Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 1st 2015 Contents 6| WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 1, 2015
By Roslyn Carrington
WHAT IS IT WITH MEN? Why can't they be more like us?
Why can't they talk as much as we do, and act like we do?
According to psychologist Dr. Steven Sozny, founder of
CompassionPower, a programme that promotes emotional
wholeness, and author of numerous books on relationships,
they can't be like us because they aren't like us. And you
know what? That's part of what makes them so attractive.
Dr. Stozny was in Trinidad over the past week and a half
conducting a series of seminars, titled How to Improve
Your Marriage without Talking About It; Experience Love
Without Hurt; and Living and Loving After Betrayal. He has
also published a number of helpful relationship books,
which bear the same titles.
It's all in the brain
According to him, our responses and interactions are
largely dominated by chemicals in the brain, and the notori-
ous Mars/Venus Effect that makes communication so hard
between the sexes is largely due to the fact that we
women are largely influenced by oestrogen, while our male
counterparts are more influenced by testosterone.
These differences have worked wonderfully in helping our
species --- as well as other mammals --- evolve and survive.
Testosterone makes you quick to anger, and, according to
Dr. Stozny, the purpose of anger is to make you protect
those you love. "It causes you to override self-protection,"
he says. "Thirty percent more of your brain space goes to
protecting loved ones rather than to self-protection." That
anger works great when wild animals are prowling outside
and our men run out to confront them. Not so good during
an argument with hubby.
Oestrogen, on the other hand, makes us more maternal
and nurturing, but also makes us more fearful. Another sur-
vival mechanism. If we worry about bad things happening
to our kids, we take steps to protect them, no?
We become what we learn to be as kids
Furthermore, we treat our boy and girl children differently.
Think about how you were raised, as opposed to male sib-
lings, cousins, classmates, etc. How were you kept in check
when you were about to do something dangerous? "Don't
do that! That's dangerous! You'll get hurt!" As a result, we
are tamed by our fears.
Boys, on the other hand, generally couldn't care less about
danger; in fact, they seem drawn to it. How many times has
the warning, "Stop that! You'll fall and break your neck!" ac-
tually caused a boy to come down from a tree?
Instead, we use shame to get them to do what we want:
"Naughty boy! You should be ashamed of yourself!"
In other words, women have different vulnerabilities. For
women, it's fear; for men, it's shame. And one of our great-
est fears is of isolation, the fear of losing the ones we love.
Men fear shame, being embarrassed or unmanly.
Fear and shame can turn any disagreement into a battle
What does this mean to use as girlfriends, partners, wives?
It means that when there is a disagreement, there is a risk
of escalation, non-resolution and hurt. When we try to talk
to our men, they feel they're being attacked, and either re-
spond in anger or withdraw.
The key, says Stozny, is to recognise the differences be-
tween us, and understand that though we want the same
thing --- a wholesome, loving relationship --- we try to
achieve it in different ways.
His advice for achieving closer connections with our part-
ners, especially in times of conflict, is to forget HOW we
feel, and think about how we WANT to feel. "Identify the
Fear/Shame Dynamic," he advises. "Nobody is doing any-
thing wrong," he reminds us. "Keep thinking: It's not you
doing anything; it's not me doing anything. It's happening to
both of us."
• Attacking increases shame. (Examples of attacking be-
haviour are criticism, rejection, threatening, punishing and
• Avoiding reduces shame but increases fear. (Examples of
avoiding behaviours are ignoring, withdrawing, denying
• Approaching reduces both shame and fear. (Examples of
approaching behaviour are connecting, protecting, encour-
aging, nurturing, understanding and negotiating.)
"A relationship is like an orchard. If we don't nurture it, it will
dry up and die. It is the third entity: there is you, there is me,
and there is our relationship."
Helpful? Good. Look out in our next issue for more insights
and relationship advice from the above-mentioned semi-
Dr. Steven Stozny's books, titled above, are available on
Amazon. He has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey
Show," "The Today Show," "CBS Sunday Morning,"
many CNN shows, and been featured in many major in-
ternational newspapers. You can find him at compas-
| RELATIONSHIPS |
A relationship is like an
orchard. If we don't
nurture it, it will dry up
and die. It is the third
entity: there is you,
there is me, and there
is our relationship.
DR. STOSNY s s
C ss s s C
s A A s
s C ss
Links Archive January 31st 2015 February 2nd 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page