He just won’t talk! – Women’s most common complaint
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. Women everywhere seem to say the same thing about their male partners and it goes like this: ‘He just shuts off to emotion! He never tells me how he is feeling!’ Or ‘He’ll leave the room and refuse to talk about it!’
So when Rosemary, a client of mine, started telling me about the difficulties she was having with her partner, I listened sympathetically and let her pour out her frustration without telling her that I had heard it all before. And when she finally came to a stop, I began to explain why so many men are uncomfortable exploring their feelings and why this is a good thing!
I think I had her full attention.
Men act, women talk
Firstly, men’s brains are wired for action during high emotion, whereas women’s brains are wired for talking things over. If a man instinctively knows his anger is likely to lead to action (and possibly regrettable violence) he may try to stop it going that far by putting a lid it on it. Or ‘clamming up’ as his partner may describe it.
Secondly, from an evolutionary perspective men would have had to shut off their emotions while out hunting, so over time it has become natural for them to do so.
But there is a third and even better reason why men typically may shut them off more from emotional arousal.