Ladies, I have some terrible news for you.
Bear with me because I also have some good news.
First the bad news. In puberty men and women begin to reveal their differences at physical, emotional and mental levels. Neural pathways for a woman divert to the right, into the emotional centre of the brain whilst for men it is up and to the left (Cite). One of the ways we see this reflected in the real world via modern mental health is that there is a high preponderance of men who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse, ADHD and anti social behaviours whilst women to tend to occupy depression and anxiety. (Cite)
There are men in this world who begin work from the moment that they wake up and continue working (bar eating and toilet breaks) until the minute they sleep. Many might characterise this as insane. I imagine many women will perceive this as some sort of psychopathy.
Women in their 30s who discover that promotion into senior roles often means 80 hours week tend not to respond positively to that understanding. Women will actively want some balance in their lives and for many that is where the path upwards stops. (Cite)
New research suggests that the reason that women experience anxiety much more intensely than most men is that you are designed to respond to demands that will exploit you.
Specifically you are designed to take absolute care of respond to every demand of a baby in the first 9 months of its life. Ask yourself this question? Can a baby be wrong during the 1st 9 months of its existence. The answer must be no, because there is no way that the baby can articulate anything beyond the fact that it is distressed. Whatever is going you, there has to be someone who responds to that distress, immediately, absolutely and unquestioningly. When a baby is 18 months old you can start delivering advice to it. You can’t tell an 8 month old baby to “get over itself”. Babies cannot be anything but unreasonable and exploitative. The high level of anxiety that women experience is designed to create this intense bond and keep baby alive.
This intense anxiety shows itself in women, whether they are mothers of infants on not. In the workplace, this anxiety shows itself in relation to men who women perceive as unreasonable and exploitative. Despite the negative association with men like this (in their minds) women find themselves facing anxiety in response to their unreasonable demands. Female clients of mine have been in receipt of male hands centimetres away from their face when speaking, being told to “Get back in their box!” or reinforced constantly with the view that they are “too much hard work”. For many of my clients the response to this unreasonable feedback is to attempt to be perceived as agreeable. Alternatively this can kick start behaviours that will confirm rather than change the perception of those delivering the feedback. The logical mind is especially clever at finding logical reasons for you to avoid engaging with people you just find to be disagreeable.
Here is the good news.
Neural pathways are not set in stone. It used to be that we could say the brain was divided into 2 halves. Then we were told we can’t say that, it’s much more complicated. Then Katherine Bensinger came along with her research and we ended up saying – the brain is divided into 2 halves, and it’s more complicated than that too.
Katherine Bensinger identifies 4 separate quadrants in the brain.
These 4 quadrant break down as
Katherine tells us that there are neural pathways left and right and up and down. There are none diagonally. This explains why people who are strong on logic often struggle with expressing themselves emotionally and why creative people, often very strong in emotion, find organising themselves logically so very difficult.
Katherine Bensinger tells us that we are all born favouring one of the quadrants over the other three. As we grow up and start to function as adults our ability to favour the quadrants adjacent to our favoured. This allows us to be more flexible as we grow older. New neural pathways can be built in our lifetime. In order to build them we have to practise. It’s harder work that working in our favoured quadrant. Little but often practise within an adjacent quadrant is going to awaken new neural networks into that quadrant and make it easier to operate in that space.
We know that generally the neural pathways of women bend to the right so they experience anxiety more vividly than men. With practice women can build new pathways that will allow them to engage in conversations more often and easily than before when they experienced more anxiety.
The more than women understand how their brains have been designed, the easier it will be for you to escape that programming and create new results.