From another interview:
It would be a really good idea for a man to simply listen to a woman, hear her out before he tries to fix anything. Listen to all she has to say, keep quiet...and then say something that lets her know that he’s heard what she said. And then say:
“Is there any of that you want help with?”
Now, it’s the woman’s job really to say:
(At this point, as this little journey begins, it might be a good idea to put on some background music...
yeah...that's better...just remember to keep the volume on low, feel the caress of that warm, gentle breeze as you sail on through)
So, a woman does need to learn how to ask for help. But, most often, if we’ve been home alone all day with kids or we’ve been home alone all day and whatever and we don’t…we need another adult with whom to communicate something or just let ‘em know that we are…we need a mirror or someone to just hear us.
If we’re not…if we’re interrupted too fast and someone comes up with solutions or fixes it, it feels as if the person really doesn’t want to hear us, really doesn’t care about our feelings…all they want to do is jump in and take over and control the situation and fix it so fast that you don’t even have a chance to really be heard. And it’s not about fixing. A lot of times it’s just about being heard.
And, yes, men tend to fix things. That’s why we need to let men know, “I don’t want you to fix this. I don’t want you to save me. I don’t want you to save the world. I just want you to hear me ‘cause I’ve been lonely all day and I need to know what it is…I need to hear myself talk first of all."
And then we can ask, “Now that I’ve said all this and you’ve heard me, could you help me put out the garbage or could you help me lift this or could you help me?” But a lot of times there’s no need for any help or any fixing. It’s simply...we need an ear. We just want to be heard.
When we’re not heard, we go into a feeling of despair. And sometimes we get very angry. And we get very sad. Women who don’t know how to get angry get sad. Women who don’t know how to be sad don’t know how to show their sadness [and] get angry. A lot of men do that; men get, instead of that, or afraid.
So, um, it’s really easy when we get overwhelmed, we simply, more often than not, we’re perfectly capable of taking care of things, we just need someone to know what’s going on. And it’s never a contest. Like:
Him (or her): Oh, yeah, I’ve had a really bad day!
Her (or him): Well, I’ve had a worse day than you!!
It has nothing to do with anything. Both people have bad days and both people need to be heard.
Each person needs to be able to say, “Wow. And this happened to me and it’s really a big struggle for me,” and say “I’m not asking you to help. I don’t want you to fix it. I just want you to hear me. And then I’ll figure out what it is I need help with. But don’t figure it out for me because that makes me feel incompetent or like you are impatient with me and you just want to get past this and you just don’t want to deal with me. And my emotions, if I get angry, sad, or whatever…are not, you know, sometimes they get out of hand. But, and they won’ get as out of hand if we’re heard if somebody just listens to us and just doesn’t, don’t engage. Just listen."
It’s really so much easier…in some ways…than all that other stuff.
Just to relax. Do a lot of deep breathing. And just go, “Oh, I just need to listen. She’s really had a hard day.”
And yeah, you may have had a hard day too. And maybe once you’ve listened then she’ll be wiling to listen to you.
If you also say, “Yeah. Wow. I hear you’ve had a really hard day and it’s hard here with the kids because you’ve been here all day long by yourself, there’s no one else to help you make decisions, the kids…it’s 24-7, you can never, it’s…it’s really a grind, I really appreciate the fact that you’re willing to stay home and do this because this is a really important job you’re doing.”And really, really listen. And then, if she runs down and she’s got any energy for listening, you need to be listened to too. But you might have to say:
“Do you have any energy left to hear about my day?”
You know, check it out. And then maybe she’ll learn more about checking out do you have energy to hear about my day so that you don’t…the tendency is that the minute a person walks in the door, you’re ready to explode and you dump it on them. If the person comes home. I had a husband who never came home hardly, so he didn’t get dumped on.
(Now, she laughs).
An odd end:
There are jokes you tell some people before they tie the knot, the kind of jokes they are sure to remember, but not really understand until after the honeymoon is over. Although those jokes may seem cruel, they are simply true. I'd rather laugh...till it hurts.