Women have been referred to as the weaker sex, but are they really? In many cases women are physically weaker than men when it comes to brute force. And at work women are still pushing hard to be recognized and given equal pay for equal work. However, behind every man stands the little woman ready to push him off an emotional cliff, an Eve who can get him evicted from Eden, a Delilah ready to cut his hair while he sleeps, or a sorceress ready to turn a prince into a frog. Women sometimes forget that they possess a primal, almost supernatural power. And like any power, it can be used for the good or the bad.
A woman’s disapproval means a man’s shame. This pattern has been set during childhood when all a little boy wants is his mother’s approval. When a mother says “Good boy,” he internalizes, “I love you. You are terrific.” As a grown man, he wants to hear the woman in his life say: “You are a good man,” and “You rock my world.” However, because a woman feels her stress more intensely than a man, worries about everything and loses some of her true identity along the way of becoming a wife and mother, she is likely to lash out at HIM:
- “You never take out the garbage” (which means he never helps around the house and is useless).
- “You shouldn’t have” (which means his present is now invalidated).
- “Not tonight, I’m tired.” (which means “I’m tired of you”).
A woman expects a man to be a mind reader because she fundamentally believes that she married a clone. After all, a clone should know what one is thinking, and what one wants even when she doesn’t even know what she wants. Now when he doesn’t successfully read her mind or even understand her overt hints, she feels frustrated and disappointed. He sits there holding his head in his hands wondering how to make sense of it all. Keep in mind that a man has fewer facial expressions than a woman and when he is listening to a woman, here are the facial cues to be observed: a blank stare, a frown or a squint. These three cues mean that a man is on high alert and trying really hard to understand what a woman is saying. When a woman says, “Everything is fine,” a man gets confused. Clearly everything is not fine because the bedroom door is slammed shut. Then there are those metaphors which make a man tremble with fear because all he hears is a foreign language. Here are some examples:
- “That’s Okay!” Translation: “You will pay big for this!”
- “In my next life I want to come back as your car!” Translation: “I feel neglected.”
- “Do I look old?” Translation:”Do I still attract you or have you lost interest?”
There is a lot of noise in a woman’s world: Multi-tasking, worrying, caregiving and technological distractions. As a result a woman feels depleted and under-accomplished never quite finishing her to-do list. Frustration inevitably boils over to him, her mirror, and all this anger aimed at him is really a woman’s anger about her life or her insecurities. However, he does not know this psychological truism.
Keep in mind that a word said is never dead and that it doesn’t take much to make him feel small and unloved; he becomes easy quarry for another woman who will praise him, like you once did! To ask for help and clearly communicate what you need without making him feel bad try this smarter, more persuasive strategy.
- Use three words to implant an idea in his memory.
- If you must speak in longer sentences, bear in mind that the first and last words are what he will actually hear.
- If you can create a visual image for him, he will retain what you say.
- Give him an incentive plan (I leave this to your imagination).
There is a huge difference between genuine power and manipulative coercion. Take back your power!
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com