My thanks to one of you who put me on the track to this: It’s a Guy Thing: Study Shows Why Men Shut Down During Fights.
I tend to agree with Dr. Carlat that we don’t know enough to draw any real conclusions from this study, but I do find it fascinating in that it’s yet another study that shows men and women react differently to the same situation. Deep in our brains we react differently – and those brain reactions are not something we can control. Neither can we easily, if at all, change those reactions.
However, we can, and I think should, make efforts to change what we do in response to these reactions.
Remember when we were kids and we would try to make each other “flinch”? You would make a motion towards the face of another, and if they pulled back, you could say “You flinched!” and slug them in the arm without getting hit back. Not wanting to be slugged, we all tried to not flinch. Even though this is an automatic reflex, with effort it was possible to limit or eliminate flinching – especially when you had a bit of warning. If we can change something like flinching, which is not normally a conscious reaction, then can’t we change how we react to stress, or to an argument? Can’t we choose to react differently – to react in the way we know we should rather than the way our brains push us to react?