Men don’t use a lot of words, but they do communicate constantly. The problem is that we often think we know what their behavior means, and we miss the mark completely.
1. Do men experience feelings?
One of those things that we miss the mark on is whether or not a man is even feeling anything at all. The reason that we can’t really tell is because he’s really been trained not to show his emotions. The number one rule of being a man is: Don’t be weak. So he’s going to hide his emotions. He’s going to avoid talking about them.
He’s going to do everything possible to solve a problem without addressing emotional material. It’s just one of those things that happens. And the reason it does is from a very young age, he got shamed for having vulnerable feelings.
And that doesn’t change when he grows up.
As a man, he still carries this huge fear that he will be shamed if he expresses his vulnerability. So he keeps it inside and instead of processing it and dwelling on it, he looks for a solution. Now when he pulls away and he’s inside processing within himself, you can get the impression that he didn’t hear you, that he’s not listening, that he doesn’t care, that he doesn’t even feel anything.
And nothing could be further from the truth.
Every man feels intensely. It’s just the expression of those emotions that is a problem. And you’re going to hear me talk about this over and over again, because it’s like the number one thing we need to understand about the men in our lives, whether they’re newborns or they’re your great grandpa, it doesn’t matter.
Those feelings are right there. They’re on the forefront, but they have been shamed out of expressing those emotions. So when we come along and we want to have a conversation with a man, and we want to know what he’s thinking and feeling, he’s not going to share that with you. Instead, he’s going to share with you what he does with himself.
He’s going to give you a solution.
And when he tries to give you a solution, how do you end up feeling? Oftentimes we feel dismissed. We feel discounted. We feel like he’s being condescending. I’ve heard that one lot, but we don’t really respond to his problem-solving in the way he would like for us to. But that’s how he’s gotten through life. He has avoided talking about his emotions, and he’s gone straight for solutions.
So he’s going to share that with you as well. And it can be very, very frustrating and it can make you feel disconnected. And again, make it feel like he’s really talking down to you. When what he’s doing is giving you his own solution for emotions. And most often that happens when you’re being emotional.
So when you’re feeling angry, sad, afraid, all of those things, or even guilty or ashamed, any kind of vulnerability that you express, he’s going to avoid talking about it. He’s going to avoid dwelling on it. He’s going to look for a solution. Then you can end up feeling like he’s just trying to fix you. Like he’s just trying to shut you up.
And the truth is, again, he is taking what he uses as his own strategy and offering it to. Because from his point of view, you don’t seem to understand how to reason your way through anything. Now we know that’s not true, ladies. We know that we are very good at solving problems.
What we’re looking for is someone to just listen to us.
And care about how we’re feeling and even to validate our feelings. So when you’re doing that, you can get yourself into trouble when you’re talking to the man you live because he doesn’t approach emotions at all like you do.
Okay. So that’s the first one is that even though he’s very quiet, even though he doesn’t talk about his feelings, trust me, ladies, he has feelings. Very deep one.
2. Men usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Another reason men don’t talk much just because they tend to be focused in on one thing at a time. Now I know you’ve had this happen to you. You are talking with your husband and he’s watching television, or he’s driving the car or he’s working on a project and he’s not responding to you. And you think he’s ignoring you. That he’s stonewalling.
I got to tell you he’s probably not even hearing you because of that extreme focus that. Zeroed in on whatever it is that he’s doing. And to you, it may seem like not a big deal. I probably half a dozen times in the last month I’ve heard a woman say, you know, I tried to talk to him. We were on this trip, and I tried to talk to him in the car, and he got angry. She couldn’t figure out why he would get angry when they had all this time to be able to talk in the car.
Well, she didn’t realize was that he was already focused on something else. Now it may have been the driving. It may have been how to get from point a to point B, where he could have just been preoccupied with something else and she invaded his space, and he just didn’t even hear her.
Men zone out.
The other thing that I think is really funny, I’m kind of chuckling about it. Men do something I call going into “the zone.” They zone out. It’s one of the ways that they’re able to decompress and to release all of this emotion that is still coming at them in a very big way. But they have an ability to disconnect from that and to go into the zone. They often do that watching television. They can also do it while they’re driving the car. They can do it while they’re working in the yard or doing something else, and they go into a zone.
They literally don’t hear you when they’re in that mode.
The only way that you can really penetrate that is to say, “Hey, do you mind if we talk about something? I have something I want to share with you.” Then wait for his response.
And if he says not right now, then don’t do it right now. Say, “Okay, we can talk later.” Give him that space to be able to make the transition because men do not flow back and forth easily between tasks or between ideas between emotional stuff and problem-solving stuff. So we’ve got to allow them the right to go back and forth does not mean that we have to never talk about what’s on our moms.
We need to let them know we have something to talk about.
- how long we’re going to need to talk about it,
- what we want the outcome of that conversation to be, and
- then ask for a specific time to do that.
When you do that routinely, you will find that he will be much more likely to engage in the process with you than if you just, as a man puts it, “blindside” him with some big. Not to us. It doesn’t feel like blindsiding.
It’s just a conversation.
It’s the way we talk to one another. It’s the way we talked to everybody else in the world, except him, but it doesn’t work that way with him. So we just need to be aware of that and plan according.
3. We also need to know how he addresses problems with you.
Now, this one’s a tough one and I had a theory about it several years ago, actually wrote a blog post about it, posted it and asked me for feedback.
And they told me I was spot on. So I’m going to share this with you. You know, a man does not give his wife feedback about herself, about their relationship, for two reasons.
- A man who really loves you, is not going to want to hurt you.
- And he’s not going to want to make you angry.
And the chances are we will when we receive criticism. I know I’m the same way. When we get criticized, we feel hurt and sometimes can cry. Other times we can get angry and lash out. Neither one of those is a good response to feedback from the man. He will really avoid it because he doesn’t want to face the fallout.
So putting yourself in a position where you are strong enough to hear what he has to say, it’s going to be really important. Again, he’s not going to use a lot of words and you can’t always tell by his actions what it is that’s going on in those deep waters in his soul, but you can learn more about men and you can be stronger as well.
Yeah, one of the things I want to work on with you in the coming weeks and months is how to build yourself up as a woman, how to feel secure in who you are, who God created you to be, so that you can have a more open conversation, not only with a man, but with everybody. So you won’t be as afraid of criticism, so it won’t hit you as hard as it often does.
Making you feel hurt, making you want to cry, or making you want to lash out and get angry. To say, “You think that about me? Well, here’s what I think about you!”
So those are kind of two extremes. It’s hard. It’s really hard to listen to someone, give you feedback about something they don’t like about you or what you are doing.
It’s hard take it into consideration and change if you need to. It’s a touchy subject. And I think it’s especially hard for women who are already bombarded with the need to do everything perfectly.
We strive so hard to do everything perfectly.
And put up the image that we have got it all together, and we can do anything, which is a little bit different than what men address. We are more often criticized for what we do or how we look, whereas men feel like they are criticized for who they are.
A man is supposed to be strong and confident and capable.
Women are more likely to worry about doing everything. Everybody, work kids, home, cooking, finance, everything. We just have it all piled on us. And we’re spinning plates constantly. You know, men tend to focus on whether or not they are being a real man.
And that is the primary driving force behind where men are coming from. For us, it’s about multiple things that we’ve got to try to get done at the same time. And we try to do it all perfectly, and that just doesn’t work. [I can list a bunch of things I’m not doing real well right now, but that will save that for another day.]
So men don’t tell you how they feel about what you’re doing.
They don’t give you feedback. They go silent is because they want to avoid hurting you and they want to avoid making you angry. The solution to that is for you to get stronger so that you’re more confident. And you can take the “hits,” so to speak, from anybody who wants to come at you. Without lashing out or falling into a puddle of tears. We really want to be able to receive feedback, take it into consideration if it fits, and if it doesn’t, let it go and move on.
The Wonder of a Man
I hope you will watch this entire playlist on my YouTube channel. And if you have questions, let me know. I’m here to help.