References to the pathology of empathy have been scarce here lately. It has raised its head again. Finally an opportunity presents itself in the form of a comment that follows an article in Psychology Today titled New Study Shows Being Hen-pecked Does Not Work-Capitulation is not the answer.
First though, finding an article that points out how henpecking is a bad thing, that didn’t blame men (1), and that lacked the requisite question “but what if he will not do anything?” (2) seemed too good to be true. And it was. Not only does Psychology Today maintain those two positions, it adds a third one; once henpecked by her, the husbands capitulation is bad for the woman. The poor things get anxious and frustrated.(3)
The Arizona study found that girlfriends and wives are not fooled by this capitulation and that this “no mas” defense actually antagonizes and frustrates these women(3), who then have a lower opinion of the relationship because there is no real satisfactory resolution of the conflict.
An anxious frustrated woman is left with no choice but to nag more. Another article in psychology Today (By the same guy!) says she is left with no choice because the dude will otherwise not do anything:
During the honeymoon stage of the relationship this kind of husband was more than glad to lend a hand around the house and be Mr Fix-It because the reward of sweet, new, fresh sexual intimacy was awaiting him. But after the thrill is gone, (2)he loses histo listen to this annoying stranger who is always pestering him with an endless list of “honey-do’s” and foiling his hidden agenda. With that mindset, it is any wonder that this kind of husband doesn’t respond when asked to do chores? When they remain undone, what is the wife to do?
The guy was posing as someone who was interested in her because he was getting fresh new sex. Then, after the thrill wanes, the louse will just not do anything anymore. His hidden agenda was sex. Now she must be a nagging shrew in order to get him to do something around the house. Perfectly understandable. In one instance he is damned if he does, in the other damned if he doesn’t. Only a hamster can process such nonsense.
Allegedly women really want the man to stand up for himself and tell her how he feels about things.
These hen-pecked men will kindle a simmering resentment from living with an incompatible mate, but rarely openly voice their true feelings (2)
Eventually many women discover that their one time Prince Charming has no core beliefs besides pleasing her. These wives and girlfriends will lose all respect for their spineless men who stand for nothing.(2)
Does the woman really want to know how the guy feels? Or does commenter Normally a Lurker have a point when he writes:
It’s hard to assess the conclusions of the study since this article didn’t get into the details. However, this quote: “68% of men preferred to say, ‘yes dear’ or ‘uh huh’ instead of sharing their true feelings” (1) suggests that the ultimate goal of the conflict is for men to state their true feelings. It should be obvious from real life experience that in a conflict about feelings, the woman almost always wants the man to feel the same way as she does — she does NOT simply want to know how he feels. If the men in the study already know this, and they know that they feel differently than the woman, the most rational way to end the conflict is to pretend to agree.
What he is talking about is empathy and the craving of same. If a man expresses a different feeling the woman will argue that his feelings are invalid. She will have a meandering solipsistic incomprehensible case to state, often saying things that are both 100% correct and utterly irrelevant because those things too invoke the feelings that she is wanting to share with him, knowing he feels exactly the same. She will accept nothing short.
Eventually many women discover that their one time Prince Charming has no core beliefs besides pleasing her. These wives and girlfriends will lose all respect for their spineless men who stand for nothing.
Humor is so often based on truth, especially humor about gender relations. The spinning hamster wheel is a perfect representation of the never ending worry women subject themselves to as they go about their days. How do they manage to sleep? Is not nagging a form of pop off valve that her worry will not explode her head?
1. He was a dude before marriage. Now he is subdued.
2. She leads a double life: hers and his.
3. He comes right out and says what she tells him to think.
4. If she wanted his opinion she’d give it to him
Men do not want to clean up an exploded head. That’s the funny point. More, men do not want to clean up an exploded marriage, that’s the tragic point.
None of it is funny anymore. Its bloody offensive. Its a lie. The only cure for these lies is submission. Submission is far more than the opposite of hen pecking.
I used to be a little bit uncomfortable when men started writing in absolute terms about all women are liars even though, at the same time I have written that many/most women at once claim the high road on integrity while lying regularly. I have heard and read women lecturing that the ONE thing they WILL NOT tolerate is lying. My wife has said that over the years and it took me quite some convincing to show the folly of it.
There are two issue there. The false sanctimony, and the lying. If we can eliminate the first one and accept that the other one comes with the package we can reach an accord. I could fill the page with examples of things that represented what appeared to be overt agreement with the husband while in fact they were cleverly designed statements that allowed for exceptions to change the agreed direction. These lies are amazingly clever. So clever that I submit they are not planned but are instinctive. This makes them more difficult to address. The article on henpecking is chock full of these in a very obvious way. Other scenarios are not so obvious.
Here are some statements I found at the blog NO MA’AM regarding females and truth aversion.
There can be no resolution of problems because there is no transparency, no introspective honesty on their part. What they want, as far as this goes, is to be heard, not to communicate. The act of being heard by another is addictive to them. If you are a good listener and can clamp down on your own need to say stuff, you can manipulate how they see you, and, indirectly, how they treat you
The same writer speaks well to the issue of nagging here:
This female clock is really driving me mad, for her quarrelsome din doesn’t stop for a moment. The tongue of a quarrelsome woman never tires of chiming in. She even drowns out the sound of the church bell. A nagging wife couldn’t care less whether her words are wise or foolish, provided that the sound of her own voice can be heard. She simply pursues her own ends; there’s not a grain of sense in what she says; in fact she finds it impossible to have a decent thought. She doesn’t want her husband to be the boss and finds fault with everything he does. Rightly or wrongly, the husband has no choice: he has to put up with the situation and keep his mouth shut if he wants to remain in one piece. No man, however self disciplined or clear-sighted he may be, can protect himself adequately against this. A husband has to like what the wife likes, and disapprove of what she hates and criticize what she criticizes so that her opinions appear to be right. So anyone who wishes to immolate himself on the altar of marriage will have a lot to put up with. Fifteen times, both day and night, he will suffer without respite and he will be sorely tormented. Indeed, I believe that this torture is worse than the torments of hell, with its chains, fire, and iron.
and uses a quote to inadvertantly buttress the need for submission here (emphasis mine):
Whether from shyness or precaution or artifice, a woman never speaks out her whole thought, and moreover what she herself knows of it is but a part of what it really is. Complete frankness seems to be impossible to her, and complete self-knowledge seems to be forbidden her. If she is a sphinx to us, it is because she is a riddle of doubtful meaning even to herself. She has no need of perfidy, for she is mystery itself. A woman is something fugitive, irrational, indeterminable, illogical, and contradictory. A great deal of forbearance ought to be shown her, and a good deal of prudence exercised with regard to her, for she may bring about innumerable evils without knowing it, capable of all kinds of devotion, and of all kinds of treason, “monstre incompréhensible,” raised to the second power, she is at once the delight and the terror of men.” — The Intimate Journal of Henri Amiel, Dec. 26, 1868
Men want to stay where words mean very specific things, thoughts are fully expressed and available to be assailed if needed, and truth and logic direct a topic to an end that represents the triumph of reason. Even if it is wrong, that’s what men are after. When empathy becomes the measure of truth for debate, and when empathy becomes the goal in hen pecking, it is empathy we need to be wary of and relegate it to the status of found or easy money. Its cool if you happen across some, but a life spent looking for it is a life poorly spent.