I just started reading The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine. I read her The Female Brain years ago, which was excellent. I have not found any surprises yet, but the book is giving me brain-based reasons for some of what I know to be typical male behaviour. In short, I have proof that some of the crazy things men do are because God made them that way! (Other common causes for craziness are pride and the inability to think when in the presence of a partially or fully nude woman – but those are other posts.)
You know how he interrupts you while you are explaining a problem to offer a solution? According to Brizendine, the Temporal Parietal Junction (TPJ) is the reason for this. The TPJ is one of several “hubs” in the brain that signal other parts of the brain causing behaviours to occur or not occur. The TPM directs the brain to solve distressing problems. During “interpersonal emotional exchanges”, the TPM is more active in men than it is in women. Brizendine says this is actually a form of empathy.
So, while you need to communicate fully, he needs to fix it. Fortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive. I tell men to listen, really listen, to the whole situation, which includes her feelings about the situation, before offering any advice. You can try to get him to do this by telling him you want to hear his suggestions, but you will not be able to hear or processes them well if he has not heard all you need to share with him. Ask him to listen, and then when you are done you will ask him what he thinks. If you let him know he will get a chance to do what he feels driven to do, he should be willing to let you do what you need to do.
My extraordinary wife and I have done it this way for years, and we both feel heard and validated. On occasion, she has even told me my “fix” was of help to her, either as a solution or as a starting point in her thinking for a solution that works for her. It is a win all around.
~ Paul – XY, and very good at solutions.
Speaking of fixing things: The folks in The Philippines hit by Typhoon Haiyan have a lot of fixing to do. If you want to help, I have a good, safe, way to do that. My friend Molong lives far enough south of the destroyed northern part of Cebu Island to be relatively unaffected and able to help those who have been wiped out. He and his fellow disciples are using motorbikes and other small vehicles to get food and water to the places trucks cannot yet go. Because the local port and airport (both major international facilities) are running, there is plenty of food to be bought locally.
Molong is the real deal. I have known him almost a decade, and I have a number of friends who have visited him and have met the widows and orphans he helps. I know any money sent to Molong will be used wisely for those who need help. House2House, my day job, is collecting money and sending it to Molong to help feed people now, and to help rebuild later. You can go here to read more, and make a donation. All US donations are tax deductible.