One of the first things an intelligent person will recognize as they become an adult and start to more completely understand interpersonal relationships is that people deal with things in different ways. The splits arise between socio-economic groups, racial divides, individual personalities, and gender. The most glaring one is gender, and that is what I’m fixing to talk about today; the differences between the ways that men and women tend to deal with grief.
The funny thing is that men are raised to expect that women are different, and are taught to understand this and find a way to work through the differences. We understand on a visceral level that sometimes things that don’t upset us at all will upset our wives, and things that upset us won’t upset our wives. Women, on the other hand, tend to be taught that their way of communicating, and their likes/dislikes are correct, and that men’s ways of communicating and men’s likes/dislikes are incorrect (he won’t talk to me or open up! Why is he so closed off emotionally?!!). Therefore, when a woman starts crying over something that a man can’t understand, he does what he can to help her. When a man starts crying over something a woman doesn’t understand, she is shocked and caught off guard, as well as feeling inside that she’s seeing something wrong that shouldn’t be happening and it scares her away.
This is really just a matter of education and teaching our kids the truth in the matter, which is that despite all outward appearances, it is my absolute belief that men, not women, are actually the more emotional sex of the species. We just do a better job if hiding it.
So the point here is this:
My friend and co-worker’s 12 year old daughter passed away in August, very suddenly after being first diagnosed with leukemia the week before. It put us all back on our heels. I felt partially wrecked for quite some time now, and with her diagnosis and subsequent slide into oblivion, and I BECAME ANGRY.
VERY, VERY FUCKING ANGRY.
I wanted to punch God in his face. I wanted to go find a panda bear and put a bullet in it’s stupid head for being too lazy to fuck to save its own species.
I wanted to club a baby seal. I wanted to, in the words of the immortal Tyler Durden “Destroy something beautiful” so that I could punish the universe somehow.
My wife didn’t understand. I explained to her that its part of a Dad’s constitution. I explained to her that back in the cave man days, her life and the life of our daughter would ABSOLUTELY DEPEND on me being the meanest, nastiest, most unforgiving motherfucker on the block. If I was going to be evolutionarily and biologically successful, every saber toothed tiger in a 100 mile radius needed to know that it was a bad idea to mess with my girls, lest they have ME to deal with after.
So we’re wired to get pissed and want to fuck some shit up. Virtually or in real life. It’s how it works. Lots of western gals don’t seem to be capable of grokking such a thing.
omen don’t know how to deal with a man who has emotions, because our culture has lead them to believe that such a thing doesn’t even exist. So when a man gets angry, instead of understanding that it is his evolutionarily wired way of showing grief and hurt, they fear that and run away because they don’t understand what is happening. Hold your angry, grieving husband, ladies, don’t chide him for doing what he’s designed to do.
I can’t really figure out why some women can’t deal with the fact that their spouse is human, but it really does seem to turn them off when they discover that fact. I do think a lot of it is training. We train men to care about women’s feelings and emotions, and women to expect men to not have any, or for men’s to not differ from theirs in any meaningful way. It’s a recipe for failure.
I’ve written this so that I can help you understand why I feel short of the ideal on Saturday, and why my wife understands why I fell short. I needed to break something, and I was too unaware of my own self to realize that I had more important things to do than see to my own needs and desires at that particular moment.
Mrs. Goober gets it. Thank God.