Vive la difference!

I recently attended a two day workshop entitled Understanding Men, Celebrating Women. It was facilitated by Alison Armstrong the creator of an organization called Pax which offers a number of workshops with the goal of helping men and women understand each other. It’s based on her nearly 20 years of research and interviews with men! I found it fascinating and had many ‘aha’ moments. One of the insights she shared and that resonated with me was that the main cause of frustration and confusion between men and women is that we assume we are versions of each other instead of having quite different motivations and world views. When we women don’t get what we want from men we treat them as if they are misbehaving versions of women and punish them in a wide range of ways. A few are:  withholding affection, sex, communication, pretending we don’t need them, make fun of them, mother them, be a better man then he is, pretend to negotiate, generate jealousy to keep him off balance, criticize and then manipulate to get what we want.  By understanding each others different motivations and world views we can get both get what we want and need from each other and have more satisfying relationships. Alison says it much better than I so I refer you to the Pax website for the books and cds: http://www.understandmen.com/cmsw/index.html   I purchased the book Making Sense of Men which is brief and I plan to share it with my daughters. I will blog more on some of the many insights I gained. I’ve already found it helpful in my sessions with couples. “Vive la difference!” makes more sense when we discover what the real difference is!

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