Are your ears on?

I read a post recently about why women are more stressed out than men. It included suggestions on how the two genders could eradicate the inevitable escalation that typically occurs when men just "don't get it" or make the fatal mistake of responding "calm down." The article was written by a clinical psychologist, so please don't get your panties in a wad thinking I am wasting your time quoting some random blogger with no backing other than their glorified opinion.

But then again, here you are reading ;)

Anyway, the validation of emotions struck home for me. More than anything I loathe being told I am overly emotional, or that someone else doesn't feel that way. Fabulous, since I was stating how I feel I can totally see why it matters that you don't feel or think the same way.
Um, no.
In that moment you have the option to sympathize and listen, thus connecting on a more human level.
I am not asking for you to agree or be my therapist, just for you to hear that I am expressing verbally how I feel.  What ends up happening when you respond with an explanation of how you don't feel/think that way is that I translate what you said in my head as I should not feel/think that way either. Whether intended or not, that's how it is received.

Clearly we should live in a world of automatons that all think and feel exactly the same way. Why are you telling me this? I am sharing a vulnerability of mine and you are swatting it down. Maybe you are actually thinking you should feel the same way, I don't know.
I simply feel invalidated.

Now let us for a moment further transition this to how it affects someone not fully capable of processing their emotions, whether due to depression or anxiety or some other reason (maybe developmentally they aren't there yet, any parents of toddlers?). The emotionally charged mind now feels inferior.

How would someone take such an assessment of themselves? Perhaps they would agree with being incapable of controlling how they feel or how they are analyzing certain situations. This might lead to thoughts that being irritated by something so irrational means weakness. Strong people don't lose control.
Only the weak cry.


You see it does not matter how you interpret it; which is not to say you don't matter, of course you do.
When I am sharing with someone how I feel all I really want is for them to listen.
Typically ANYONE yelling how they feel or crying is only asking to be heard.

My latest attempt at not being a yelling parent is to turn listening into something fun. I will ask my two year old if his ears are on, he even goes so far as to pretend to turn his ear knobs.  It's pretty darn cute, and is occasionally effective. But it is not only toddlers who need reminding to turn their ears on sometimes.

Are yours on?


  1. This can be hard -- for me and my husband, I think we're reversed from the standard gender roles here. I'm a fixer, and I feel like there are often things to be done to make situations better. One of my pet peeves is someone complaining about the same thing multiple times without doing anything about it. But also, his needing to be listened to is in the form of angry venting, and not so much teary unloading. It's hard to just sit through sometimes, without saying anything. At least I think you have a good sense that there's some internal component to your feelings vs just the external scenario. "Hangriness" (hungry/angry) affects a lot in our house. :D


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