Handle emotions: Before I proceed, an emotion is defined as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. I like the term instinctive in this definition.
When attempting to address this question, I am guilty as charged with overgeneralization. I would say yes. Generally speaking, I believe men have a tendency to keep things bottled up inside. I do.
There is a familial and societal aspect feeding this belief. Men are not supposed to show certain emotions because doing so would render a “negative” impression such as being weak and, even when overdone, as being effeminate.
On the other hand, women are typically programmed to view themselves as nurturers in a relationship and should express their emotions more readily. However, it doesn’t mean that they always express them in a healthy way. My Sicilian grandmother would remove her shoes and throw them at my brother when he made her angry. The best part was when she missed her target and left a scuff mark on the wall – she got even more pissed and threw the second shoe. Snicker …
For the record, there are certainly men who are more emotional and women who are not.
Whether male or female, the problem is that these bottled emotions can manifest themselves in unhealthy ways such as drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, deterioration of mental and physical health, anger outbursts, and self-harm.
I’m not afraid to admit that I have a full plate when it comes to handling certain emotions. I’ve danced with the alcohol, I experience Bipolar “spikes” and increased intensity of my OCD. I have had to endure the “your ass is in a sling” look from Melissa as I’ve patched holes in the wall. And, yes, I have had incidents of self-harm, too. I’m happy to report that I am evolving from being an utter disaster to more of a shop vac cleanup.
While women may believe men are callous and cold, the truth is men can and do show their healthy emotions. They just tend to do so in a different manner than women. Many men can become choked up when they watch an emotional movie. They just try to keep it from coming to the forefront. Some men don’t have a problem with expressing such emotions.
Another factor that may explain the differences between how men and woman express emotions is one of biology. Women have different hormones than men. These hormones can affect how people feel and reveal those emotions.
So, where the hell am I in this convoluted article? The short of it is that everyone handles their emotions differently. Everything and everyone must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
But I’m sure we can agree that we can all learn to handle our emotions better.
Don’t throw your shoes, especially if they’re Jimmy Choos! ~Ted
New research suggests that, yes, men may not be as good at sharing their emotions, but that’s due to how their brains process information.
Scientists may have recently discovered water on Mars, but it isn’t the leftover tears from men who come from there.
New research suggests men are less reactionary to negative emotions because the signals spend more time in the part of the brain associated with reasoning.
Researchers at Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and the University of Montreal studied 46 healthy people by having them view images that could evoke positive, negative, or neutral emotions.
Their brain activity was measured with brain imaging. Blood tests were used to determine changes in hormone levels.
Women were more likely to rate images as negative, but higher testosterone levels — regardless of a person’s sex — were associated with higher sensitivity.
While the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and amygdala were lighting up in both sexes, the connection between these two parts of the brain were stronger in men than in women.
The amygdala works as the brain’s threat detector while the dmPFC is involved in cognitive functioning, such as perception, reasoning, and emotional regulation. When men viewed images, these areas interacted more and men reported less sensitivity to negative images.
“A stronger connection between these areas in men suggests they have a more analytical than emotional approach when dealing with negative emotions,” study coauthor Stéphane Potvin, an associate professor at University of Montreal’s department of psychiatry, said in a press release. “It is possible that women tend to focus more on the feelings generated by these stimuli, while men remain somewhat ‘passive’ toward negative emotions, trying to analyze the stimuli and their impact.” Essentially, there is a neurological component to explain why men and women handle emotions differently.
You have to remind them how it felt when you were close and happy again. Right?
Actually, I’m here to challenge this idea. Because “togetherness” is not always the cure it promises to be.
Giving space in a relationship can bring you a much deeper, more fulfilling, more sustainable intimacy IF you have the courage to try a new way.
Handle Emotions: The Most Dangerous relationship Myth Out There
Today I’m flipping the script on what I believe to be the most dangerous relationship myth out there. It’s well-meaning advice but ultimately it’s sabotaging our relationships. The advice goes something like this:
“The secret to a successful relationship is to spend as much time together as possible. Don’t take time or space apart. When it gets challenging, don’t run away. If there’s anger, let it rip. If there’s hurt, don’t hold back. Honesty is the key. Togetherness is the solution to every problem.”
What’s your reaction when I say those words?
It doesn’t sound bad, right? It sounds kinda romantic. It sounds like it’s in integrity with core values like honesty, loyalty, and self-expression. Those values speak to me too.
And that’s what makes it such an insidious threat and not a good option to handle emotions.
Handle Emotions: The Appeal and Danger of "Togetherness"
I can see how this mentality appeals to so many people. In its most idealistic form, it’s romantic. However, in its practical form, it’s sabotaging our relationships.
This kind of relentless “honesty” is actually demanding and confrontational. It winds up leading your relationship toward more “drama” than love.
I call this The Dark Intimacy Addiction. We start depending on these “honest” blowups in order to create intimacy with our partners. You may even unconsciously stir up drama, doubt, or jealousy just to break through the walls of indifference and resentment in order to feel a connection.
Oy vey! Let’s leave the drama for the stage and find connection and intimacy in our relationships in a more positive, loving, and sustainable way, shall we?
And it starts by doing the exact opposite of “Don’t take space.”
Giving space in a relationship can work miracles if you know how to use this new and valuable tool. Let me show you…
Watch these two strategies on how to handle emotions go head to head:
Strategy #1: Don’t take space.
Strategy #2: Take space.
Handle Emotions Example #1: You’re feeling upset with your partner. How can you deal with this conflict and emotional turmoil?
Strategy #1: Don’t take space.
Stick to your partner like white on rice. Hash it out. Yell. Throw things. Say things you'll regret later. Explode.
Dump your feelings all over your partner without consideration — it’s okay. That emotional vomit is real love. Don’t hold back. And if you’re the one getting vomited on, take it like a champ. That’s what it means to be in a relationship.
Dramatic? Yes. Violent? Maybe. Challenging? For sure! But at least you’re staying with it and not taking space. Feel better?
Strategy #2. Take space.
Take space and cool down.
Self-connect. Do something feel-good and relaxing. Reconnect with your loving feelings for yourself, your life, and your partner. THEN, if you still have something to say, speak honestly from the heart.
Communicate with care to the person you care about.
Is this thoughtful message perhaps even MORE honest than your original heat-of-the-moment reaction? Try it and see for yourself.
Our instinct when we feel distant from our partner is to bridge that gap as fast as possible to get closer. But in this particular case, giving space in a relationship allows you to come back together in greater intimacy and loving connection.
Handle Emotions Example #2: You’re feeling indifference and a lack of attraction with your partner. How can you reignite the passion?
Strategy #1: Don’t take space.
The sexual tension has vanished. Uh oh! Flirt with a coworker in front of your partner and try to make them jealous — that should get their attention.
Better yet, accuse your partner of cheating on you because they’ve been busy with work and you want more attention.
Or how about pressing their buttons and saying something you know will irritate them so that you can break through the veneer of indifference and get a reaction?
Who cares if it causes tears, pain, and fighting? At least you’re experiencing a real live-wire connection now, right? Finally!
Strategy #2. Take space.
Take space and get hot for each other.
If you feel indifferent toward your partner, or sense indifference from them, don’t panic and do something extreme that will hurt your partners’ feelings. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. You’ve simply been spending too much time together or you’ve been spending too much energy on other people and you’re losing your mojo. Do something fun and relaxing that helps you get your groove back.
Once you start feeling sexy and confident again, come back to your partner, go on a date, and enjoy the newfound heat and desire. Is this genuine turn-on even more satisfying than a jealous rage? Try it and find out for yourself.
I know I’m asking for a lot. All instincts in the face of indifference scream to do something drastic, to force a connection. It’s scary as all heck when you lose attraction for your partner or sense they’ve lost attraction for you! But in this particular case, giving space in a relationship, taking time apart where you’re doing something fun for yourself, can spark the passion you’re looking for.
Here’s the deal: It’s your choice.
On the surface, the results of these strategies may look similar. You get to express yourself “honestly” and ultimately you “connect” with your partner.
However, every time you choose drama over love, it takes its toll. It destroys trust, poisons love, shreds kind communication, and it’s freaking exhausting.
Every time you choose to take intentional space to handle emotions, it breathes love and energy back into your relationship; setting you up for sustainable success for the long haul.
You get to decide what’s best for you.
It’s my job to bring this choice to your attention and hopefully make “giving space in a relationship” a less scary prospect. After all, it’s easy to fall into the comforting trap that “together” is always the BEST solution for your relationship challenges.
Despite popular advice, sometimes, it’s really not.