Monday, December 10, 2012

Validate batshit crazy? Surely you jest

This e-card a friend posted is one of my favorites I've seen. It made me actually chortle. It also made me think of several things we women think we want, receive it, and respond negatively to it. What frustration we must serve up to our husbands.

Ever heard this one: "A woman wants to be validated?"

I remember reading that in a marriage book and thinking to myself, "yeah, that sounds nice, I do want to be validated. He should know this, this is what I want." And I, like thousands of other women reading the same thing, went right up to my husband and instructed him on what he needs to do in order to make me happy. Now notice, this isn't something that was instinctual to me, I had to be told from a good idea fairy, in this case the book I was reading, what it is that I want. It's really nice that men are not complicated and know precisely what they want and can verbalize it quite clearly.

RLB, like thousands of other husbands who received this instruction, probably shared the same thought, "now, how the hell am I supposed to validate batshit crazy?"

After I wrote, Dog Joy, I had a conversation with our daughters about the difference between males and females in how they overreact. Think of a number line that extends from negative ten to positive ten. I explained that it is in the positive direction that boys overreact. My son will have the same tail wagging, visual joy if I make him some bacon before school as he did when RLB told him he gets to pick the shot gun of his choice for his 16th birthday. You wouldn't think the two stimuli would induce the same reaction (okay, the reaction to the gun lasted much longer) but no one would question him because these reactions are on the positive spectrum. We know happiness and joy are healthy emotions, it matters little how they are derived in someone's spirit.

Think also about what makes you laugh. In order for me to literally laugh out loud, I need to find something extraordinarily funny. RLB out laughs us all in this house with our son following in close second. The same is true in what they find "totally awesome!" They are very loud individuals to watch movies with.

Females overreact in the negative direction on that number line. In explaining it to our daughters, it was easy for them to realize due to a very recent event. I delivered bad news that they were going to miss a swim practice. You'd have thought I replaced the word Christmas for swim practice. Their faces were forlorn, and their mannerisms were indignant. They were visibly upset and overly emotional about missing one and a half hours of swimming.

I helped them understand that I do it too. Fortunately, I've learned to recognize it in most cases before allowing my reaction to affect others. However there were plenty of times early on in our marriage when RLB was quite confused as to how one slight from a friend or family member or a misunderstanding between us could send me into a tailspin of negative emotion. Should he experience the very same stimuli, his response would have been around a negative two ("eh, oh well") whereas mine was negative eight (OMG!!!!!).

Returning to this idea that a woman wants her feelings validated, you can understand, as men do, how ludicrous it would be for them to validate (establish the soundness of; corroborate) these over the top negative emotions. Is the idea that this is what women want even true?

You don't really want your husband to see you happy and gush, "something has given you happiness, I see that, and you are right to be happy." - puke! It really is our negative emotions this pop psych statement is referring to, isn't it? However, if RLB were to say to me, "I can see you are experiencing anger/sadness, you are right to be feeling this way, I understand," it would not conjure up warm fuzzies in me about him. Actually, the opposite would happen especially once I got over my own damn self and saw my overreaction for what it was. I would know he was not being honest with me, or he is becoming effeminate. Neither of which are helpful in our marriage relationship.

Women want leadership. Even when they can't express it, they respond positively to it. I need RLB to let me know when my emotions are irrational. By telling me the truth, he protects me and others from me making rash decisions and harming relationships. He also protects my well being as we know negative emotions are unhealthy for us.

When negative stimuli threaten to cause us to overreact, we should stop and ask our husbands, "how would you respond to this?" And then submit to his judgement of the situation. If, on the scale of negative emotions, his reaction would be more positive, take time to pray and settle down before reacting to the stimulus. It becomes easier over time. There really isn't much that shakes RLB's tree. Being able to emulate this stability has been very good for us and the harmony of our home.

9 comments:

  1. I'd like to confirm your observation regarding negative overreaction by females with an experience I just had last night.

    A few nights a week I participate in a web chat with a number of car enthusiasts. They are people of all ages and genders all over the country.

    Last night, one person was telling a story which resulted in a bunch of people asking questions and making statements at the same time. As people, got their questions answered, a female in the group persisted in making annoying comments while I was trying to get a relevant question answered. I told her to "shut up for a sec". This instantly enraged her and she threw half a dozen angry and personal insults at me about my looks with some shaming language thrown in. I basically just patronized her, blew them off and continued as normal. Her outburst completely derailed all conversation for a few minutes while everyone tried to recover and figure out what happened.

    All because I said "shut up for a sec".

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  2. That is a perfect example of female escalation when compared to a man's reaction to the same. A guy would have said, "oh, sorry" and allowed you to carry on without his further interruption. On the negativity scale it would have been about a -1 or -2. He wouldn't have personalized it, instinctively attributed it to you denigrating him, nor would he have thought you think poorly of him.

    Her response shows she did think all of those things. And as the overwhelming theme of this blog will reveal, women think they know the nature of men. Feminism assumes it is the same as women's nature and that proper instruction into the nature of men is unnecessary to engage in discussions, work with, or have successful marriages with men. Unfortunately our fathers have accepted this lie and no longer instruct their daughters on the true nature of men and the inherent differences of it and that of women.

    Had you been a women, even having to deal with the annoying comments when trying to answer a question, you would not have used the words "shut up" (even with the added "a sec" - which revealed you didn't mean to silence her completely, just for the moment) because we know the response that would follow. I will patiently endure a woman's blather before saying shut up because I know it will escalate and she will perceive it as a personal affront.

    With that in mind, it is ludicrous for women to assert that men should temper their speech as to not offend us. If we want to engage in discussion with men we need to get into a man's frame of thinking, recognize our own tendencies to get offended easily and suppress it.

    The reality is, ar10308, the "a sec" added just enough wiggle room for her to feel justified in her emotional outburst. That added politeness only serves to backfire with women. Had you said, "shut the hell up" she would have shut up. I remember going off belligerently with RLB one time and he boomed, "Sit down, shut up, and listen to what I have to say!" There was no pleading or politeness. As a result, I shut the hell up, sat down and listened - and was very turned on by his authority.

    Bat shit crazy...I know. ;)

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  3. I guess I'll just be more of an asshole with her next time. Another thing I noticed was that after her outburst, she didn't say another thing the rest of the evening.

    Occasionally the guys will tell each other to shut-up since over the webchat its very difficult to make things out when more than one person is talking. The typical male response is a quick "Well fuck you too" or a middle finger the in camera, followed by their acquiescing to the request. The offensive response is meant to say "Ok fine, I'll shut up. But only because I want to." Then conversation continues.

    The group of guys ranges in ages from early 20s to mid-late 30s, but normal guy rules still apply, you could put us in a bar and have a group of loud assholes arguing and laughing at each other.

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  4. Feminism has taught you that what I suggested is "being an asshole." It's not - not in the understanding that asshole = wrong. It's understanding the nature of women and for her own benefit speaking to her according to her need and the needs of the group engaged in the conversation.

    In the OP I expressed this as protecting our health. Negative escalation is not healthy, nor is it productive.

    Think of the days when the cigar room was off limits to women. Men protected women from the conversations that went on in there so as to not offend their sensitivities. A woman who pushed through to be a part of the conversation was expected to adhere to the nature of that conversation without pulling feminine tactics (appeals to emotion and solipsism).

    Women do not understand "normal guy rules" - those who attempt to act like a guy, fail miserably. They look a fool. You go a long way to encourage the women you interact with to be women (feminine) and discourage them from attempting to act like a guy with stern assertion. Careful though, it exhibits high value and is a turn on - unless of course that is the outcome you desire.

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  5. I totally get what you're saying here, and it further confirms my thoughts that I might be a bit of an oddball.

    I really hate being stuck in a room with a bunch of other women. Not only do I typically find the conversation incredibly boring, there's also a good chance that I will end up pissing one of the other women off if I don't watch what I say. Things like baby showers are nightmare social situations for me. I feel MUCH more comfortable in the man cave watching football with a bunch of "assholes." I am not easily offended by typical "guy" talk, banter, etc.

    No, I'm not a lesbian. I'm not even a tomboy (I'm very uncoordinated). I DO have female friends, but not many. I choose female friends who are not oversensitive "girly" girls. We don't get all pissy at each other for no reason. I just don't have the time or emotional energy to maintain those kinds of friendships.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't hate ALL things girly, and yes, I can certainly emote with the best of them under the right circumstances. I've also had my fair share of irrational moments...but like you've talked about here, I think I usually do a good job of controlling my reactions. Not always, but usually.

    I'm curious, SD. What do your female friendships look like?

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  6. RLB and I have discussed before that you are an outlier. Every exchange we've had with you here and on FB has been rational and lacking histrionics. It's very refreshing. :)

    My female friendships are similar to yours. Those I spend time with are all happy to be married and desire to stay that way. And, we associate together as couples. I don't do girls nights and hate to shop just for the sake of shopping (so that rules out shopping with the girls). Similar to you, I find gatherings of unpredictable women nightmare social situations.

    Because of the military I'm blessed to have great friends all over the country and in several other countries. It is my biggest pleasure to have our paths cross so we can spend some time together. When we lived in Korea was when I had the most friends gathered in one spot. RLB and I love to entertain (okay, I love to entertain, RLB wants it to happen at his house because he doesn't want to go anywhere) so we would host some of the best get togethers there in our 600 sq ft apartment. Our friends there are well aware they were vetted. No drama, good marriage, you're in! :)

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  7. Now I'm nostalgic for the poker nights we used to host every other Saturday when we lived in CO. It was great. They showed up like clockwork, no invitations or reminders needed. People just walked right in, grabbed whatever they wanted out of the fridge and took their spot at the poker table at 6 PM. We'd go until the wee hours most nights. Our crew was a total mixed bag...guys, couples, one good "low drama" girlfriend of mine. There was plenty of spirited "table talk" and banter, but no one ever left with hurt feelings. We haven't been able to assemble a similar crowd since we've moved back here, but we have had some poker "reunions" when we've gone back to CO visit. Ah, memories :)

    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only woman in the world who hates aimless shopping. Ugh.

    So are you guys up for a little hold 'em if our paths cross one day? :)

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  8. Absolutely! Funny you mention hold em. We taught our kids a few months ago. They get fined $1 for various things like leaving lights on, pitching a fit, not cleaning their bedrooms etc. The money goes into a jar and becomes the pot when we play hold em. When they're especially well behaved, RLB chips in so the pot reaches $10.

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  9. Love it! A hold 'em jar instead of a swear jar, ha!

    Thanks to one of our good CO friends (retired AF), we have a whole arsenal of poker game variants: Anaconda, 3-toed Pete, high Chicago, blood and guts (you don't introduce blood and guts until you know you have a good, stable crowd...that one can get nasty)...the list goes on. I think you guys would be fun players :)

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