This sounds about right:
When women attempt to communicate their feelings of fear, dismay, or anxiety, they use words, cite facts, or employ a tone that causes a man to imagine he is being attacked. In her mind she is looking for compassion and understanding, but to his ears she is finding fault with him. Unfortunately, when a man feels attacked he responds defensively. He either waits quietly for his wife to finish her tirade, defends himself, counter attacks, or leaves.
Unfortunately for clueless men, when a woman attempts to communicate her concerns for herself or the family, she often does so out of fear or distress, so her words take on what he perceives as an attacking tone. Although a woman thinks she is initiating a discussion that appeals to a man’s innate sense of protectiveness, he hears it as criticism of his faults. She feels she is appealing to her protector to rescue her. He thinks he is the one who needs protection from her.
Instead of recognizing that his wife feels distressed by something, he immediately attempts to quell her stress and shield himself by quietly discrediting her or angrily attacking her facts. This perceived lack of compassion will cause his wife to become more frustrated, which evokes more intense communication.
A woman’s goal in such a conversation is not to win an argument or to flaunt her superior debating skills. Simply put, she is typically crying out for understanding, and wants her husband to respond with empathy and help. She wants not to be corrected, but to be validated in her distress. That is why a woman might make her points citing “facts” that a man believes are inaccurate. Unfortunately, we husbands think we can change our wives’ minds employing logic and reason, and by correcting their misstatements. But women usually aren’t trying to win an argument and don’t want us to tell them that they shouldn’t feel what they know they feel. All they know is that they feel something deeply and want us to understand how they are feeling. Correcting them is a big mistake on our part.
Here are a few examples of how women attempt to share their hearts and how we perceive their words to be attacks:
|What she says||What a man hears||What she means|
|Did you take out the kitchen trash?||You’re a loser! You don’t do basic things to take care of me.||I feel so feminine when you rescue me from looking at something so obnoxious.|
|You’re never home!||Facts or accuracy aren’t important! You’re just bad!||I’m lonely and insecure when you’re not here, and I’m afraid you don’t want to be with me. Please reassure me you care.|
|Does this make me look fat?||Tell me the truth. Does this outfit make me look fat?||Reassure me that I’m attractive to you.|
|We need to talk||I need to complain||Understand my fears and stress|
|I’m having a bad day!||If you were a better husband or father, my life wouldn’t be so hard!||Rescue me, please!|