Home > Gender differences, relationships > Men Have Emotions, But Women Don’t Listen

Men Have Emotions, But Women Don’t Listen


Man bashing“Men aren’t good at expressing emotions.” “Men only talk about sports.” “Men need to be more sensitive.” “Men are all jerks.” We’ve all heard these  platitudes and they’re grade-A nonsense.

There’s an ever rising population of aggro men in this country and women have no one to blame but themselves. Men are hurt, angry and confused- even if they don’t know why- and with good reason.

1) Men have emotions. Women need only adjust how they listen. Men express plenty of feelings; they just do it differently than women and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You know how Eskimos supposedly have 4 dozen words for snow? It’s the same thing for women and feelings. They have over 4 dozen ways to describe happy, angry, sad–4 dozen reasons why they’re mad at their co-worker today.

When a woman says, “men need to be more sensitive and in touch with their emotions,” I hear, “men need to be more like women.” Bad idea. If women want to be with men who can talk about their feelings and daily minutia just like their best girlfriend, then why don’t they just get together with their girlfriend?

2) Men are more solution-focused while women are process-focused. There have been numerous studies (of questionable methodology) asserting that women use more words than men per day. Recent research finds such assertions are unfounded. Men and women actually use about the same number of words a day. It’s not a matter of women being more verbal; generally speaking, we’re equally verbal.

Here’s the difference: women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution. As a collective, women have told men that not talking about feelings as much as they do makes them inadequate. For the record, a glut of feelings without resolution is meaningless.

Society doesn’t tell women, “Hey, instead of blathering about your feelings and problems all day, why don’t you get off your ass and do something about them.” I don’t walk around saying, “I don’t know how to fix my car,” like I’m an abnormal defective. Yet, I’ve heard countless men parrot, “I’m not good at talking about my feelings” in a tone that sounds like they’ve been beaten into submission. Women say this to the men they supposedly love without batting an eyelash and men just swallow it. Can you imagine the female outrage if men did the same thing to women by saying, “You’re not good at being rational.”

How It Happened

Thirty years ago, Psychology became “feminized.” Women entered the field in droves in the late 1970s. Now, women greatly outnumber male mental health professionals, and let’s face it, the men who enter the field may as well have a uterus, that’s how estrogen-ized the field has become.

Thus began the “men need to be more sensitive and get in touch with their feelings” re-education movement. Female mental health “experts” surfaced in the proliferation of daytime talk shows and male characters cried openly on television shows like 30something to get in touch with their “sensitive side.”

The Lie and the Truth

In this confluence of  events, men tried to become the sensitive guy modern women claimed to want, but did they? In reality, most women don’t want men who cry when they watch “Beaches.” In fact, most women don’t want to be with men who would willingly watch Beaches or a Lifetime network movie.

They don’t want men to be unfeeling robots, but want them to be men–strong and reliable, yet capable of tenderness. The result? American men, once stalwart bull mastiffs, turned into angry confused Pekingese drowning in a sea of mixed signals unleashed by women.

I sympathize with men. As a group, they were put into a no-win situation by women who didn’t understand their changing roles or what they wanted.

Accept and embrace the differences. Why swim upstream? It’s a lot easier to appreciate and desire men in all their glories and faults, then to try to make them become “like us.” It makes relationships easier. It makes life easier. It makes it easier to forgive and to love.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

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Man bashing by ArtByChrysti on flickr.

  1. Taras
    November 4, 2009 at 9:58 pm | #1

    I did learn one thing about this very issue, and that is sometimes actions or lack thereof are the best way for a man to get his point across to a woman. I have demonstrated my contempt for more than few women who deserved it by walking away from them and not looking back. Women seem to think men have no emotions, or only emotions such as anger and rage. Nothing can be farther from the truth, and as an earlier poster states we don’t have as many ways to express them as women do. The fact that many women do not listen to us, act as though we are little better than automatons makes dealing with them stressful and frustrating. That is why I am much happier without one in my life other than my relatives and a couple of platonic friends.

    Taras

  2. Chris
    October 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm | #2

    Wow…just wow.
    I’m a Christian, who is engaged in this battle from that standpoint, whereby, I can say, WE are absolutely being taught as Christian men….how to be better Christian women. Its maddening. The cliches about male and female communication (which are perfectly valid as generalities and I will never understand why USUALLY WOMEN feel the need to challenge rules with exceptions)are spoken of, the womens way as filled with virtue and nuance, this is the case from the pulpit as well as in counseling where couples are told “we just need to get the two of you communicating better”..then they proceed to describe the man……in clipped tongue in cheek phrases, and thats used ONLY as a contrast to illustrate how far superior the women are, and theh it goes “man..you must learn to empathize, you must communicate her way, you musnt fix, only empathize”….I asked, OK, so if the house is on fire, we want a fix or a pity party? Well DUH! So, we’ve now established there IS value to the mans way, we now just need to explore that a bit and maybe celebrate that when its appropriate. Frankly, fixing is an act of love that is received as a provocation. I honestly get it, that discussing intangible relational matters often are more about empathy..there IS no fix, just salve on her feelings….I get that….but if we are talking about the fact we have $100 left and $110 in bills, and we didnt buy aunt betty a present for her 70th….frankly, its sad that thats depressing, BUT, it changes NOTHING….we cant buy the friggin gift! And its things like that that magnify this issue because we’d be criticixed there for not wallowing in the empathy instead of saying OK…decided…..next….

    As you say, to an extent this morass of unreconciled emotions, if she wishes to live in that…I can jump in, and jump back out…but i aint changin my address, know what I mean?

  3. jham123
    September 23, 2009 at 7:22 am | #3

    My wife exhibits “0″ empathy for me. It is never her fault for just about anything.

    My problem is that I am an Angry person (her words)

    Her problem is that she has anxiety and fear due to me….

    So my problem is my problem and her problem is my problem yet our problems are 50/50??

    How does that work exactly?

    Facts are irrelevant to her, the only thing that matters is her feelings.

    The fact that all the things she has blamed me for in our life together have really worked to invalidate me as a Man.

    But who cares if that hurts me?? “We” are only concerned with how disappointed she was when she realized she married a 28 year old kid that had to work for a living and the mansion with a white picket fence would have to be put on hold for a few years…er….ah…decades.

  4. Jon
    September 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm | #4

    I agree on this. But I am facing a huge uphill struggle.
    I openly share my feelings with my woman, but she is the one avoiding the talking. Every time I mention something, she avoids it like the plague, just gets annoyed and she is the one giving one-word replies. I have tried to exercise a “does this really matter” approach, but I feel like I am cutting everything out, and I am not myself anymore if I cannot say anything to her. You are right, she has no problem expressing her frustrations with me, and she does it quite eloquently and expects me to get off my ass and shift, however when I point things out to her, she runs away from it saying that she does not like fighting, when all she needs to do is listen and acknowledge my point of view. She does not have any problems telling me to put my socks away and expects me to do it, but if I tell her to turn off the monitor after she turned off the PC (this is just an easy example), she does not have any time to listen, for example. I have tried the harsh tone, the nice tone, I have told her to sit down and talk about it, I have tried to speak to her and explain my rationale behind it, I have tried to draw comparisons between the two scenarios, nothing seems to get to a resolution. All I always get is a scoff and she runs away to do something else, saying that she does not need another argument. What is it I am doing wrong?

    • shrink4men
      September 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm | #5

      Hi Jon,

      The only feelings your wife seems interested in are her own. Therefore, you’re in a no-win situation. If you express feelings that differ than hers or tell her something she doesn’t want to hear, you’re met with derision or ignored. If you don’t express how you feel, you’re accused of not communicating. It’s really quite maddening.

      The question is, can she learn how to have two-way communication or does her behavior and seeming lack of empathy indicate a deeper set of issues? Have you sought couples counseling? How does she treat you generally speaking?

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

      • rick m
        September 18, 2009 at 2:44 am | #6

        I have to tell you we tried 3 different female couple counsellors and they didn’t seem to interested in my feelings as well until we tried an imago coach that worked very well.The Imago coach was a male and he was interested in both of us sharing feleings.The female counsellors really seemed to think men’s feeling didn’t matter.In fact when I did express my feelings they were shot down.Very frustrating.My wife noticed this as well.We are both very grateful to the Imago coach.

  5. rick m
    September 4, 2009 at 10:17 pm | #7

    I totally agree.One of the greatest needs for both genders is to be understood.It’s the single most healing thing about support groups.Men don’t go to support groups to have it fixed.They want to be heard.The thing that interfers withbthis process is when people not only try to fix,but also analize,criticize,judge etc.Stephen Covey says it best.People want to be understood.

  6. Troy
    September 2, 2009 at 4:21 am | #8

    Thank you! Finally, thank you, thank you, thank you… And lastly, THANK YOU!!!!

    I am bookmarking this, right now.

    • shrink4men
      September 5, 2009 at 7:13 pm | #9

      You’re welcome, Troy.

  7. Carrie
    July 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm | #10

    What a great article.

    I think that your analysis is wonderfully accurate. I have found that many of my female friends tend to get lumped into this category of women that feel that they need to be adversarial in their relationships with their significant others. In an age where the focus should be sliding to the quality of of a person and their overall being rather than being arbitrarily assigned gender roles, there are still some steadfast supporters of “traditional” roles. These women don’t want to be treated with equality, they want to be revered and worshiped by the men in their lives, with no conscious effort given to the damage it may cause to their partner. These are the same women that sigh and say “men” as if they were a subspecies that isn’t living up to expectation. Its as if these women want a “man” to do menial labors and bring home the money and be the protector and all the traditional “male” roles but in the same turn also want them to “express” and “nurture” within the opposite role. But if you were to suggest that they adopt some cross-gender activities they will also be the first to state that they are women and shouldn’t have to do that. It sends the message “you will never be what I want you to be, but try try try, so i can dismiss you”.

    I can understand wanting an equal footing, of course, but you should not expect anymore than what you give into a relationship. Yes, men and women do have some differing ways to deal with emotions and communication, but that should be a great way to analyze how each person deals with life and find a common ground. With equal effort you get equal result.

    I know that i can be guilty of doing some of these things when in a relationship myself. I tend to get upset about things and then get stuck there for a while. My process is to vent it out so I can see what the problem is and then i can plan on how to fix it. My boyfriend is “Mr. Fix-It” and feels the need to step in and find the solution. It has been a challenge for him to understand that I don’t need him to fix it for me, although I appreciate his trying, but that I need to work through it to an objective point and then move through it. But rather than saying “you don’t understand” or “let me do it myself” or “quit smothering me” I should say something like “Thank you for trying to help me through this, but I need to figure it out on my own and i will get back to you when I’m ready”. Often this is not the way it goes down, but afterward the dialogue needs to happen so that the other person does not feel like they are worthless in the situation. I try to do this because, his feelings are just as valid as mine.

    Overall, people in general need to work on how they deal with emotions, regardless of gender, but also within gender to understand and make it easier to get along…now if only the world would adopt this….

    • shrink4men
      July 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm | #11

      It’s refreshing to read your comment, Carrie. Thank you!

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

      • Jamie
        January 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm | #12

        carrie sounds awesome, an earthy, perceptive, genuinely fair woman, am so tired of the other type, many men I have spoken to these days , feel the same way about women

  8. CK
    July 4, 2009 at 6:36 am | #13

    This is mostly true, however, I prefer for you to use the term “generally”. This is partially culturally biased. There are men who just want to ‘whine’ like women, then there are women who search for solutions. Usually when I talk with people, as a woman, I always want to help them solve their problems, that’s my way of caring. I tend to associate with men more because like me, most of them tend to actually solve the problem instead of whining. Yet there have been enough guys who don’t want solutions, but just a good whine. I’ll be honest, I find that very frustrating.

    • shrink4men
      July 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm | #14

      I see your point CK. In case it wasn’t clear in my writing, I don’t believe all women are like like this nor do I believe men are all exactly alike.

      Some men can become just as lost in their feelings and some women are very logical and understand that men have feelings, too. What I’m trying to point out, perhaps poorly, is that men have emotions and express them. It may not be in a way that their girlfriends or wives appreciate (i.e., talking about their feelings in exactly the same way). When women come down on their boyfriends or husbands for not talking about their feelings in “the right way,” it only serves to:

      1. invalidate their feelings (“Your feelings are wrong.”)
      2. send mixed signals (“You never talk about your feelings! Ok, you told me how you feel, but that’s not how I wanted you to do it!”)
      3. ensure that they don’t try to talk about their feelings in the future

      Thanks for reading and posting, CK.

      • Jamie
        January 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm | #15

        ck, its all energy dynamics of how much yang and yin each soul is working , in that particular relationship, most men I know cannot bare overbearing, controlling women just like many women cannot bear this in men, some men I know cannot bear, wilting flower woman, just like some women cannot bear, the sensitive man

        it always come back to energy, yin yang and balance, in the energy centres, but it seems more of an issue than ever before as most awaken more in consciousness to soul

  9. c
    June 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm | #16

    I have never been “clingy, needy, demanding, nagging, selfish or casually cruel” either. In fact I am quite independent, having been on my own from age 16, not materialistic at all, sympathetic, empathetic and even if I do get mad, I am always sorry if I say mean things. I don’t agree with insulting or name-calling from me or anyone. I am strong enough to know what is acceptable to me or not, and what amounts to verbal abuse is simply not right. I don’t want anymore callouses on my soul, I don’t want someone I love talking to me with an obvious lack of respect.

    After we broke up (I left him because of his alcohol abuse and subsequent bad behaviour), my ex chose to focus on hating me and my actions instead of seeing that his own behaviour ultimately led to our demise. OK, fine. After getting over the shock that he could dare to say anything was wrong with me, I did take a closer look at my own actions.

    Since then, and while talking to a therapist, I have realised a lot of things about my actions that were not right. In other words, I did not give his emotions the same importance as mine, so that I could justify doing things I know were not right. I know that I would have been devastated if he did some of those things to me, and I would have left him on principle. But instead I did them anyway because I felt his emotions were somehow inferior to mine and he would not feel the sort of pain that I would have. Sounds wonderfully empathetic, hey? The specific story is that I was trying to get out of another relationship while starting one with him, and I constantly placed the feelings of me and the other person before his. So, in a situation where I would have to choose between hurting the ex or him, I would feel so bad that I would waffle and either disappear totally from everyone or force him to accept another compromise.

    In a way, I guess I felt that he would be a man no matter what I did, so why bother to care that deeply about how he felt? In my mind, a man is not to be trusted, he is probably sleeping with someone else anyway, he will leave when he wants, he will never respect you as a woman, he will say mean things and hurt your feelings and not care if you cry. In fact, you will prove his point that you are weak if you cry. So, it really doesn’t make sense to go thru all this caring about his feelings, if he will only do what he wants anyway. I needed so much to protect my own feelings that I put his on a back burner, not realising that I was reading him wrong, that I was dragging him thru the coals and in the end hurting everyone. If I had from the start assigned the same significance to his emotions, needs and wants as I had to mine, I would have made much different decisions. Not to say it would have meant happily ever after, but at least I would not be guilty of hurting yet another person I love.

    Ah well, it is past now. I don’t agree either with saying “poor boy” to all the men in the world but my ex is a prime example of what happens when a mother does not show affection to her son. I can see now that I made many mistakes in underestimating the male emotional spectrum, in this relationship and in others. He wanted and craved all the love that I have to give, but I was afraid to give it at first because I did not believe or trust how deeply he felt, he grew resentful, things went to hell and now I am left unrequited but not there by choice. The power of words is frequently underestimated.

  10. ross
    June 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm | #17

    As a man I approve of this post.

  11. Clark DeNoble
    June 24, 2009 at 11:26 am | #18

    I totally agree with the piece except the reference to Pekingese being angery and confused. They do get angry but they charge head long into the problem no matter what the odds of success, sometimes foolishly. Sounds like a man to me!

    • shrink4men
      June 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm | #19

      I will cede to the Pekingese expert. I’ve always been a pug person. Pugs do the same thing, except that they spray a lot of snot at whatever and whomever crosses their paths. Adorable.

  12. thom
    June 24, 2009 at 4:49 am | #20

    I have never been raped or physically violated.

    I have never been discriminated against because of my race.

    I do not have any debilitating physical ailments or mental impediments.

    I am neither rich nor poor so I don’t need welfare or have “more money or more problems”.

    I was brought up by a nuclear family so I am unfamiliar with divorce (until I just went through a 2 year ordeal).

    I have never experienced any of the above scenarios so I listen…and I am sympathetic and listen when people share their thoughts, experiences, and pain.

    But

    I was a victim of vile, malicious, conscious and deliberate abuse by the person that was supposed to love me the most – my wife.

    I was a victim…key word was…and hearing other people tales of pain and awakening has given me strength to move on and move past. Hearing what Dr T shares illuminates my missteps and helps to provide insight into why and how and gives me more tools to heal myself and move on…

    If you have never experienced such hurtful, abrasive, disgusting, malicious treatment then you should probably listen and learn something here. If you are upset because you exhibit these characteristics maybe you should take inventory on your life/relationships and do something to facilitate a positive change. If you are taking up for all women there is no need to…I love women and many of the people that post here feel the same way…we are just learning to love ourselves again by making sense of the messes we find ourselves entangled in.

    This site isn’t to bash women or to hail men as almighty…it’s real, practical, useful, no bullshit advice for men dealing with NPD/BPD personality disordered individuals. Women have their Cosmo, Oprah, and their girlfriends, sisters, mothers, etc., but men don’t really have much in the way of support…In my experiences men and their feelings and contributions are perpetually taken for granted. We are supposed to be strong and provide for our family, but if we ask our wife (if they are stay at home moms) to clean the house, watch the kids, and have dinner ready when we get home then we are sexist or misogynist pigs. I offered to stay at home, cook, clean, and watch our newborn and stop teaching so she could make more money as a realtor…but she called me stupid and ridiculous.

    I tried be an active father by helping with all bath times, story times, getting up at nights to feed our child, changing diapers, etc…but my wife took that as an excuse that she was allowed to stop being a parent when I got home. I took on additional duties at work to make ends meet since she refused to work (even at 2 months pregnant). I worked after school clubs and summer school. I would get up at 7 am every day and got home around 6pm and she would make some comment that I was working late “because I was cheating on her or didn’t want to be around her”. I would walk in and she would hand the baby to me and go to yoga or to her sisters’ house for 2 hrs. On the weekends she expected me to get up on both Saturdays/Sundays at 7am to care for the baby so she could sleep in. When I suggested that I sleep in on Saturday and she sleep in on Sunday so we both could recover a bit she said “I get up 5 days a week with our child the least you could do is get up 2 days with our child”. I agreed and then I said Ok – I’ll get up and watch the baby – you go to work for 11 hours on the weekend like I do 5 days a week. She accused me of being a bad communicator and then the insults about me “only being a teacher and not having enough money” or being a “failure that couldn’t provide for his family” commenced. She would lay in bed and let the baby cry until I relented and got up to watch her until my wife got up 3 hours later only to criticize me for playing too loud with our daughter “on purpose” so she couldn’t get any good sleep.

    I am a male. I suggested counseling…I begged her to go to the 20 sessions we attended. I am the communicator in our relationship (I worked in a bar for 7 years, and now I am starting my 7th year as a 6th grade teacher). All of my jobs/careers depended primarily on the clarity of my discussions/instructions. And if you have ever been in a middle school it is necessary to explain something 6 times in 6 different ways so the students understand.

    The whole time we were there she lied and told half-truths…we would leave and she would berate me for “telling on her” or “airing dirty laundry”…

    Before we were married she was an independent, successful realtor. She always said “I can take care of myself” and I don’t need a man. I can do everything on my own”. I was drawn to her apparent strength and independence…but it was a lie – a façade.

    She lived by a double standard continually and it was easy for her to fall back to the “we just need to learn how to communicate” excuse. It enabled her to never be held accountable for her atrocious behaviors…and worst of all it included me in the problem – the problem being she has a clinically diagnosed personality disorder in which the psychologist wrote, “X is incapable of sustaining interpersonal relationships”. She needed to fix her problems first so she could actually hear what I was saying/asking.

    Here’s a guy reference…The Detroit Lions (football team) finished 0-16 last time. They didn’t win a game. They were hands down the worst team in the league. Yet they have one of the best wide receivers in the game (Calvin Johnson). He played his ass off, knew his routes, finished among the league leaders in TDs and yardage. But he was part of that team – a team that will be considered one of the worst teams in history. He doesn’t need to do much in the way of improvement – but he works hard so he will get better as better players are brought in. The rest of the team does need to get better so they have a chance of succeeding.

    The point I am trying to make is that I am pretty well grounded, have many friends, have a stable job, hold multiple degrees, have political aspirations, CAN COMMUNICATE and all the while I am still trying to improve myself through counseling, these forums, and self reflection while my ex blames, denies, and disregards advice from both the custody evaluator and psychologist that she needs to attend counseling on a regular basis…we were a horrible team, not due to us equally – but her primarily. I played a role in all the dysfunction but not to the extent that she did and continues to do so.

    Her receiver is broken…my end works fine. I expressed my thoughts calmly, concisely, and actively listened to her wants/needs. She made it a game…making me guess what was wrong, what she needed, what I was supposed to do.

    Some examples-

    After I was banished to the guest room for coming home 20 minutes late one night I asked her what she wanted…Her reply…”That’s for you to figure out. If I tell you and you do it just because I ask then it’s not sincere and you don’t really mean it”.

    I said-

    “I would love to hear from you while I am at work, could you please write me an email or send me a text from time to time. It really makes me happy when you do that”.

    Her reply-

    “I am not going to be obligated to write to you or call you. Now that you asked me to do that I am not going to write you any more emails/texts.”

    I said after she slapped my face-

    “I would appreciate if you wouldn’t hit my face again. A guy blindsided me once and broke my nose and anther girlfriend slapped me and scratched my eye with her ring. I promise never to hit you or touch your face and I ask that you do the same”

    Her reply-

    “I am not those people. I didn’t do that to you. Now that you asked me to stop I want to do it more.”

    About 5 months after the birth of our daughter we had a talk. I asked that she accomplish one task per day so we didn’t need to spend all Saturday and Sunday running errands instead of having fun. I also asked that even if she wasn’t ready for sex I would still like to have physical intimacy. I also suggested that we get out of the house and have fun instead of sitting around all the time. I got an email from her father a few days later… My ex told him that I said that she was lazy and didn’t do anything around the house. She said I called her no fun and that she was no longer attractive to me. He went as far as suggesting if I didn’t want to be a father and loving husband he would take care of them…

    After every fight no matter how trivial it was it always ended in threats of divorce, threats of taking my child away, belittling me, my family, my friends, and my profession…and the phrase “You are not the man I thought you were”.

    I was so confused and stressed out I became very sick. My thyroid stopped working, and I started losing hair and skin pigment all over my body. My counselor said I had PTSD and I couldn’t sleep as I tried over and over to unravel her illogical demands and actions…

    She has the diagnosed problem yet refuses to do anything about it. I am not bitter as I played a role in that relationship and I am beginning to understand why I did, I just want my daughter to grow up happy and healthy. Having a woman (my ex) be her primary influence – a woman who “doesn’t believe in monogamy”, a woman that thinks “all men are scum”, a woman that thinks that “men are secondary to the wants and needs of women”, a woman that sleeps with married men, a woman whose entire family is on welfare, is bankrupt, who have been party to four divorces, three of which saw the mother relocate children to different states away from fathers, a woman who lied to the courts, to evaluators, and to the judge shouldn’t be the primary caregiver to a small, innocent, impressionable child.

    I do have feelings and I express them. I am also a mans man – I like football, beer, going the gym, playing golf and poker, and being a guy. I do not feel one sex is above the other.

    I just feel that if anyone is going to be an abusive ass then they should be held accountable for their actions – man, woman, or child.

    Dr T

    Once again – thank you for this amazing website. I am getting stronger each and every day.

    Sorry to ramble…

    T

    • shrink4men
      June 24, 2009 at 5:03 am | #21

      Wow. Thanks, Thom. I’m touched and the web equivalent of speechless.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

    • Snayo
      June 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm | #22

      Congratulations on your divorce.

    • LosingMyself
      October 8, 2009 at 7:01 pm | #23

      Wow, I’m glad you got out of that relationship. As I read posts by men such as yourself, I always seem to be able to relate to the men here in one way or another.

      The big glaring issue I can relate to with your articles is when you wrote that your wife said “You are not the man I thought you were”.

      That really struck a chord with me because I have heard that put down so many times. And I cringe a little, and try to remember that I am a better man than she ever thought I was.

      But sometimes repetition makes it hard to hold onto your self-image, especially when someone is tearing it down on a regular basis.

      Good luck to you!

      • Mike91163
        October 8, 2009 at 8:51 pm | #24

        Variations on a theme:

        “You’re not the same man I married”

        “You’re not the person I fell in love with”

        “Why can’t you be the husband you used to be”

        Etc., etc. ad nauseam…

        Umm…NO SHIT! That once-proud, happy, smiling guy got beaten into submission by YOU! And YOU are now left with the results of your handiwork: A sullen, emotionless, miserable excuse for a “man”. But fear not; once I escape your clutches, I will return to that man’s man, armed with the experience and knowledge to avoid making the same mistake again…can I get a Hallelujah!!

      • LosingMyself
        October 8, 2009 at 8:52 pm | #25

        Hallelujah Mike, and amen!

  13. June 24, 2009 at 3:35 am | #26

    any relationship type arrangement can work with even just a degree of understanding!!!. as a male, perfectly straight, with just a little tolerance for how irationally women think, i can easily relate to them when they pour their depressive hearts out, and be man when they need/ want a man. if you listen to the mode of thinking not the literal thoughts, it becomes easy to interperate the line of thought….. what may seem ration to women definately wouldnt to men, most of the time, but take a good pinch of salt, ask what the root of the issue is and it can be solved, usually more easily than not! with just a little male logic. not to be offensive to women this isnt what im saying, but it doesnt seem logical to a man how a women thinks, but simplify the complex to the underlying problem, make is sound as if its complicated to the wife/ gf, and solve the problem… easy… it really is!.. trust me, if 2 years at uni tought me anything, this is it.!,,,.

  14. A
    June 23, 2009 at 10:47 pm | #27

    Parts of your article certainly sound familiar. It used to annoy me to no end that my wife would complain or even rant about her problems while making no particular effort to resolve them. Fortunately, she never got upset about our different ways of expressing emotion.

    What we eventually did was simply to talk it over and agree to disagree. “I don’t want solutions, I just want to whine about how much my day sucked,” she might say. “Stop telling me ways I could make it better.” There’s nothing wrong with that, if that is how you want to deal with the frustrations you meet. What I used to do was see her ranting as a challenge to improve her life. Sometimes, people just need to vent.

    It seems to me that a lot of the problems people have in their relationships stems from an unwillingness to acknowledge that each party has their own way of dealing with life. Just because she wants eat ice cream on the couch and watch the Life Channel and he wants to shoot things in Call of Duty 4 doesn’t mean that you aren’t compatible.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 10:53 pm | #28

      My point exactly, A. Just because your partner handles emotions and life differently than you doesn’t make them wrong. The trick is to find a way to accept, not just tolerate these difference and respect rather than belittle them.

      Thanks for commenting.

  15. sam
    June 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm | #29

    I think there was a point in the past when men needed some bashing. We needed to realize that the totalitarian methods so accepted when we were protectors and hunters were simply no longer applicable.

    While we still protect (some of us) the need for that protection has diminished and we are simply fulfilling our genetic responsibility now. In other words, we are fulfilling our own needs by living up to this mark. Being true to our nature is part of being a man and we should not expect Women to be willing to endure servitude to get it. That someone owes us something for it is BS (sorry), the desire to do so is the mark of a man and a genetic bias we possess.

    We hunt now by going to work and providing for our families. But so do our wives and partners. Are we better because statistically we make a little more money? I would suggest that is a consequence of history and not attributable to any unique quality of men. So, we don’t deserve any kudo’s for that either. We are doing what brings us satisfaction by providing for our families in a fashion commensurate with our abilities.

    We don’t possess the emotional range that women do. We are in fact a little shallow there. I envy women on this one, there are times when I wish I could just let it all out. What a cleansing experience that must be. But we don’t. We were taught not to, and we respect our fathers who taught us not to. It also makes us feel vulnerable. Not a good thing for the male ego.

    The idea of men getting in touch with their feelings is almost laughable. We tried it, it didn’t work for us, we moved on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking we don’t have them. Feelings crush us in ways women would rarely understand. We internalize them and they can destroy us (literally). Remember, we don’t like to cry – so what the hell are we supposed to do with them? We try to ignore them, think of something else and move on. Its the only thing we know.

    I can assure you there are many many stalwart bulls remaining. Unfortunately, they are not a part of pop culture anymore. But they are there. And the ironic part is… We absolutely love women. What did God infest us with :) ?? We can’t live without you.

    Just my $.002 Tara. I guess you hit a nerve. Thanks for our gender’s fifteen minutes of recognition.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm | #30

      Thanks, Sam. You’re right. I think I hit upon a nerve. Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful and well-considered comment. It adds a lot to the dialogue.

      At one time, men needed a little “bashing,” but somewhere along the way, bashing turned into “bludgeoning” and gender relations swung to the opposite extreme. Here’s a link to a great article that explains this: Truth, Damned Truth and Statistics.

      True, many men don’t have the same emotional outlets as women. Then again, much of the venting women engage in with their girlfriends amounts to nothing more than a repetitive loop that accomplishes nothing, but to keep their bad feelings alive without reaching a resolution or solution that allows them to move on. Typically, men don’t discuss their emotions, but they’re there, right at the surface, if you know what to look for. However, it’s true, most men would rather fast forward through the processing emotions part and get right to the solution.

      I don’t know which is more unhealthy: a perpetual bitchfest in which women validate their hurt feelings without letting go of them or bottling it all up. Somewhere in the middle lies the best way.

  16. Snayo
    June 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm | #31

    That was a wonderfully hateful article. Instead of belittling the ways that women express themselves, and saying “poor boy” to all the men in the world, perhaps you should be focusing on how to have couples communicate their feelings to each other in a way that they both feel understood. If she is saying “you need to communicate more”, she has a need that is not being met. If men really do have feelings (of course they do) it is his part in a strong relationship to attempt to understand what that need is. That’s healthy. Saying that women (i would say people, but then I’m not blatantly anti-feminist and mysogynistic) oh, my god I just realized that you’re a woman, usually stuff this ignorant and complacent is written by bitter men whose wifes just left them for lesbians. I’m always shocked when women who are obviously benefitting from the labour of stronger women have this blatant attitude of ignorance for that work. If women had just “accepted and embraced the differences” you wouldn’t be able to vote, and you certainly wouldn’t be a “shrink for men”. your article was very hostile. You really need to stop sympathizing with men and work on why you hate women so much.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm | #32

      Interesting perspective. However, it’s difficult, if not completely off-putting, to try to communicate with a wife or a girlfriend who continuously tells you that the way you communicate is “wrong” and then engages in personal attacks and name calling. Kind of like you just did. Your response doesn’t encourage me to want to have a dialogue with you; my initial impulse is to ignore you and go about my business, which I imagine is how many men feel when they’re on the receiving end of insults and being told how “wrong” they are.

      • Snayo
        June 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm | #33

        funny, my first response was to ignore your article…That you would ask women to adjust the way they listen to men in the same breath that you condemn the way women comunicate…it boggles the mind. Thirty years of learning that women are not a sub species and that men need to be responsible for their emotions and their effect on other people, especially those they love, has confused the male population? Sometimes I’m a bit groggy when I wake up but I certainly don’t go back to sleep. And I stand by my “name calling”, but hey I just call it like I see it. But maybe I’m just one of “those” women.

        shrink4men on June 24, 2009 at 7:25pm Said:

        If you say so, Snayo.

        • shrink4men
          June 24, 2009 at 7:31 pm | #34

          If you say so, Snayo.

          • Catherine Tibaaga
            June 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm | #35

            I like what you have to say. I used to think the same way you do but I think for me it stemmed from my lack of appreciation for women. The truth is, communication is communication. I still give it to women when it comes to this because if something is bothering you, speak up about it. Part of intimacy is not always have to have a solution to everyone’s problem. The purpose is to empathize and understand where that person is coming from. Although I see what you are saying, women and men are responsible for communicating their needs and wants directly in a respectful manner. I see it as if men are having trouble communicating their feelings, then perhaps they could learn how to be assertive verbally. If women do not seek solutions to their problems, then they could benefit from learning how to emotionally detach. I do think that you were a bit harsh with women and I sense some anger towards women in the tone of the article.

            • shrink4men
              June 25, 2009 at 8:32 pm | #36

              Hi Catherine,

              Thanks for reading and posting such a thoughtful comment. I agree that women and men are equally responsible for working on effective communication in a relationship.

              I am frustrated with a certain group of women who man bash and dismiss men as being non-communicative (among other things) even when there’s no factual basis for it in many cases. They seem to do this reflexively. And when a man does tell this kind of woman how he feels, she gets upset and criticizes him for the way he feels or how he expressed it because it’s not how she would do it or it isn’t what she wants to hear. I’m frustrated and angry because it’s exactly these attitudes/behaviors that cause a lot of damage and pain—to both parties and impacts future relationships long after theirs has ended.

              So, perhaps men should be more explicit with how they state their feelings. Although, I’ve conducted couples counseling in which I hear the man state his feelings quite clearly and his wife/girlfriend still can’t or won’t hear him or, worse yet, tells him his feelings are wrong thereby denying him the right to his own feelings.

              I’m not taking to task all of womankind in this post, but the women who treat men like they’re unfeeling, emotionally clumsy robots, when, in many instances, it’s actually the other way around.

              I hope this clarifies things a bit.

              Dr Tara

        • Bm
          January 17, 2010 at 1:35 am | #37

          “funny, my first response was to ignore your article…”

          No, it wasn’t. You had every intent to respond because you just couldn’t sit still and take things lying down, especially when somebody else might actually think that you’re wrong about your behavior and choices. If anything, Dr. Tara shouldn’t of wasted her time responding to YOU, but she did you a favor.

          “That you would ask women to adjust the way they listen to men in the same breath that you condemn the way women comunicate…”

          I don’t see the problem. Women like you certainly do need some “adjusting” because you definitely don’t listen when somebody is trying to reason with you and you definitely don’t communicate in a way that normal people can understand you. Particularly men. All you care about is your own selfish feelings and about how everything affects you. You don’t care about how your man feels and if he does express his feelings, you just see him as being weak. You just want somebody to sit there and listen to you gripe about your petty problems and reassure you about how right you are and how special you are.

          “Thirty years of learning that women are not a sub species”

          Here we go with women like you thinking that they’re victims and that they’re “oppressed”. Society (thanks to feminism) has been dogging out men and treating them as second-class citizens for the past FORTY years. Men are viewed as potential rapists and violent abusers, portrayed as buffoons in the media; are robbed of their assets in corrupt, anti-male, divorce courts; denied the right to see their children, passed over for jobs; required to register for the draft, and are more than likely to be homeless. Since, when have women ever been seen as sub-species. For centuries, women have been seen as special to the point that their lives are put ahead of men while men give their lives to protect them. Women are more privileged than men, so this whole “women are sub-species” notion is nothing, but feminist propaganda bs.

          “men need to be responsible for their emotions and their effect on other people,”

          You mean the way women are “responsible” for their emotions and how theirs effect others. Please. Most women can’t control their emotions and they certainly don’t try to and they certainly don’t accept responsibility nor accountability for their actions. Women generally behave like children and blame men for their mistakes. They think that can do no wrong and are excused from paying the consequences. Women continue to act out because men as well as other women don’t call them out on their behavior.

          “Sometimes I’m a bit groggy when I wake up but I certainly don’t go back to sleep.”

          What do you mean “wake up”? You haven’t been awake at all. You have been stuck in the coma of ignorance for years.

          “And I stand by my “name calling”,”

          Of course because that is all that ignorant women like you typically do when faced with logic, facts, and common sense. You use shaming tactics (you’re just bitter, you’re misogynistic, etc) and ad hominem attacks while insulting the author because you can’t refute the points that were made. It’s interesting that the author that you were attacking is a woman herself. When you have women pointing out the faults of other women, that really says something about how feminism has screwed up relationships in today’s society and has made most western women a problem to be around.

          “but hey I just call it like I see it.”

          You couldn’t call that truck that was about to run you over as you were blindly crossing the street in rush hour traffic. You couldn’t call 911 if your child was having a seizure because you were too busy getting your nails done. So, how exactly could you “call it like I see it” when your head is so far up your rear and are too delusional to face reality?

          “But maybe I’m just one of “those” women.”

          You certainly are and there is no maybes about it.

          You mentioned in your previous post that Dr. Tara (before you found out she was a woman) was bitter because some woman left her to be a lesbian which is nothing, but misandric, shaming, garbage anyway.

      • Sigma
        June 24, 2009 at 9:50 pm | #38

        Hear, hear.

        We’re all people, but when we aim our lasers at a syndrome, and then instead of attaching the word ‘people’ to it, we choose a gender instead, we perhaps need to see a ‘shrink’ ourselves.

      • jham123
        September 23, 2009 at 6:40 am | #39

        Tara, I love how you left her post up for me to laugh at……

        Good show….good show indeed.

        I was beginning to wonder if you were going to give an example of what you were trying to communicate……DOH!…Snayo showed up and took care of that issue.

    • metalman
      December 28, 2009 at 1:43 am | #40

      ‘Wonderfully hatefull?’

      I can see that the author made the unfotgiveable mistake of actually CRITICIZING women. How dare she!! Doesn’t she know that men are responsible for everything bad?

      Lot’s people claim to be open-minded, until you disagree with them. Sounds like Snayo is one of those people.

      Of course, what do I know? I’m jusrt a hateful mysoginist.

  17. Serenity
    June 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm | #41

    I whole-heartedly agree with the premise of this article. I have grown up seeing so many women fail relationships cause they don’t want their men to be men.

    I must be wired a little different as I seem to be able to be one of the guys I see a problem I find a solution I also can dish the insults.

    I have also found that I have a hard time finding guys that will ask me out cause I am not a needy emotional girl. I think its a little intimidating for a man to date someone who is not fulfilling that primal helpless woman role. Even though in the end men say that women are too needy and emotional they seem to avoid dating the independent, logical ones.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm | #42

      Hi Serenity,

      Oftentimes, it seems as if both men and women make relationship choices that are incongruous with their stated values and desires, which usually equated to a doomed relationship. Many people are stuck in an unhealthy relationship pattern, making the same mistakes over and over again. I think the key is to be very clear about what you want in a partner and then make better choices.

  18. me
    June 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm | #43

    “women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution…. For the record, a glut of feelings without resolution is meaningless. ”

    Hmmm,… I’d say raising the kids they BOTH made while working 2 jobs after he leaves & forgets he ever had a family (or stays & does next to nothing) makes a hell of a lot of women chock FULL of resolution.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm | #44

      My point has always been that men and women are both equally capable of being jerks. Looks like you may have been married to one of the male persuasion.

      • cw
        June 24, 2009 at 8:47 pm | #45

        Exactly! I have been trying to make this point for a long time. Too often people (whether male or female) will want to believe that one gender is more guilty than the other for whatever reason. True, the sexes are different of course, but equally capable of behaving badly in a relationship or whatever other situation.

    • James
      April 23, 2010 at 2:07 am | #46

      Yeah, well, my mom left my dad, so we can go tit for tat there. Doesn’t change anything.

  19. g
    June 23, 2009 at 9:50 pm | #47

    I like the last paragraph, but doesn’t the rest of the piece just bash women? I’m sorry, but I don’t see how that’s helping.

    • shrink4men
      June 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm | #48

      This piece is not anti-woman; it’s pro-masculinity. I’m taking a specific group of women, society and Psychology to task who have been man-bashing and elevating women as nurturing, wise, goddesses for the last 30 years. Each sex is wonderful in their own right. I’m pointing out the disdainful, belittling attitudes and behaviors that many women have adopted to men without batting an eye and which they would surely take askance with if the same attitudes and behaviors were directed towards them.

      Thank you for posting your thoughts. I appreciate the dialogue.

  20. c
    June 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm | #49

    “women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution…. For the record, a glut of feelings without resolution is meaningless. ”

    God, am I guilty of this. Looking back on my life and interactions with men in general, my focus is usually on MY feelings, as if theirs are not as important. Maybe from living with a father, who was a provider but never wanted to be bothered with children, any children. His interests were his work, his social life, his friends, his status (somewhat), and then his children and wife. In that order. I thought he was so above having to deal with feelings, he hurt my mother’s repeatedly by constantly putting her down in front of us (and much more in private), that maybe it was a better way to be than to be the one constantly hurt. Maybe he was hurt in his own life and this is how he learned to deal with it.

    Either way, it’s not right to blame him or any other man for my own feelings and actions. My emotions are not any more important than anyone else’s nor are they any less. They just are! I feel like with the help I have been getting, my eyes are opening more and more, and even if I dont like what I see in myself, at least I can see it now. I like this piece.

    • shrink4men
      June 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm | #50

      That’s a powerful insight. The thing is, if you face the things you’ve been running away from, they become less scary. Once you identify the things you don’t like about yourself and acknowledge your responsibility, you can begin to change them, which will lead you to feel better about yourself. In turn, you will treat yourself and others in your life better.

      I wish you well in your personal work.

    • axe281
      September 25, 2009 at 2:51 am | #51

      My significant other is always thinking something bad is happening only late at night! She feels that I am a cold man and that I don’t give her emotional support when I tell thru out the day that I love her. The 10 oclock hour comes around and she starts with her insecurities and no matter what I say or do she continues pursueing what ever is bothering her and she DOES NOT LISTEN TO ME!!!!! I dont now what to do any more because it is extremely frustrating and is getting to the point of enraging me . I am the first to admit that I have a short fuse and all of this just lights that fuse! Can you please help? We have tried couensling and it hasnt worked!

    • Christian R. Conrad
      January 15, 2011 at 12:05 am | #52

      @”c”: “His interests were his work, his social life, his friends, his status (somewhat), and then his children and wife. In that order.”

      Hey, hangonaminnit — What’s the difference between ‘friends’ and ‘social life’? Or between ‘status’ and ‘social life’? AFAICS, both ‘friends’ and ‘status’ are sub-concepts of ‘social life’. Which gives us: “His interests were his work, his social life, and then his children and wife. In that order.”

      OK, I’d still agree the order is wrong — but it’s not like he puts a gazillion things ahead of his family; it’s just your way of putting the stuff he puts
      ahead of his family a gazillion different ways.

      Any thoughts on why you’re doing this, or on how fair it is to do this…?

Comment pages
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  1. December 26, 2009 at 1:00 am | #1
  2. January 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm | #2
  3. November 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm | #3
  4. November 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm | #4

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