation, men need approval. The more a man loves a woman, the more he needs her approval. It is always there in the beginning of a relationship. Either she gives him the message that she approves of him or he feels confident that he can win her approval. In either case the approval is present.

A woman withdrawing that approval is particularly painful to a man. Woman are generally oblivious of how they pull away their approval. And when they do pull it away, they feel very justified in doing so. A reason for this insensitivity is that woman really are unaware of how significant approval is for men.

A woman can, however, learn to disagree with a man's behavior and still approve of who he is. For a man to feel loved he needs her to approve of who he is, even if she disagrees with his behavior. Generally when a woman disagrees with a man's behavior and she wants to change him, she will disapprove of him. Certainly there may be times when she is more approving and less approving of him, but to be disapproving is very painful and hurts him.

Most men are too ashamed to admit how much they need approval. They may go to great lenghts to prove they don't care. But why do they immediatly become cold, distant, and efensive when they lose a woman's approval? Becase not getting what they need hurts.

One of the reasons relationships are so successful in the beginning is that a man is still in a woman's good graces. He is still her knight in shining armor. He receives the blessings of her approval, and as a result, rides high. but as soon as he begins to disappoint her, he falls from grace. He loses her approval. All of a sudden he is cast out into the doghouse.

A man can deal with a woman's disappointment, but when it is expressed with disapproval or rejection he feels wounded by her. Women commonly interrogate a man about his behavior with a disapproving tone. They do this because they think it will teach him a lesson. It does not. It only creates fear and resentment. And gradually he becomes less and less motivated.

To approve of a man is to see the good reasons behind what he does. Even when he is irresponsible or lazy or disrespectful, if she loves him, a woman can find and recognize the goodness within him. To approve is to find the loving intention or the goodness behind the outside behavior.

To treat a man as if he has no good reason for what he does is to hold the approval she so freely gave in the beginning of the relationship. A woman needs to remember that she can still give approval even when she disagrees.

How Men Unknowingly Start Arguments

The most common way men start arguments is by invalidating a woman's feelings or point of fiew. Men don't realize how much they invalidate.

For example, a man may make light of a woman's negative feelings. He might say "Ah, don't worry about it." to another man this phrase would seem friendly. But to a female intimate partner it is insensitive and hurts.

In another example, a man might try to resolve a woman's upset by saying "It's not such a big deal." Then he offers some practical solution to the problem, expecting her to be relieved and happy. He doesn't understand that she feels invalidated and unsupported. She cannot appreciate his solution until he validates he need to be upset.

A very common example is hen a man has done something to upset a women. His instinct is to make her feel better by explaining why she shouldn't be upset. He confidently explains that he has a perfectly good, logical, and rational reason for what he did. He has no idea that this attitude makes her feel as though she has no right to be upset. When he explains himself, the only message she may hear is that he doesn't care about her feelings.

For her to hear his good reasons, she first needs him to hear her good reasons for being upset. He needs to put his explanations on hold and listen with understanding. When he simply starts to care about her feelings she will start to feel supported.

This change in approach takes practice but can be achieved. Generally, when a woman shares feelings of frustration, disappointment, or worry, every cell in a man's body instinctively reacts with a list of explanations and justifications designed to explain away her upset feelings. A man never intends to make matters worse. His tendency to explain away feelings is just Martian instinct.

By understand that his automatic gut reactions in this instance are counterproductive, a man can, however, make this shift. Through a growing awareness and his experiences of what works with a woman, a man can make this change.