WHEN MARTIANS DON'T TALK
One of the big challenges for men is correctly to interpret and support a woman when she is talking about her feelings. The biggest challenge for women is correctly to interpret and support a man when he isn't talking. Silence is most easily misinterpreted by women. Quite often a man will suddenly stop communicating and become silent. This was unheard of on Venus. At first a woman thinks the man is deaf. She thinks that maybe he doesn't hear what's being said and that is why he is not responding. You see men and women think and process information very differently. Women think out loud, sharing their process of inner discovery with an interested listener. Even today, a woman often discovers what she wants to say through the process of just talking. This process of just letting thoughts flow freely and expressing them out loud helps her to tap into her intuition. This process is perfectly normal and especially necessary sometimes. But men process information very differently. Before they talk or respond, they first silently "mull over" or think about what they have heard or experienced. Internally and silently they figure out the most correct or useful response. They first formulate it inside and then express it. This process could take from minutes to hours. And to make matters even more confusing for women, if he does not have enough information to process an answer, a man may not respond at all. Women need to understand that when he is silent, he is saying "I don't know what to say yet, but I am thinking about it." Instead what they hear is "I am not responding to you because I don't care about you and I am going to ignore you. What you have said to me is not important and therefore I am not responding." Now She Reacts to His Silence Women misinterpret a man's silence. Depending on how she is feeling that day she may begin to imagine the very worst-"He hates me, he doesn't love me, he is leaving me forever." This may then trigger her deepest fear, which is "I am afraid that if he rejects me then I will never be loved. I don't deserve to be loved." When a man is silent it is easy for a woman to imagine the worst because the only times a woman would be silent are when what she had to say would be hurtful or when she didn't want to talk to a person because she didn't trust him anymore and wanted to have nothing to do with hirn. No wonder women become insecure when a man suddenly becomes quiet! When a woman listens to another woman, she will continue to reassure the speaker that she is listening and that she cares. Instinctively when the speaker pauses the female listener will reassure the speaker by making reassuring responses like "oh, uh-huh, hmmm, ah, ah-ha, or humph." Without these reassuring responses, a man's silence can be very threatening. Through understanding a man's cave, women can learn to interpret a man's silence correctly, and to respond to it.
Understanding the Cave
Women have a lot to learn about men before their relationships can be really fulfilling. They need to learn that when a man is upset or stressed he will automatically stop talking and go to his "cave" to work things out. They need to learn that no one is allowed in that cave, not even the man's best friends. This was the way it was on Mars. Women should not become scared that they have done something terribly wrong. They need gradually to learn that if you just let men go into their caves, after a while they will come out and everything will be fine. This lesson is difficult for women because on Venus one of the golden rules was never to abandon a friend when she was upset. It just doesn't seem loving to abandon her favorite Martian when he is upset. Because she cares for him, a woman wants to come into his cave and offer him help. In addition, she often mistakenly assumes that if she could ask him lots of questions about how he is feeling and he a good listener, then he would feel better. This only upsets Martians more. She instinctively wants to support him in the way that she would want to be supported. Her intentions are good, but the outcome is counterproductive. Both men and women need to stop offering the method of caring they would prefer and start to learn the different ways their partners think, feel, and react. Why Men Go Into Their Caves Men go into their caves or become quiet for a variety of reasons. 1. He needs to think about a problem and find a practical solution to the problem. 2. He doesn't have an answer to a question or a problem. Men were never taught to say "Gee, I don't have an answer. I need to go into my cave and find one." Other men assume he is doing just that when he becomes quiet. 3. He has become upset or stressed. At such times he needs to be alone to cool off and find his control again. He doesn't want to do or say anything he might regret. 4. He needs to find himself. This fourth reason becomes very important when men are in love. At times they begin to lose and forget themselves. They can feel that too much intimacy robs them of their power. They need to regulate how close they get. Whenever they get too close so as to lose themselves, alarm bells go off and they are on their way into the cave. As a result they are rejuvenated and find their loving and powerful self again. Why Women Talk Women talk for a variety of reasons. Sometimes women talk for the same reasons that men stop talking. These are four common reasons that women talk: 1. To convey or gather information. (This is generally the only reason a man talks.) 2. To explore and discover what it is she wants to say. (He stops talking to figure out inside what he wants to say. She talks to think out loud.) 3. To feel better and more centered when she is upset. (He stops talking when he is upset. In his cave he has a chance to cool off.)
4. To create intimacy. Through sharing her inner feelings she is able to know her loving self. (A Martian stops talking to find himself again. Too much intimacy, he fears, will rob him of himself.) Without this vital understanding of our differences and needs it is easy to see why couples struggle so much in relationships. Getting Burned by the Dragon It is important for women to understand not to try and get a man to talk before he is ready. While discussing this topic in one of my seminars. a Native American shared that in her tribe mothers would instruct young women getting married to remember that when a man was upset or stressed he would withdraw into his cave. She was not to take it personally because it would happen from time to time. It did not mean that he did not love her. They assured her that he would come back. But most important they warned the young woman never to follow him into his cave. If she did then she would get burned by the dragon who protected the cave. Much unnecessary conflict has resulted from a woman following a man into his cave. Women just haven't understood that men really do need to be alone or silent when they are upset. When a man withdraws into his cave a woman just doesn't understand what is happening. She naturally tries to get him to talk. If there is a problem she hopes to nurture him by drawing him out and getting him to talk about it. She asks "Is there something wrong?" He says "No." But she can feel he is upset. She wonders why he is withholding his feelings. Instead of letting him work it out inside his cave she unknowingly interrupts his internal process. She asks again "I know something is bothering you, what is it?" He says "It's nothing." She asks "It's not nothing. Something's bothering you. What are you feeling?" He says "Look, I'm fine. Now leave me alone!" She says "How can you treat me like this? You never talk to me anymore. How am I supposed to know what you are feeling? You don't love me. I feel so rejected by you." At this point he loses control and begins saying things that he will regret later. His dragon comes out and hums her.