November 18, 2014 Carole Levy

Is my brain different than my husband’s?

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Notes from Carole – November 18, 2014

I recently read a book about the brain differences between men and women. This got me thinking about some of my unproductive conversations with my husband in which I sincerely try to explain my current unmet needs by making thoughtful connections to past events. My husband thinks I make sweeping generalization. So in the middle of an emotional but interesting conversation, he’s capable of ignoring me and focusing on his book.  Classic.

I don’t know about biological brain differences between men and women, and I’m aware that the subject is tricky, but it was helpful to read that somebody who has never set foot in my house could describe so precisely our couple dilemma.

My husband and I both seem to identify with our gender types. We easily react unfavorably to our differences, because we perceive each other’s point of view as a threat to our ego. It’s especially true when we are stressed.

I had never imagined that ignoring the situation could be my husband’s flight mode and that my clever explanation is my fight mode. Sometimes I thought there must be something wrong with him, since he doesn’t react the way I do. He must not work hard enough on his ego’s issues Other times, I thought there must be something wrong with me, since I’m such a shrew despite all my hard work on my ego.

 Ways of behaving I have always labeled as wrong either in my husband or myself, simply turn out to be differences. Perhaps gender differences, brain differences, ego differences. Just differences! Vive la difference! It was so simple and obvious, yet profound. What a relief.

My husband and I are part of all humanity, made of millions of other couples, bickering and arguing about nothing, incapable of remembering why they just fought, but endlessly trying to connect and reconcile their differences.

 What a fascinating journey.

 

Comments (4)

  1. Just understanding the differences is a beginning. Then, of course, we get to celebrate the differences and not beat each other up because of them!!

  2. Robin

    Oh, how I laughed! I *so* identify with this dynamic, and it seems like the gender differences explain a lot, but still don’t explain how to address those unmet needs…

  3. Karin

    It’s refreshing to know that there is at least one other couple on the planet with the same interpersonal dynamic! I agree, vive la difference! When I can step back and look at the situation objectively, I often find that I learn something from my husband which makes the conversation sweet instead of the sour it could have been if I engaged in a battle of ‘rightness’.

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