As a woman, I have had many conversations with men about all different kinds of subjects but after a certain amount of time, I can sometimes see their eyes glazing over in disinterest even as I am talking to them.
Most women instinctively know that they like to talk more than men. I know that I really enjoy verbally taking a situation apart and talking about it and then verbally trying to put it back together again in search of a solution. But I usually have to find a woman who will listen to me do this.
Even my husband would only listen for so long and then he would usually bark, "My God, get to the point!"
Well, the point today is that new research was just published in The Journal of Neuroscience concluding that a protein called FOXP2 is responsible for our ability to verbalize, and girls' brains contain higher levels of FOXP2 than boys' brains.
|Courtesy of the New York Daily News|
Now there seems to be scientific evidence that girls like to talk A LOT more than boys. Research indicates that women say about 20,000 words a day and men only blurb out about 7,000.
After reading this, I wondered, "Is this one of the reasons why men prefer to be quiet about their grieving?"
I know some of this information is stereotypical but there is also some truth in the "Chatty Kathy" woman and the "Strong and Silent" man. I do know a few men who like to chat but they are few and far between.
Some men resent being encouraged to talk about the emotions of their grief or even the particulars of how they are doing after the death of a loved one. In general, men like to put their feelings into action such as doing some kind of activity with their hands. They immerse themselves in their work and that is their way of processing their loss.
Talking is just not the first reaction men have to dealing with a trauma.
I read of one man who after his 20-year-old daughter lost control of her car and was killed, the father spent several weeks rebuilding a neighbor's fence that was damaged in an accident. The father described this activity as crucial to his healing and to "getting me through those first two months."
Maybe men think that by verbally expressing their thoughts and feelings that then they are vulnerable, and that's not something they are comfortable with. Or maybe they have had bad experiences with trying to put their emotions into words.
Doctors are beginning to discover that there is such a thing as "men's grief," a grief that is processed very differently than women's. It's not the wrong way or the right way. It's just the way that belongs to men. Men's methods of grieving shouldn't be evaluated by the way women deal with their grief because we know that everyone grieves differently no matter what their gender.
Since women know that talking makes them feel better, they automatically assume that talking will make men feel better. And sometimes that's not true.
Whatever the case, the only reason women want men to discuss their grief feelings is because repression of the hurt, the anger and the confusion that surrounds grief can only be unhealthy. Unrecognized and unacknowledged grief will only become stronger and harder to tame. Grief that's expressed outward is grief that's released and it then allows you to start a healing process.
Vive la difference!