Uncompartmentalized Living

I would venture to guess that most women who have just read this title will be able to relate to this story.  I can’t speak for ALL women, but the women in my circle get it.  Boy sister, do we get it!  The lesson is as simple as this- men and women are two inherently different creatures and thus misinterpretation and confusion throughout our shared time on this planet ensues.

From as early as my teen years, when boys and men started playing into my life picture, I remember very specifically my mother having a talk with me.  This talk has continued even into my adulthood.  Whenever there is a fuss, a disagreement, or an all out fight with a boyfriend or a husband, Carolynn has always explained to me that men are able to “compartmentalize” their feelings and emotions.  Let me give you an example.  In my past experience if ever a boyfriend/husband and I would have an argument I would feel as if the walls of my life were caving in.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t sleep.  I became completely unmotivated and saddened.  It was as if this perceived argument was just slowly seeping into every other aspect of my life.  I would become frustrated at work.  My fuse would grow shorter and shorter and I might even find myself becoming upset with people who had nothing to do with the problem at hand.  It would consume my thoughts and everything I did throughout my day.  Trust me, I see the problem in this.  I HATE this about me, but it is what it is.  My entire world would be rocked.  Then, to make matters worse, the boyfriend/husband with whom I was having the disagreement would seem to be just fine.  WHAT IS THAT???!!!! Why isn’t he as miserable as I am???!!!  Doesn’t he LOVE me?!… Here is where “compartmentalization” comes in.

According to my mother’s wisdom and several psychological reports, men are able to compartmentalize their feelings.  So, they may have one compartment for work, one compartment for sports, one compartment for finances, one compartment for play, and one equal-sized compartment for relationships.  The psyche of men is a virtual office space divided by partitions whereas the psyche of women is a full-blown, open-door arena.  Men are generally much better at keeping their emotions in check.  Women are known for being creatures of emotion… laughing then crying then instantaneously getting upset that the man isn’t equally as upset.  Do you know these women?  I do.  I am one of them.

Many times after an argument or disagreement would blow over the man on the receiving end of my frustration would tell me not to read anything into whatever behaviors he did or did not exhibit to my liking.  In my head I was always thinking, “Okay, you flippin’ robot, if you would just show me a moment of genuine emotion maybe I could learn that lesson better.”  🙂

I think I may actually be starting to get the message.  It’s taken me a number of years to process the lesson on compartmentalization versus noncompartmentalization, but I think the sooner I get a grip on it the easier this shared journey through life may be for me.  For all of us.  We can’t get angry at men for not doing exactly what WE THINK they should do, say, or even be.  They aren’t mind readers… thank God for that.  We have to remember that each of us are created exactly as we were supposed to be.  In God’s perfect plan we were created for man, right?  So, maybe we start learning more about his compartments and he could be a little more understanding about our lack thereof. 

I think this realization may just be the key to harmonious living between women and men.  Well, that and maybe a little Prozac.

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