Male and female reactions to stress

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?

5 Comments on “Male and female reactions to stress

  1. Haven’t commented before but wanted to chime in on this one. My wife and I read tons of marriage communications books before and after we were married. The BEST one by far was The Seven Principals For Making Marriage Work by Dr. John M. Gottman. His focus was on this Shut Down mechanism and how to get around it and prevent it and have good open communication. We give this book to almost all couples we know who get married.

  2. @Maddog – Gottmann is awesome, and backed by study that makes it very difficult to argue with.

    As I recall, how a couple communicates, or fights, was not a real issue. Those who did it, no matter how, did better than those who did not. Apparently even ugly communication is better than none.

  3. With man this is impossible. But with God all things are possible. If one truly has the Spirit of God in them then, yes, they absolutely CAN change the way they react. In fact, they have a responsibility to work on it and allow the Lord to change them from the inside out once they become aware of negative reactions. Contrary to what the world or “science” says, you are not a slave to your emotions or learned patterns of behavior. If you are born again you are a NEW creature! The old has passed, behold! All things are made NEW! Don’t resign yourself to being a victim of “nature” or “circumstance”. If you have the Spirit of Christ in you, then let this mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, be in you. That’s all I got. We serve a mighty God. Yes, men and women think and react differently, but that is no excuse for a Christian to react negatively.

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