Friday, June 15, 2007

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.

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