I like poking fun at gender disparities:
During a convo earlier today with a friend, I indicated that it’s not so much that we enjoy hearing ourselves carp. It’s just that action is so much more terrifying; our brains can’t process it. So many of us grow into these child women who wear the facades during the day of “How are you doing? Nice weather we’re having…” and then take our masks of confidence and professionalism down at the day’s end for those with whom we’re closest.
And we let them have it – like it’s their fault.
Because it is often so hard to dig even close to the source of unpleasant feelings causing unhealthy behavior, we stop short of searching at all, and fall into that seductive trap of victim-ness in lieu. When we unload the weight of our world onto the shoulders of our partner, he feels like Atlas himself. *Sigh* If only he knew we aren’t looking for a psychologist – or a maintenance man for that matter.
Rather, expecting to hear “I’m sorry” or “that must really suck” from them has become more than the mere obligatory shoe in for the less comforting words “There there…” Nine times out of ten, the expectation isn’t a Freudian couch session or a logical answer, so much as a few meaningless words like “Yeah, those people you mentioned from work who I don’t even know are total douchebags”. This reinforces our own cognitive dissonance; by making sure they take an active part, chime in, and say anything signifying agreement, confirms that you’re the victim here.
And voila. The loop is complete. Fear continues to play third wheel to you both, and you don’t have to a damn thing but watch it eviscerate your relationship inside out.
Don’t get too comfortable, though, men. You aren’t excused from this behavior. It’s just that you’re taught not to cry or show emotions or even talk about them for that matter. So, try as you might to think you can control everything, that painful-whatever-it-was-from-childhood goes somewhere in those neuro-recesses. Since tears aren’t an option, it will manifest in a different way if left unchecked… and it’s every bit as unhealthy to the relationship.
Usually anger and self righteousness are the main means by which it manifests. Since domestic violence is socially unacceptable, it has to get further filtered until it becomes this faux representation of control or power. Going to the gym sometimes helps unleash these sentiments healthily; but for others, this either isn’t an option or falls short of satiating. Thus come the passive aggressive jokes, patronizing remarks, punching of walls in the house, cold body language, abuse of drink or drugs, and so on.
Some might argue that women do the latter (anger) as well as the former (despair/misery). And you’re not wrong. However, you’ll have to concede that men also do the former, then. The difference is that their “complaints” are masked in a kind of pseudo-superiority. Instead of a whiny “why me?” or commentary on how painful or depressing it (whatever “it” is) is, they stay the course of one-upmanship, and instead talk about what an idiot everyone else is.
I have to hand it to them! I mean, when everyone else is an idiot, you’re still a victim (of every other person’s alleged stupidity); but by declaring it (rather than emoting it or implying a desire for confirmation), you’re not asking for your girlfriend’s agreement! Your word is just a fact. You’re a fcukking god! In control! All powerful maintenance man who fixes other people’s problems!
And…yet… you still don’t have to do fcuk-all about your own “nail”.