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THEORY'For Women Only' - Processing Thoughts - Chapter 4 (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor

First, check out the introduction post here before you get started. Also, if you haven’t read the summary for Chapter 2 on Respect & Chapter 3 on Insecurity you may want to do that as well. This post will assume you’ve read them.

Disclaimer: this is a summary of Chapter 4 in the book For Women Only not my own thoughts, feelings or research.

Let’s get started.


Your tl;dr of this post is this: Men address issues by pulling away to process and think first so that later they can communicate more clearly.

It’s almost a cliche for a married woman to say of her husband “we have trouble communicating”. What this means in reality, is that we don’t often communicate in the same way as our men. Caring men want to communicate with their women. The problem arises because how they go about it is different from how we might prefer. Understanding that there is a difference goes a long way to smoothing over conflicts.

 

How to read his signals

How many of you have hear something like this before: “I don’t know what I’m thinking... I just need a few minutes to decompress before you hit me with your day... Can we please talk about this later... Sorry honey, did you say something?”

We might feel hurt or brushed off when he says these things so it’s important to remember that these are not signals of a lack of care. These signal the difference ways in which men process and talk about emotions.

Men have to think something through before they are able to talk something through. We women are completely different because we usually think it through by talking it through. This actually comes down to a bit of brain science. The connections between hemispheres of the brain allow women to do fast, surface processing of many ideas at the same times. We will circle through options and this gives us more clarity and helps us feel better.

Men do not process the way we do at all. They are internal processors, he has to think about it before it’s possible to speak about it. It is actively difficult for many men to think something through by talking it through. A man’s brain is wired to process one thing at a time and he goes deep on each topic. Your average man can talk about it, feel about it, or think about it but rarely all at the same time.

Pressing your man to talk, especially right now, only makes it harder for him to think through the topics that you want to discuss. What’s more, it’s even harder if there are emotions involved, like when a “discussion” is really code for an argument. Often men’s preference is tol step away so that he can get distance to think first.

And boy does he think it through. When you are talking through every possible scenario and feeling with your girlfriend, he’ll be reflecting on each and every option quite deeply. He does this by considering the first line of thought as completely as he can. Then once he is finished that thought along with all it’s implications he will move on to the next line of thought / option / scenario. Once he has run through the scenarios he will consider his feelings and all the implications about that. Then, finally, after he’s examined everything he’ll be ready to talk to you.

“I don’t know what I’m thinking or feeling” is Man for: “I don't know what I’m thinking or feeling now but I will know later once I have time to process everything”

Even more important, if a man is going to talk about something important, he needs to know that so he can include ‘how do I communicate this’ in the processing. Some men explained to the author that it is possible for them to think through everything and still not be able to talk about it. If they know ahead of time they will have to explain ‘why’ then that gets included in the thinking process.

 

Emotions inhibit the ability to articulate.

Men’s brains are more geared to act on things whereas women’s brains are geared to talk. This difference means that women often perceive men as having no feelings. This could not be further from the truth. Men have as many internal feelings as we do, but they don’t always have words to put to the feelings. It is easier for men to do something about their feelings than it is for them to talk about their feelings. The author explains it this way:

Guys don’t like to talk through things on the fly because they don’t know where the conversation is going. Not knowing where the conversation is going causes discomfort whereas for women it’s the whole point. On the flip side, men don’t like to ask for directions because there is a sense of adventure in figuring it out. A woman, on the other hand would feel uncomfortable driving without directions because she doesn’t know where she’s going.

 

Men need time.

The solution that enables men to properly think things through is so basic you probably already know it. Men need time apart. This is particularly true on issues of emotional importance but really with any important issue men need time and space for their internal processing. This can mean a few hours to a few days depending on the guy and the issue.

In the surveys men said that they felt better able to talk about something big the next day. Brain science backs men up here. Men more than women will not know what they feel at the moment of feeling and will take longer to figure it out. It will also take men longer to express feelings into words. Science tells us that it takes a man, on average, about a 7 hours to process something emotive. One man explained that he needs a cooling period before being able to rationally work through what is wrong. Some men do just “check out” (ie: they aren’t processing anything, they are just avoiding) but in the research this is rare. Give him processing time, your discussions will be much more productive and communication will be smoother if you do

 

Men think through everything.

We often make the assumption that they take action and don’t think at all. This is, of course, only an assumption we making when he does something we disagree with. We then stare at him as if he’s grown a third head and exclaim: “What were you thinking!” What we mean, and what he hears is: “You weren't thinking you naughty boy!”. And we all know the problem with that implication.

Over the course of researching the book, the author began to ask friends if she could jump in when she saw situations of conflict. She’d ask the husband “Wait! What did you think before you did that?” Inevitably the man comes out with a long list thoughts that ran through his mind before he took an action. She discovered that there is always reasoning behind every action.

When surveyed, 8 out of 10 men said that when taking an action their wife didn’t like that they had thought about it ahead of time. What’s more, ⅓ had even considered (and dismissed) their wives’ objections.

Once again, we are brought back to the respect chapter. When he does something that we find inexplicable, do we respect our men as rational adults with pure motives... or are we thinking “well that was stupid, what was he thinking?” Mistakes are inevitable - a man’s ideas won’t always work out, but our ideas won’t always work out either. Disagreement is healthy and sometimes necessary. It is important that we go into a discussion or disagreement assuming the best intentions of your mate.

 

Sometimes men need to think nothing.

A man is going to need time when he doesn’t have to think of anything at all. Do you rush him at the door or give him space? Because at the end of the day, when we want to talk, he probably just wants to collapse and channel surface. The same processes that require men to think and process everything on a deep level also mean that a man needs time to reset. He’ll accomplish this reset by doing something mindless that helps him to ‘make more room’ in his brain.

 

Work with the way your man is wired instead of against it. No one is suggesting that our partners shouldn’t also make an effort to work with how we are wired, but this is about you and what you can change. We can adapt and do things that are important to our men even if those things don’t come naturally. Since some realities don’t change, like the way their brains are wired, we’ll be so much better off if we bend our behaviors to fit their needs. Give him time to process before asking him to communicate (Honey, I’d like to talk about X, when would be a good time?), or give him time to empty his brain before dumping more on him (that half hour after work that he needs to unwind can be crucial).

If you are unsure ask him how long “later” means. Demanding our men discuss things before they are ready can even hit their insecurities as men. If he can’t process as quickly as we can in a discussion, he may feel insecure, unable to communicate or less smart.

Make the best assumption of your mate. Recognizing and understanding how men process thoughts can help to alleviate so much conflict within the relationship. You know he’s a good man, give him time he needs to be the man you know he is.


[–]LateralThinker133 Stars 8 points9 points  (9 children)

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (6 children)

Thanks for this, it was a great article. A lot of good examples of "how action x = feeling y" :-)

[–]LateralThinker133 Stars 2 points3 points  (5 children)

You're welcome. She has a few articles I reference quite often. Another good one is a 3-part set called "Why are you so fat?". And she did one about what happened when two teenagers made threats to her daughter - quite entertaining AND a good glimpse at both female and male reactions to such a scenario and how they differ.

Hint: she went to the school, the cops, and social workers, in that order. The men just wanted to find the boys and beat them. As they put it, "If you're going to talk like a man, you can accept a beating like one". They had to be talked down.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

"Why are you so fat?"

I'm on board with anyone against HAES. I'm gonna go bookmark her now.

[–]LateralThinker133 Stars 1 point2 points  (3 children)

http://judgybitch.com/2012/10/23/why-are-you-so-goddamn-fat/

http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/18/why-are-you-so-goddamn-fat-part-two/

http://judgybitch.com/2013/03/28/why-are-you-so-goddamn-fat-part-three/

The best part is in part 3 when she talks about the fat child of a fat mother who is feeding her atrociously:

AGirl, who is 12 years old, wears ladies clothing in size 10-12 now. She very kindly brought down a bag of size 6-8 ladies clothing that she had grown out of for Pinkie (JB's daughter) to wear – lots of hoodies and yoga pants. Well Pinkie is still wearing children’s size 8, and there is no way she can wear AGirl’s clothing without duct tape and shoe laces tying it all on her. But guess who can? I didn’t think through what happened next, and I deeply regret it. When AGirl came over and saw that not only was I wearing her too small clothes, but they were actually fairly roomy on me, she was devastated. Her face crumpled. It was really terrible. I hurt her, most unintentionally, but more importantly, being fat is hurting her.

I have no time for HAES or fat acceptance. It's a denial of biology and reality, and doesn't empower women to be healthy, happy, fertile, or anything positive, really. All it does is foster a false sense of acceptance of oneself despite all evidence of your looming health issues.

There was a big name (can't recall, don't really care) in the FA movement who died a few years ago at age 34. The petty part of me chuckled. The rest of me just felt incredibly sorry that her delusions killed her.

[–]canyousmellechidna 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Question, why does she say “naturally skinny, my ass”?

No such thing as naturally skinny women or does she mean something else? I know several naturally skinny women, myself included, my own mom, friends, and strangers I see in my daily life. I don’t regularly work out, I go for walks, take care of the backyard farm (which requires some heavy lifting from time to time, like when moving 50lb bags of feed from car to feed barrel), I go on rigorous hikes for fun, but I am not overly muscular or toned. I am still pretty slim and petite bodied. I’ve always had a thigh gap. I’ve only ever had one person tell me that I need to go to the gym because of my weight being too small for them I guess, but I like myself the way I am.

My diet is so-so. Mostly healthy foods, lots of rice, greens, fermented foods, I drink milk, and occassionally I binge on sweets. It’s certainly possible to be naturally skinny based off of genetics and one’s metabolism.

[–]LateralThinker133 Stars 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Question, why does she say “naturally skinny, my ass”?

Probably because, while there ARE women such as yourself who are naturally skinny without rigorous exercise, the majority of skinny women you see on the street are that way because they work at it.

There is a suggestion by FA people that you are what your body wants to be and you can't change it. They say this so they can think they're being rational by also saying, "Some people are naturally fat" and, therefore, excusing them from having to try to be otherwise.

If you can't help being fat, then you can't be criticized for it, can you? That's their logic. They think this gives them the same defense as criticizing a black person for being black. "You can't be ableist against me! I was born fat and I can't help it! It's discrimination!"

[–]canyousmellechidna 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I know how those fat acceptance people are.. I have seen my fair share of them on social media. It doesn’t help that the majority of people don’t know the difference between fat and curvy, and men who like thick women enable fat women by calling them curvy.

I went to high school with a few overweight girls and they always called themselves curvy to make themselves feel better. Skip ahead to now, we’re all in our early twenties, and they’re basically obese (from having kids mostly). A lot of people give up on their health after having kids I’ve noticed. I’ve seen way more jumbo moms and dads than fit or skinny ones.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 0 points1 point  (1 child)

This article is awesome and on point! If the mods asked me for my (not so) humble opinion, I'd ask them to consider linking this article in the sidebar.

u/luckylittlestar u/pearlsandstilettos

[–]LateralThinker133 Stars 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Glad I could help. I consider Judgybitch to be one of the better voices out there regarding male-female interpersonal relations. Not PC at all but I love her.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (4 children)

To me, this is basically a matter of believing what he says and taking it at face value. Unless he outwardly says he's annoyed or irritated, chances are that he's not. At least not with you. It's hard for people to understand that not everyone else thinks the way that they do, and women are known to say one thing and mean another (sometimes without even realizing it). So our minds make that connection, which isn't ridiculous, but it's usually wrong when it comes to men. Men are extremely direct people, preferring to be blunt and to the point in almost everything they say and do. Almost to a fault. They have thought about what they are saying, and mean EXACTLY what they said. No more and no less. It's a really good thing to remember.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Unless he outwardly says he's annoyed or irritated, chances are that he's not

This is so true. Even now I will incorrectly read my husband expressions and body language. Whenever I ask if he's upset, he'll look at me like I'm nutty. Usually it's when he's just gotten home from work and is just worn out.

Hmm I should take my own advice sometimes :-P

[–]Guywithgirlwithabike2 Stars 2 points3 points  (0 children)

When you ask if I'm upset, it's implied that you mean upset with you, and not the lazy union guy on the assembly line at work. So yes, it is a bit nutty to think it's you who is pissing me off, especially when all you're doing is sitting on the couch looking pretty.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 0 points1 point  (1 child)

and women are known to say one thing and mean another (sometimes without even realizing it). So our minds make that connection, which isn't ridiculous, but it's usually wrong when it comes to men.

Of course it's ridiculous to think that x means y!

The word ridiculous connotes something that makes no sense logically. Logically speaking, it makes sense to take people's words at face value unless there's suspicion of something fishy. Emotionally speaking, it makes sense to find hidden meaning within regular words. To find the emotions that are underlying what's being said.

Men tend to think logically and that's why men tend to take words at face value. Women tend to think emotionally and that's why women tend to read implied meaning into the same words. This is ridiculous by definition but that doesn't mean that you're a ridiculous person. There are reasons why you're this way and it has its use, but that doesn't change the fact that this reaction (as useful as it might be), is ridiculous.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I more meant that it's not uncommon to find it hard to think outside your own way of thinking, however illogical it may be, and imagine how someone else might perceive a situation. In that way it wasn't quite so ridiculous to accidentally make a false connection between what YOU would think and what is ACTUALLY the case. Yes, this way of thinking is itself ridiculous. Better wording would have have my my point a little more clear. But thank you for pointing it out. It's good to be vigilant of proper wording.

[–]Muchadoaboutcass 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I bow to you!

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Well thank you...I think :-P

[–]Rivkariver2 Star 2 points3 points  (0 children)

All this means that if your man pulls away to gather his thoughts during hard discussions, it’s a good thing. A sign of a man aware of himself and constructive. Let him have the time.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 3 points4 points  (5 children)

“I don’t know what I’m thinking or feeling” is Man for: “I don't know what I’m thinking or feeling now but I will know later once I have time to process everything”

Same is true if he says he doesn't know what he's thinking. It means he can't formulate it yet.

Even more important, if a man is going to talk about something important, he needs to know that so he can include ‘how do I communicate this’ in the processing. Some men explained to the author that it is possible for them to think through everything and still not be able to talk about it. If they know ahead of time they will have to explain ‘why’ then that gets included in the thinking process.

This is very important. If you want him to open up and tell you what conclusion he came to when he's finished his contemplation, he needs to feel safe doing so. Wives need their husbands to make them feel physically safe, husbands need their wives to make them feel emotionally safe. If you pay attention you'll find that this is a huge concern across the manosphere. Many men (rightfully) conclude that being emotionally vulnerable with the modern woman is just too risky. If you want to be the exception to the rule, you'll need to earn it.

What this means is - it needs to be clear that it's okay for him to take space alone. That you won't intrude on that. That you'll be patient even if it takes time (it can takes days). That you'll be willing to revisit the issue next week. That you'll listen first without interruptions and acknowledge his pov before raising any issues you may have with his conclusion. That you'll do your best not to take things personally or get into an argument.

This comes back to the RPW axiom of being a soft landing spot.

Once again, we are brought back to the respect chapter. When he does something that we find inexplicable, do we respect our men as rational adults with pure motives... or are we thinking “well that was stupid, what was he thinking?” Mistakes are inevitable - a man’s ideas won’t always work out, but our ideas won’t always work out either. Disagreement is healthy and sometimes necessary. It is important that we go into a discussion or disagreement assuming the best intentions of your mate.

It's also worthwhile to add - you're both human and make mistakes. Neither of you will always be right or wrong. A difference of opinion (even when you're right and he's wrong) doesn't mean he's stupid. Treat him like he's stupid and he'll end up withdrawing. Treat him with respect and your relationship will flourish.

Give him time to process before asking him to communicate (Honey, I’d like to talk about X, when would be a good time?), or give him time to empty his brain before dumping more on him (that half hour after work that he needs to unwind can be crucial).

Both these points can't be stressed enough!

  1. Tell you you want to discuss x (tell him what it is), then ask when he'll be ready to talk.

  2. If you're in middle of a discussion, he should be allowed to stop in the middle if it's too much and he needs to process. (This is especially true if your discussion turns into an argument and moves from issue to issue. As a side point, don't do this. Stick to one topic at a time).

Excellent post! Can't wait for the next one.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (4 children)

It's also worthwhile to add - you're both human and make mistakes. Neither of you will always be right or wrong. A difference of opinion (even when you're right and he's wrong) doesn't mean he's stupid. Treat him like he's stupid and he'll end up withdrawing. Treat him with respect and your relationship will flourish.

This is one of these things that seems to hang up newbies and feminists alike. "How can I possibly follow him if he's only human" as though the woman asking the question is somehow super human and above being wrong.

My husband has had errors in judgement over the years (shhh don't tell him I told you) but on the whole, he's a strong leader. There are plenty of times that I've disagreed with him, followed him anyway and he turned out to be correct. We're human and neither of us is perfect. Miscalculations will happen no matter who is leading. (And fights will happen with two "leaders").

Sorry, I have no idea where that rant came from and it's off topic of "processing" but I'm posting it anyway :-P

Excellent post! Can't wait for the next one.

Geez, you are always giving me more work!! Next chapter is on men's drive to be a provider. It's a good one IIRC.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor -1 points0 points  (3 children)

There are plenty of times that I've disagreed with him, followed him anyway and he turned out to be correct.

The point remains even if he turns out to be incorrect. It's especially true when he turns out to be incorrect. Allow him to come around and admit his mistake. If you do, he will (unless he's a narcissist who can never be wrong). If you go straight to wracking him with "I told you so", he'll be less likely to bother trying to get it right next time.

Sorry, I have no idea where that rant came from and it's off topic of "processing" but I'm posting it anyway :-P

As a woman, you process through speaking it out 😉

Geez, you are always giving me more work!! Next chapter is on men's drive to be a provider. It's a good one IIRC.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As a woman, you process through speaking it out 😉

HA so true.

[–]Guywithgirlwithabike2 Stars 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There are reasons besides narcissism to explain my infallibility.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lol 😂

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

[deleted]

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Ha, yeah I know there are a few errors in there but I wanted to get it up before my client meetings started today. I should not be allowed to write anything at 6 am 😂

[–]DelicateDevelopment 0 points1 point  (3 children)

On the flip side, men don’t like to ask for directions because there is a sense of adventure in figuring it out. A woman, on the other hand would feel uncomfortable driving without directions because she doesn’t know where she’s going.

Adventure??? This is so scary :) Driving without knowing. I had an enlightenment reading this.

Thank you for posting.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

LOL I had the same reaction when I heard it.

I've learned over the years that the journey is more fun for my husband than the destination. It makes me antsy. Connecting that to the way that I converse make me get wide eyed.

Glad it helped you. :-)

[–]DelicateDevelopment 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am still laughing and shivering when I think about it. I guess it also applies to the beginning of a relationship and "the talk". Just don't. Don't. Let him have his adventure.