20 Aug

Do Emotion Like a Man

Many people believe that men are not as emotional as women. Well, that is just not true. Emotion is a human thing. Men are equally as emotional as women. Men just do emotion differently than women.

One way that I explain how things are done differently is with the use of colors. Women do emotion like women do colors. Likewise, men do emotion like men do colors. Women use colors in quite extravagant fashion. Most women have a full palette of thousands of colors, the names of which never enter a man’s vocabulary at any time in his life except when doing a decorating or painting project with a woman.

When men hear the names of these colors they think they are made up or someone is pulling their leg. What on Earth is mauve or puce? Who thought up chartreuse or ochre? Who would know the difference between lavender and periwinkle? How do you even pronounce these words? There’s a million colors to describe something; is it indigo, cornflower, aqua, turquoise, royal, teal, cerulean or cobalt? To a guy it is just blue, -ish.

Men don’t need so many colors. Men have a dozen colors; the primary ones – red, blue and yellow, the secondary ones – orange, green and purple, then white, black, gray, brown, tan and finally pink. There, 12 colors, why would you need more? That is enough to define any color out there.

So as women use a multitude of color names to express themselves so they use a broad palette of words to describe any emotional state they are presently in. This overwhelms most men and they describe it as drinking through a fire hose, often too much at once. Men need it to come in bite-size chunks.

Men have been told they are stunted in emotional intelligence because they don’t express themselves with such loquaciousness. Remember–men are equally as emotional, they just don’t use as many words. Most men are laconic. So just like colors, it is imperative that a man collects his “dirty dozen” emotions. There are emotions that will come up in life again and again, so list those. Once you identify your dozen, it will be easy to identify what you’re feeling and then say it. You have to say it. And once you have done that you will to recognize that there is a need or a want attached to every emotion. You must learn to say that also.

For example, if I feel disrespected, I want to be respected, I need respect. If I feel belittled, I want to be empowered or believed in. Saying your emotion and the need attached to it will move you forward in your conversations and connections at home and work immensely. But you only need to find your dozen. Google lists of emotions and pick the ones that come up most for you. Then, consider what need is attached to each of those.

My own personal list of my dirty dozen are; Belittled, Shamed, Incompetent, Accused, Not Believed In, Not Trusted, Disrespected, Not Included, (and the positive ones) Excited, Playful, Adventurous, and Content. Make your list from ones that come up often for you.

Here’s the challenge: for women, give your emotional process to your man in bite-sized chunks that he can process. Too much at once doesn’t work well. For men, give your woman what you are feeling when you are feeling it. Just say, “I am feeling content” or “I feel deflated right now.” Then say what you need or want. That’s it. No need for anything more. You’ve said what you feel and need. 

Ken Curry, LMFT works with men individually, in groups utilizing his Solid Man Process, and with couples. His work gives him unique insight and perspective on how men and women think, act, and express feelings.

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