TToT 16:2 The Man-Brain Revelation

To: Wakefield Doctrine (the personality theory of clarks, scotts and rogers, donchaknow)

Date: 22.09.2013

Subject: The rogerian side…

Dear Clark

I remember a long time ago. And not so long ago. And probably quite recently, admitting difficulty with engaging with my rogerian side. You know, the one which ‘feels’ first. Responds with understanding. Is part of a group, a ‘herd’ if you will, and which knows, quite instinctively, how to ‘do’ things like inclusion, empathy, sympathy and ‘joined in-ness’.

So, with this in mind, I embarked upon a mission today.

My church had a ‘pastoral care’ day, and I thought I could go along and see if they had some useful hints and tips to develop this side of me (never letting on that I was undercover for the Wakefield Doctrine, yaknow, as well as being there on purpose) and work on that.

Well. It was a revelation.

First of all we had to find someone we didn’t know, and pair up with them for a listening exercise. I engaged my full-on scottian side (hunter, predator; I’m’a gonna getcha side) and quickly found someone to work with (nicely though – I didn’t scare them – smiled and everything). So the first exercise was that person A (me) had to talk, and person B (her) had to ‘out-loud ignore’ them. So I talked. Then we swapped. Then as a larger group, we fed back to the course leader.

Leader: How did you feel when you weren’t listened to?
Other people: Ignored, rejected, uncared-for, irritated, frustrated, angry, upset, hurt etc.
Me: I felt Machiavellian. I enjoyed being a bit outrageous and putting little conversational hooks out there, because I *knew* I was being ‘ignored out-loud’ and I wanted to see if I could get a rise out of her.
Leader: Oh LIZZI!
Other people: *collective eye-roll and a few swiftly-smothered giggles*

Oops! clark-side, get BACK IN YOUR BOX! Stop enjoying this! You’re ruining it for everyone! There is a point to this exercise and quit trying to be CLEVER you silly sod!

Later on was the exercise I really wanted to do. The role plays. Where we got into threes and were given a ‘challenging personal situation’ scenario each. Person A had to question Person B, and try to gently support them in their given scenario. Person C had to observe person A’s technique and then feed back.

I didn’t do great. I tried to fix it. I kept offering solutions, in spite of nodding and making ‘encouraging noises’. In spite of my ‘great eye contact’ and ‘good body language’. I didn’t empathise. The ‘situation’ was really tough, and the character was so vulnerable and under so much pressure, Clark, I just wanted to make the pressure go away so they could catch a break and catch their breath a little!

Then we did group feedback as a whole to the course leader. The women were saying things about empathy, sympathy, compassion – all those wonderful things I wanted to learn about. Then a man piped up “Well, I’m afraid I found myself offering solutions.”

At which point the course leader stood up and announced loudly to the group “Yes, and this is an important point – men’s brains work differently. They are much more likely to try to ‘fix’ things, rather than be empathic. And this can be a really useful tool, but bear in mind that in a caring scenario, sometimes what is more useful is what the women bring – the empathy, sympathy and compassion.”

And in a small voice, as an addendum “Of course, sometimes this can happen the other way around, and men can be the ‘touchy-feely’ ones and women can be the ‘fixers’.” But with a slight lack of conviction.

Absolutely stricken, I turned to my friend and said “Oh NO! I’ve got a big ol’ MAN BRAIN! I *totally* tried to fix things! I wasn’t empathic AT ALL!”

She helpfully dissolved into a puddle of giggles and was of absolutely no constructive use whatsoever, managing to gasp out (between snorts of laughter) “She did say that it sometimes works the other way around…”

Yours frustratedly-seeking-a-solution


Onward and upward, friends, for I just figured out how to fix my upset outrage concern about having a Man-Brain: a big shiny distraction in the form of

Ten Things of THANKFUL!

10.Β  I remembered how to complete marble solitaire TWICE today, without messing it up or needing to look at the solution online.

9. It was a rest day on Saturday from the squats regime. Which was great, but there are 120 to do today! But I am determined to get that crown (see yesterday’s post).

8. I get to go to church in surf shorts. Emma is renewing her baptismal vows and has stupidly generously chosen me to be one of the two people in the ‘dunk tank’, ‘helping’ her. I have yet to decide how long I’ll hold her under, and have been having a lot of fun teasing her encouraging her in this next step in her faith.

She’s having a party at her house afterwards, so there’s gonna be good food, too.

7. I got to wear my gorrrrrgeous necklace out today, and collected about four more sets of compliments on it. It is truly stunning, and I wear it like armour (yes, okay, vanity armour) and I feel the same way about it as I do about my gorgeous shoes (also compliment-collectors): FANTASTIC πŸ™‚

6. I got two books in the post. One was ‘Self Compassion’ by Kristen Neff; the other is a guide to Diabetic Retinopathy, so I can swot up ready for my new job. It’s surprisingly tiny, but full of writing and fascinating insights into my new professional world.

5. I made delicious sweet’n’sour chicken noodles for tea tonight. They were delicious. And I invented the recipe. And so can you πŸ˜‰

4. I am LOVING watching Bewitched with Husby. Can’t believe I’ve never been introduced to it until NOW! I have been missing out all my life!

3. I was honoured with a spot in the Hall of Fame over at The Insomniac’s Dream for a post I did earlier in the week. High praise indeed – thank you Starr πŸ™‚

2. I was able to provide a laugh for a friend who needed some cheering up, and it made my heart happy that my silliness gave her a giggle.

1. I have been debating about sharing this song on the blog, because I know that certain people who read it will not appreciate it at all, but it makes me giggle and I think it’s an excellent riposte to the original song. For another excellent riposte to the original song, and why it’s really Not Good News, visit Bad Habits and Blurred Lines, by Sarah at ‘Left Brain Buddha’.

Please feel free to not watch the if you’re easily offended by rude words or militant feminism (though it really is very, very cleverly and hilariously done, so maybe you should give it a try).


Β Don’t say I didn’t try to warn ya.

Who else is with me for a second round of Thankfulness? Bring on your Twosies!

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful
Β Your hosts

44 thoughts on “TToT 16:2 The Man-Brain Revelation

  1. Only a little πŸ˜‰

    *GRINS* yeah ya do!

    I still haven't come across Tabitha! To be honest, none of the acting is stellar, but so far the series is good fun.

    And double yay! for the last two πŸ˜€


  2. I'm assuming the water didn't sizzle when you got in with Emma? πŸ˜‰

    Love the necklace! Wish I had one just like it. OH, WAIT! I DOOOOOO!!!

    I watched Bewitched as a kid, but I didn't love it. Although my best friend and I used to pretend to be Samantha and cast spells. And the casting of Tabitha was terrible. Out of all the child actors in Hollywood, they found one that couldn't act?

    You are always good at cheering people up. Always!

    And you know I loved the Blurred Lines parody!


  3. Lucky you, having a man-brain while being a woman! (I've got one, too, so I know what I'm talking about.)
    Just think about it, you've got an ability which many people lack: understanding of the greater picture enough to find solutions – yet compassion enough to care not only for the problem but for the person, too (even if you don't feel you can do the second bit too well). Communication skills are something you can work on, whereas having an ability is a gift. Believe me, being a woman with a man-brain can be challenging but at the same time it's such a privilege! Go work on the more female bits if you think you're not very good at them and at the same time make the best use of your man-brain. Like solving the problem of not being able to just listen. πŸ˜‰


  4. Sorry you fell off your shoes!

    I can see this is a 'soapbox' for you, and to me it underlines more that I need to do this learning and begin to understand, empathically, what others are on about.

    The thing is, a wise counsellor I know, said I need to learn to be emotionally in touch with my own feelings (as opposed to intellectually in touch) before I will have sufficient understanding or ability to really hear someone else's hurts and just support them by listening.

    *sigh* It's worthwhile though, I'm sure. I just hope that book will help!


  5. Your necklace is gorgeous. I saw your other post with the shoes – pretty but I could never wear them. Once I had a job interview, but no shoes to wear. A friend said I could borrow a pair of hers. First pair I tried (maybe 4 inch heels) I feel over, so I dropped an inch. Still far too wobbly. In the end I gave up and went back to my raggedy old flats. Did I get the job? It's so long ago I can't remember.

    I'm not really known for ranting, but really what that woman said about women being empathetic and men being fixers does irritate me a little. All that “men are from Mars and women from Venus” stuff irritates me a little in fact! We all have both sides in us. Years ago I read about research that found mothers responded differently to a baby's cry depending on its gender – they were more likely to say a boy was angry and a girl sad or frightened.

    I worked for a while on a helpline and during the counselling training we were told that we had to avoid trying to 'fix' people but instead to empathise. So one day, the head honcho (a woman) was supervising, and I was empathising away, but she didn't like the way things were going, so she started telling me what to say and it was all trying to fix. Very rapidly the caller hung up. Truth is, most of us don't like when someone tries to fix us, but all of us do it at times. My daughter got mad on me for it not long ago.

    And most of us do it (try to fix) for exactly the reason you gave in a comment – because we find it hard to see someone upset. But generally speaking, if you allow people to feel their feelings, they actually feel better even if the “problem” isn't fixed.

    So I'll stop ranting on now. Hope the first day at work went well.


  6. Heheheh I'm glad I made you laugh. Hope you got funny looks from your colleagues πŸ˜‰ – it went really well. She didn't panic, I didn't drown nor drop her, so we're all good.

    I reckon you've a good excuse not to be that great at squats at the moment – pelvic floor exercises for you though, missy!


  7. the necklace is adorable and go girl with the squats. If climbing a set of stairs is any indication of what I can do in a gym then I'm wrothless. But honestly number 8 had me covering my mouth (i'm at work) giggling. YOU ARE HYSTERICAL. hahah hold her under just long enough to make her panic!!!


  8. Thank you! I can practice those at least! πŸ˜€

    (On the 'listening' exercise, I wasn't bad at all – it was the 'questioning' I fell down on and brung the 'fixing' into…this I will still need to learn more about, I feel!)


  9. I'm gonna call you later and give you some practice tips for being a “lady-like listener”, mkay?

    Just smile and nod, my friend. Smile and nod.

    Or wait- make a painful face (like you smelled something really bad) and nod. Painful face and nod.


    Drop your jaw down a bit, close and open your eyes like you can't believe what you are hearing and nod.

    Last option:

    Just look at them. Shut the hell up and look at them. When they seem done with their rant, story, experience… then breath in a long inhale- then exhale slowly, while nodding. Lean in and hug the person. Hold on until they say “thank you”. And…

    THERE you have it!! You are no longer a guy. πŸ˜‰


  10. If you 'feel' first, that may well indicate a strong rogerian aspect. It's fun to find out though, and learn to use it as a tool to help understand your own mindset and use the knowledge to your advantage.

    I hope you're right! People are people. Just some are man-brain people! πŸ˜‰

    The necklace is AMAZING! I am so lucky to have a clever friend who made it. Glad you like it over here πŸ˜€


  11. lol

    the vid (of course!)

    nice work Mata!

    (one thing that the Doctrine has that nobody else does!… 'everyone does everything at one time or another' it is not whether you fit a category or even a description… it is 'how do you relate yourself the world around you' )
    (clarks are the empathy Godzillas of the whole damn human race)


  12. Okay, so I have yet to actually study the Doctrine, though based on your assessment, I am pretty sure I am a roger, but I do have some “must fix that” tendencies. But my need to fix is usually based on my emotional response, so what does that mean about me? LOL! I think the whole gender roles and stereotyping is crapola for the most part. People are people.

    I love love that necklace! SO pretty! And I must say I did find the parody funny. I love your TToT:2 entries! πŸ™‚


  13. Apparently people like to talk about their feelings and feel 'heard'. I get that. I just don't understand how to do it. I'm now able to articulate my own, but goodness, ask me to deal with anyone else feeling frustrated/upset/vulnerable and I'm all about wanting to MakeItGoAway.

    Not in a nasty way, especially not with friends…I just don't like to see/hear people upset and just…listen…without trying to help. So I barge on in with my 'fixing' and tend to railroad any emotions they might've been trying to share.

    STILL not good with emotions.

    Emma's still alive. I was a good girl. I held her under only very briefly. And had much fun as I got into the water only to be asked (at the top of his voice) by the boy who told me about my 'strawberry' scent, “IS THE WATER WARM???” from all of 12″ away from my ear. *sigh*

    Thanks. Will be around (briefly) later tonight. But will feed back soon anyways, one way or another πŸ™‚


  14. Hahaha!! I've known for a very long time that I do not have a woman's brain. At all. I am all about solving problems. I do not see the benefit of simply stating a problem and just leaving it hang there to dry and not get solved. Like a preposition or participle, don't leave the problem dangling!
    Praying all day you don't hold Emma under so long that she comes up gasping for air. πŸ™‚
    Good luck tomorrow if I don't get to talk with you first!


  15. The shoes were yesterday – first link in the link-up. You can order them – I'm sure.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one with accessory-armour (and that you 'get' what I'm talking about.

    I KNOW! I am catching up.

    Enjoy the vid when you return πŸ™‚


  16. Well it half-worked, didn't it – your dishwasher got possessed! It's good fun.

    The necklace is awesome – made by a friend, highly limited edition, and only an exclusive set of people have them.


  17. Your post is far more considered a riposte (why I included it) and yes, the vid takes it way too far in the opposite direction (presumably to prove the point, and hopefully tongue-in-cheek).

    Thanks πŸ™‚ Can't wait to wear the shoes and the necklace together.


  18. Where's the link to the gorgeous shoes? Is it the sneakers you got? I never did check to see if I could order them but I haven't forgotten about them. Love that necklace too. I wear one like it's armor as well. So to buy me a necklace is a waist of money because I never take mine off unless i have to wear something fancy.
    #4 – You seriously never watched Bewitched? Wow you did miss out.

    And dangit – thanks for the warning. I have to come back to the video.


  19. You just starting watching Bewitched!! What fun! I loved it as a kid but secretly am quite mad at it, I have been twitching my nose for years now and still have not managed to clean my house that way!! And, your necklace it gorgeous!!!!


  20. Thanks for the link to my post! I have seen the parody video — i have mixed feelings…. the solution to objectifying women is not objectifying men, but at least it points out the double standards.

    Gorgeous necklace… gorgeous shoes…. I love your style!!!


  21. That's sure what I do! Try to catch up on who's been around here, respond to their lovely comments, hook them in etc.

    Those girls are awesome! I now follow them on Twitter, and they're pretty hardcore feminazis but legal-y, smart cookie types.

    I really hope you're right about the crazy=awesome thing, because I'm still not finding myself learning sympathy…

    Hope your Sunday goes really well too – speak soon, and thank you πŸ™‚


  22. Just rolled out of bed. brushed my teeth. Got my coffee. And read Lizzie's blog. That's what everyone does right? The parody was too funny! Those girls are great. LOVE your necklace! Good on you for trying something new, and don't worry about your man brain, I've been accused of that one as well. I think it makes us our own special breed (of crazy) of awesome. Have a Great rest of your Sunday and if we don't chat again before Monday, GOOD LUCK TOMORROW!!!


  23. It's a fun one, right?

    I've not gotten far enough into Bewitched yet for them to start to annoy me – I'm halfway through series 1 – there's time πŸ˜‰

    OH! That's a book I'm meant to have been reading sometime. Yeah. That didn't happen…

    Glad I'm not the only MB (ManBrain) around *sigh*. This is why I've always been better friends with boys. I 'get' them. They're straightforward.


  24. love the parody… was never that fond of Bewitched but loved the book I mentioned last week about the kid who wants to be Endora… I guess I never bought that Darren and Sam always were selling her witchcraft off as commercial slogans so Larry could make a buck! I do love your Clark query… Im sure youre aware the whole premise of that 80s/90s Venus and Mars pop-psych culture was on the idea that mens brains are different because they are fixers and women just want to be heard and understood… bull****… like I never want to fix anything with my “big ol'man brain?” Girlfriend, I feel your pain!


  25. Ohhh I am way jealous of the nose-twitch! I would have SUCH a clean, tidy house if only I could do that magic! Course, I'd also be zapping around the world to visit all my bloggy friends and I'd never get anything done, but then if Husby could also be a world-class, top-paid advertising exec, then perhaps it could work πŸ˜‰

    Glad the vid made you laugh – I knew that you of all people would appreciate it πŸ˜€ You are my staunch, illicit-fellow-lover-of-the-original-too.


  26. Love your necklace and you already know I love jewelry of any kind. And I still love the show Bewitched and seriously wish I could twitch my nose like Samantha could!! Last but not least that Blurred Lines parody video is the best and made my Saturday night. Thank you!!! πŸ™‚


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