Have you heard of this book: Why Men Never Remember; Women Never Forget? This is a great book by a woman named Marianne J Legato. Legato addresses a biological and fundamental differences between men and women. Interestingly enough, she cites more than just our differences in upbringing, but the actual anatomical differences between men and women in our brains.
The fact is that men and women react to stress differently – women have more connections between their amygdala – the portion of the brain that writes memories and the rest of their brain. They can associate and actively write their memories in the same breath. They also tend to use both sides of the brain when they are arguing, clarifying arguments in rich language while men tend to use only one side of the brain and they are very focal oriented – in essence, identify, solve, move on while women are more like jugglers keeping several balls up in the air.
More on the Anatomy of the Mind
I’m not a specialist or a scientist, but the arguments made by Legato are layered in scientific understanding of the mind of both men and women. Stress is another factor – because women have more estrogen in their bodies – they react to stress by releasing even more cortisol – this raises their blood pressure, increases the heart rate and puts them into even more battle readiness than men when it comes to upset and arguments.
This is part of the reason why men are able to push past an argument more quickly than a woman is. What I like about Legato’s book is that she states that we are not bound by our biological imperatives. We can educate our brains to respond differently. For women, this may mean taking the time to be more linear and slow down the mass connections between their feelings and communication making it more economical. Men on the other hand can work on their listening skills and observing body language to create more relationships between what they are hearing and seeing and what they are feeling.
If we practice, we can teach our minds to think and respond differently. Men and women are biologically different – we learn differently, we respond differently and we think differently. But recognizing these differences, we can enhance our ability to communicate and relate to each other and embrace the differences as positives rather than negatives.