I try to make every day count, to find joy and purpose, to connect in a positive way with those I love most. The day started this morning with a woodpecker pecking at my window. That made me smile. It was a good way to wake up.
I preparation for my recovery weeks I set up several bird feeders close to our house, a few right outside our kitchen bay window and one that sits against the bedroom window and has a two-way mirror/window. The birds can’t see into the feeder but I can see out. We have many beautiful birds now feeding regularly and I’ve had the time to learn their names. The large yellow bellied sap sucker (a handsome woodpecker) seems to not like the competition of his reflection, and pecks at it each time he lands on the feeder. When his reflection does not strike back, he settles in and feels safe enough to feed. He repeats this ritual multiple times a day.
Why do men need to be more aggressive? Don’t answer. I know why. They are conditioned to protect, their territory, their mates, themselves. It is a biological response that is often reaffirmed by conditioning. It is a response that bypasses the frontal lobe of the brain the place where this occurs:
- problem solving
- impulse control
- decision making
- selective attention
- controlling our behavior and emotions
The Amygdala is the area of the brain that responds to risk or fear with a “fight or flight” response. As we all know, women tend to flee while men tend to fight. This most often occurs instinctively, without “thinking” (running the info by our frontal lobe” to process before reacting), especially during or even after a traumatic event. When I get spooked I tend to shriek and run. When Grant gets spooked he unconsciously puts his fists up or moves towards the danger. He kind of physically puffs up too, while I tend to shrink.
It’s no secret that Grant and I have been having relationship problems. And it’s no secret that we’ve been through trauma, had to face a huge potential danger (cancer). I wonder how much of our disconnect has to do with my tendency to shrink and pull away while his it to puff up and aggress?