I came across a short essay that I wrote for a communications class last year and it reminded me about how men and women express their emotions in a different way. Many people aren’t even aware of the differences between men and women and this creates problems in communication. I understand the differences but very often I forget that my husband doesn’t feel the same way as I do and this causes frustration for me. In this essay, I will try to explain the differences.
HOW MEN AND WOMEN DIFFER IN THEIR EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION
It is very obvious that men and women differ in expressing their emotions. Both men and women do actually do feel the same emotions, however they often react differently in the same situation. This is partly due to how they are socialized and their individual personalities, but also because men’s and women’s brains process things differently.
Research shows that men tend to use the left side (reasoning) of their brain more and women use both the right (emotional) and left sides of their brain. This gives women more ability to understand people and express their emotions more effectively.
In an article I read by Dr Srini Pillay, Clinical assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, he states that “Underlying brain differences may explain why men and women process their emotions so differently”. And even though both may feel the same about something, they show it differently. He explains that a woman may express feelings of sadness as depression, while a man may show anger when he is sad. “On the surface it may seem like they have very different takes on the situation,” he says. “But they are really feeling quite similarly.”
Women are generally more emotional and expressive than men. They are actively interested in people and build more relationships. Women also use more facial expressions and body language to show their emotions than men do.
Men have difficulty expressing their feelings and tend to hide them inside. They are uncomfortable showing their emotions openly and often will share only with those who are close to them. Men also seem to have a better control over their emotions than women who display their emotions with greater intensity.
When women feel angry, they will likely express their anger through words and become sad, hurt or depressed. Men, on the other hand, will likely express their anger through actions and become bitter and resentful.
When faced with tragedy, women are able to empathize and will be sympathetic. Men will keep their emotions under control and appear to be uncaring and unresponsive.
Of course, all men and women are not the same. Some men are very expressive and open in showing their feelings and some women tend to hold their feelings inside. There are also differences in the way other cultures show their emotions. In some countries, it is socially acceptable for men and women to show strong emotions and in other countries it is not acceptable.
An excellent book that discusses the differences between men and women is called, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. In this book, it states that, “Men and women generally are unaware that they have different emotional needs”. Women want their feelings to be recognized. They want to feel loved and appreciated every day. Their primary emotional needs are caring, understanding, respect, devotion, validation and reassurance. On the other hand, men want their talents and achievements to be recognized. They want to receive approval for their achievements. Their primary emotional needs are trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval and encouragement.
The different ways that men and women show their emotions can cause a lot of confusion in communication, especially when many people don’t even know there are differences. It is important that we learn about these differences so we are able to communicate more effectively and build great relationships with other people.
While doing research on brains – I came across this amusing video clip. It made me laugh but it also made me think about how men used to think women were inferior in intelligence and that sadly, some men still have this opinion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS37SNYjg8w