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Re-balancing Yin And Yang
Women should be women and men should be men. That’s the resounding message prolific author John Gray gives us in this fantastic interview. In the post-war era women shed the archetypal role of “mother about the house” and men dove into their feeling centers, but John believes it all went too far. We need to re-balance our energies in order to make our relationships work. With over half of marriages failing and 100% more people not marrying at all, it’s clear there’s something we don’t know.
Emotions Affect Our Hormones
When men become emotional their bodies create estrogen in response. Over time this can cause all sorts of health problems (not to mention the effects on their marital relations). Likewise for women, when they feel unsafe and needing to control, their testosterone rises, leading to detachment and “mother-mode”. Neither of these are exactly sexy.
Men And Women’s Brains Are Different
John believes the prescription is simple, but not necessarily easy to follow. Men need to become more manly and women need to return to their femininity. It’s not what we expect to hear these days! The polarity of the masculine/feminine energy is a vital component of healthy relationships, both physically and psychologically. Women are 8 times more emotional than men, and their brains are simply different (did we need CAT scans to tell us this?). So, working on understanding our biology is better than fighting against it.
The Dance Of Duality
John gives us many insights into relationships in this modern world we occupy, because it is very different to the world we inhabited even 20 years ago. Intimacy, sensuality and harmony are possible if we understand our partner, work with our natural instincts and take responsibility for our parts in the show. After all, it takes two to tango.
Interview Notes From The Show:
– Hey welcome back to the Urban Monk, Dr. Pedram Shojai here talking about relationships, talking about dating and talking about how to get along. I have with me someone who’s actually tremendously helped my relationship with my wife because we both read a book called Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Since then he’s probably written a gajillion books and been on the world circuit forever. I have John Gray with me, so we’re here to talk about Beyond Mars and Venus and how we can have relationship skills to actually get along and prosper in these things called relationships that we exist in. So hey, welcome to the show.
– Thank you, I’m happy to be on the show.
– Yeah this is great. So you wrote the original Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus when? How long ago was that?
– Well I wrote it in 1990, it came out in 1992. So that was over 25 years ago. So we’re ready to go beyond Mars/Venus in this new book.
– Yeah no kidding, huh? So just for someone, and I’m sure there’s precious few in my audience who haven’t heard of your work, what was the premise if you will in just a couple minutes, of the original work so that we can then go beyond?
– Well ironically, ya know the message of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus has been quite diluted because the name is so popular, you know it was the biggest selling book of all books in the world during the decade of the 90s. So I mean fiction, non-fiction, paperback, I mean it just was everywhere, it was a phenomena. And a lot of people who heard about it then who didn’t read it, thought it was saying that men and women are just too different, we’ll never understand each other. And that’s the opposite of what my message is. My message is that ya know, men and women are different and we commonly misinterpret each other. And if we can just get some new insights, we can correctly interpret and understand each other. Suddenly my wife makes sense to me. Suddenly a man’s behaviors make sense to a woman. And it’s really important that we’re able to make sense of each other, otherwise when we don’t understand something, we think we do understand it and we make a negative assumption. Ya know one of the key elements was often women will talk about problems and a man thinks, Oh I have to solve that problem. If she’s talking about it, I have to solve it. And quite often she just wants to talk about it and that’s a form of intimacy. Often for women when they talk about things, or talk about their feelings about things it can actually be a stress reducer. But for men, we don’t relate to it as much, some men think they do, but biologically the way men are designed is the way you deal with stress is to temporarily forget it, just temporarily. What happens when we’re under stress is hormonal shifts take place and they’re actually the opposite hormonal shifts in men and women. So for men often we’ll say to each other, ah just forget it, deal with it tomorrow. Ya know watch a football game, drink a beer, ya know go work out in the gym. We can compartmentalize our problems somewhere and come back to them. Women have eight times more connected tissue in the brain and they can’t do that as well. Some women learn to do it, but basically one of the ways that will actually restore the hormones that are different in a woman that will lower her stress by talking about problems. So ya know, there’s benefits to this. So understanding that women are often talking, men just listen and she’ll feel closer, she’ll feel better, her stress will go down. But the opposite is true for men, quite often men come home and some days they’re stressed they just wanna leave, forget everything. Ya know let me watch the news, let me read a magazine, let me just go ya know hang out in my gym for a little while, I need some quiet time. And ya know for me, ironically I was a monk for nine years before I became a teacher of relationships. It was I would go meditate. Ya know meditation is quieting the mind, watching a football game, actually your mind becomes quiet as well, you forget about all your problems and you’re just vicariously experiencing something outside of you. So these are some basic ideas of Men are from Mars, just a couple of them. And if a man’s in his cave and a woman doesn’t understand, why’s he ignoring me? Well he’s not necessarily ignoring her, he’s taking time for himself. But if she doesn’t understand that instinctive response in him she will misinterpret and think, oh he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t care about me, he’s not available to me, he’s not gonna help me if I ask for help. All he cares about is himself, he’s mad at me, our relationship’s going down the tubes, he’s involved with somebody else. She doesn’t know what to think of it and then this part of the brain gets activated when we don’t understand something and it’s stressful to us, the brain becomes hyper vigilant. And it starts thinking of everything that can go wrong and ya know men, we can relate to that, multiply that times eight and you have a woman’s brain. And you can actually measure what I just mentioned because under moderate stress, you’ll see eight times more blood flow going to the emotional part of the brain and to the memory part of the brain where she’s now thinking what’s wrong, what could be going on, what happened, he’s different, he’s changed. So those are just two examples, first two chapters of that book. So Men are from Mars helped us understand where we’re coming from, Beyond Mars and Venus helps us to see where we need to go. And what I mean by that is since I wrote that book 25 years ago, the terrain of relationships have changed dramatically and women are now much moreso independent, detached, working very hard and they’re in a work environment that doesn’t stimulate estrogen, the female hormone, and actually stimulates testosterone and lowers their estrogen. And estrogen is one of the key hormones, or progesterin and oxytocin these are key hormones for a woman to keep her stress levels down. Those hormones don’t lower a man’s stress. That’s the irony is testosterone particularly which is linked to men’s, if a man has low testosterone he’ll tend to have high stress, if he tends to have high estrogen he’ll tend to be more emotional, more reactive, more sensitive, he gets angrier easier, he becomes passive. The worst qualities that women complain about their husbands when they complain, often are the outcome of men’s testosterone levels dropping. And the worst outcome for women, when men complain about women is like they’re trying to raise their estrogen levels back up to normal level and we don’t understand as men how to support that process. So what I do now is because women’s challenge particularly is to come back to, in a sense, to their female side and what women can do to engage a man’s interest in her by building up his testosterone. So we have kind of a hormonal basis which gives us a distinction in which behaviors, which kinds of support are best for men and which kinds are best for women. And having said that, if your hormones were in balance then all kinds of support would be fine for both men and women.
– But there’s certain types of behavior that will bring us back into balance where then we can be all of who we are.
– So presumably there’s a Goldilocks zone ’cause too much testosterone makes you angry and then you’re a jerk, so there’s this good amount of testosterone.
– I love what you just said because it’s the biggest myth out there, it’s been disproved now by Stanford University in the studies. For so long people associate aggression and being a jerk and whatever with high testosterone because the precursor to being a jerk or aggressive or whatever is you feel threatened, okay, so you feel defensive. And when you feel defensive, your testosterone will go up and that’s because ya know, you’re in danger you gotta react quickly and you gotta focus more and you gotta forget about other problems and just laser in. But actually, when that happens, you become cool, calm and collected and only focus on creating a positive outcome. Then what happens, is a man if he feels threatened, he now loses confidence and when he loses confidence he doesn’t know what to do, I can’t make sense of this, this doesn’t make sense but I’m feeling threatened. There’s nowhere to run, what do I have to do? Then what happens is aromatase, the enzyme, is released from his belly and converts his testosterone into estrogen and because his testosterone was relatively high, it went higher for fight or flight, he has more estrogen that gets produced and that estrogen causes anger or fear, defensiveness or aggression. So really, what’s happening is it’s not testosterone that causes men to misbehave, it’s estrogen. It’s men moving too far to their female side. So this is like a great revelations because it opens up a whole new chapter in what we can do as men in order to come back to our center of masculinity and lower our stress and be healthier and vital and be more loving, be more romantic. All these good qualities of men happen when their testosterone levels are up and their estrogen levels are down.
– But you’re saying, so you’re saying the culprit in here is aromatasing. So a stressed male will aromatase, produce more estrogen and more DHT, dihydrotestosterone and that’s what you’re saying is the consequence. So the high testosterone isn’t the issue, it’s the aromatasation that then basically turns that man into something that he shouldn’t be at that point.
– That’s exactly it, that’s exactly it. And it’s very shocking, I mean it’s like then suddenly you as a man, I immediately check if I’m getting defensive or angry, what I know is I’m falling out of balance. My estrogen’s now going up, I’m using up my testosterone. Literally your testosterone goes down because it’s being converted into estrogen. And what I need to do, if I want good communication, if I want a better relationship, if I wanna experience a libido and lasting passion with my partner, I need to create safety for her. And this is a key thing for men to realize is anger is the most unsafe thing to a woman. When a woman gets angry, we don’t like it, but basically we don’t feel our life is in danger, in most cases. But for women, historically, the historical instinctive part of a woman’s brain, when men get angry, it shuts women down, it disconnects them and they lose trust, they can’t be themselves. And part of our whole goal today in relationships as people are wanting passion, they’re wanting lasting romance, they’re wanting lasting connection, they want great sex. These are all things that I hear as a therapist that break relationships up. Now certainly there’s drug addictions and there’s financial problems and parenting differences and overworking. These are all symptoms of not having connection with your partner. So when you’re not having great sex, if you’re not feeling loved and romanced in your relationship, if you don’t feel safe to be yourself, then those other kinds of differences escalate and become big problems and people use that as a reason why we’re breaking up. But honestly, except for a few cases, exceptions, I’ve never had a couple come to me wanting a divorce or having big troubles who had a great sex life. You know you work on dealing with the emotional intimacy which is the foundation for a great physical intimate relationship. And suddenly what we make big problems are not so big and we’re more cooperative, we’re more flexible, we’re more willing to make adjustments to be influenced by our partners, but without having to sacrifice who we are. You know, this is challenging. So many people today, over half get divorced. Second time almost 2/3’s and third time almost more than 2/3’s get divorced. So even the smartest people on the planet, the most successful people on the planet, people who have everything are getting divorced. So we we shouldn’t feel shamed that divorce is there, problems in relationships, everybody’s having it. And multiply that times two, 100% more people today aren’t even getting married, they’re staying single because they can’t make this relationship fulfillment last. And so we need a set of new skills, that’s the subtitle to the book which is, new relationship skills for our complex modern world ala “Women moving too far to the male side and men being too far on their feeling side.” This causes a lot of new challenges, but if we know how to find balance, it creates a support for what I call a soulmate relationship, which I think is ya know people talk about soulmates, so I basically coin, well what is a soulmate relationship? ‘Cause I have that with my wife over 30 years. We have a great sex life, great relationship and the foundation of it is insights and communication skills that support, that emotionally support her and me to fully express all of who we are. That’s the key, people today wanna be all of who they are. In the past, in my parents generation, women suppressed their masculine independence, men suppressed their feelings. Ya know, what they wanna do, what they like to do, they just put it away. You just had to earn a living and that was it. But today, men want to follow their hearts, they wanna participate more in the family, they wanna do more fun things in their life. They don’t wanna sacrifice everything just for the buck. And women wanna not be this sort of sweet little woman who stays at home and raises the children. They also wanna be independent, be educated, get out there. But the challenge as we step into this whole new context, a whole new context, never before in the history of humanity where women are more on the male side, men are more on the feeling side and we have to find that balance in between. And we need new insights for that.
– So there’s the traditional archetype of breadwinner, kind of cowboy dad and then stay at home mom. And so now there’s permission to kind of meet in the middle, but what I’m hearing here is that in the middle there’s also these complications with the hormones and kind of this, this gender identify crisis. And so to have permission to express the entirety of yourself, but then be the man physiologically that you are to be, or the woman physiologically that you’re to be, that seems like a nuance to play there. So allowing yourself the permission, then allows you to kind of stand strong in your archetype. I just wanna understand this fully.
– Yeah, the archetype, the male archetype as hero, provider is biological. And then on a spiritual, mental, emotional level, I’m way in touch with my feelings, moreso than most women I know. But I have to not let my feeling side dominate in the marriage. If I’m too emotional, what happens when men get really emotional is either women shut down or they feel like a man’s in this, if he’s in this sort of threatening emotions, women shut down. If he’s more vulnerable, scared, sad, disappointed, down, hurting, then women go into mothering energy. See they shift gears, they’re no longer on a equal relationship. What happens is they go into the mothering side of them as opposed to the romantic partner side of them. And so this is all very confusing to men because we’ve been told by women that they want us to be in touch with our feelings, what really they want is to know that we love them. They want us to be in touch with our feelings of love, they want us to be in touch with our feelings of caring and commitment and confidence and eagerness and enthusiasm and sexual interest in them without demanding. You know, that’s what they’re wanting. I wanna know what you’re feeling, I wanna know your feeling. It’s coming from her own insecurity ’cause what happens for men is our first our go to, biological reaction under moderate stress, okay, little problems they come up every day. You know you’re late, you gotta deadline, you gotta pay a bill, you don’t know about this. Our first reaction is detachment. Detachment goes along with a surge of testosterone, not emotions. You see a woman, her first reaction to moderate stress, and this is measurable, is a surge in estrogen or progesterin which creates a flow, well estrogen particularly will surge under moderate stress and that will increase blood flow to the emotional part of a woman’s brain by eight times. It goes to the limbic system, which compared to a man’s and relative to everything else is twice as big, I mean women have a much stronger design to have an emotional reaction to things and men don’t, men have a design to, men have a design to detach until a man loses confidence, then aromatase takes over and he has a bigger emotional reaction. So it’s not fair to say that women are more emotional then men, because men can be way more emotional than women, but only when men are threatened. Not when men are confident and grounded in that archetype of masculinity. So ultimately for me, what I have learned to do is if I am a stressed and I’m in emotional place, that means I’ve lost my confidence. I’m now grounded in my masculinity. I don’t go to my wife for support at those times. I talk to other men, I can go to a female therapist, I can go to a male therapist, I can write a letter to God, I can explore my feelings, I can meditate on it. And if you look at all the prayers in many religions, you’re just talking to God. God I’m scared, I’m afraid, I feel bad. You know it’s all about sharing your emotions, but you don’t do it with your wife, ’cause if you do your negative emotions with your wife she goes right into a state of detachment where she’s gonna be nurturing to you and caring about you, but it changes her hormones to a mothering hormone rather than what’s called pair-bonding. Now pair-bonding is, ya know it’s good to identify these things so they’re clear distinctions. There’s different types of behaviors that stimulate different hormones. And when a woman is in her mothering energy, she has her feminine side, but her testosterone rises which is a sense of independence. You know the woman, when she’s at home with the kids, she’s not just on her female side, she’s a CEO of the house, she’s managing everything. She’s in testosterone, but also estrogen. Now what attracts women to men is particularly five days after a woman’s period her estrogen levels in order to manage stress effectively, if she’s gonna be happy and fulfilled her estrogen levels double. Now that makes her able to make a baby, but it also creates wellbeing in her. But when her estrogen levels double, what occurs is the, a feeling of needing is associated with estrogen, the feeling of desire, motivation to do something is testosterone. So you’ve got this estrogen/testosterone balance. And back to the archetype, a man has to have at least 10 times more testosterone, usually 30 times, than your average woman if he’s gonna be healthy. You know the only time men have heart attacks or prostate problems and all that is low testosterone. It’s always linked in there with low testosterone. Depression, low testosterone. Heart disease, low testosterone. Stress levels, low testosterone. But and even worse problems when the estrogen gets higher and higher and higher. For women, they need to have at least 10 times more estrogen then a man to be coping with stress, but her estrogen levels are changing at every day of the month to the right amount for her cycle. So when she’s ovulating, her estrogen levels two days before and maybe a day after, it’s twice as high as what it was before. So suddenly five days after her period, a woman’s mood changes and she suddenly goes into I need more. That’s why men will say she was like happy one day, next day suddenly we never go out, she feels ignored, she feels invisible, she doesn’t feel loved. You kind of go what just happened? Well what happened is a biological shift that a woman’s hormones naturally go through, which is when her estrogen levels double, she feels a greater need for something called pair-bonding. Now pair-bonding is what, there’s lots of different kinds of pair-bonding, but it’s basically you go to a doctor and you need his help or her help for your health, to stay alive. And you need something that you can’t give yourself, that’s pair-bonding. You go to a teacher and they’re teaching you something that you don’t know before, that’s pair-bonding. You go to a chiropractor and they’re adjusting you, that’s pair-bonding. Any kind of, learning a class on archery, that’s pair-bonding. You have a teacher, you’re a student is you’re getting something that you can’t give yourself and you give your appreciation or you give money for it whatever there’s a reciprocal exchange of I need your help and you’re giving me help. That type of relationship when you’re the reciprocal, when you’re receiving the support, that’s what creates estrogen the most. Now, you look at a male/female heterosexual, male/female relationship where it’s pair-bonding, that produces way more estrogen than anything else. And that’s why romance has become so important to women today. In my mother’s generation, they never complained my husband’s not romantic, that was the honeymoon phase everybody knew that was gonna be over. No one expected that kind of love to last. But today, suddenly women want that kind of love because when their estrogen levels double, or need to double, if she’s over in testosterone land being independent, being detached, dealing with deadlines, urgency, sacrifice, working for money rather than love. All those things tend to stimulate testosterone, that lowers her estrogen and so she needs, like we might call it a super stimulator to raise her estrogen up. And two of the major stimulators that will knock estrogen up particularly when she needs it during those five days, is romance, affection, listening, sharing, good communication and the sharing and good communication is particularly he listens to her, she opens up. She becomes in a sense emotionally vulnerable. She becomes emotionally naked. See this is the new level of intimacy that we need, physical intimacy will not last a lifetime. I mean the body, after a while you’re not gonna be turned on to the body to some extent, it’s just physical. As we grow and become more whole beings, the attraction to last a lifetime needs to be also an emotional level and then on a mental level, where you actually find your partner very interesting and stimulating ’cause they always have a different perspective. But for this to happen there needs to be full authenticity, or growth towards authenticity and that happens when women particularly, when we men make it safe for women to express all of who they are, then the love that comes forth from women then makes it safe for men to express all of who they are. But the key step here is my job as a husband is not to make my wife happy, and this is liberating you know, I don’t get bent out of shape when my wife says, oh you left the light on, shoes in the kitchen I can’t believe, why did you forget? I go hear you, that’s it. I’m not responsible to make her happy, but my responsible to hear her and not get upset with her, not argue with her and fight over trivial things, which is what couples do. They fight about the stupidest stuff all the time. So much of the time you kind of after they’ve been going on for an hour you say what are you fight about? They don’t even know what started it because what happens is we get out of present time, we start remembering stuff then going back and forth. We’re stimulating another part of the brain that cannot experience empathy and compassion and that’s the prefrontal cortex. We need to stay in present time with our partners. You know there was a stage in my marriage, my wife would always bring up stuff in the past. I say excuse me, let’s have a conversation about right now, what you’re feeling now, not about the past. If you wanna talk about your past go talk to a therapist, I’m not interested in it, I wanna be right now and let me deal with that. Couples go to the past, couples yell and scream, yelling worst thing ever in relationships. And yet, you know our parents might have done it, people have done it around the world. I go around the world, people yell at each other. What people don’t understand is that when you’re yelling, you’re actually saying in a very clear message you’re not hearing me. You’re not hearing me. And so the person is being told you’re not hearing me, they shut down. One final point, when men yell it’s threatening to women, the only way they can sort of respond to it is they either become detached or they become submissive. And women in the past became submissive, modern women just say I’m moving on.
– Yeah, done, punt. It’s 50% then 2/3’s, 2/3’s. And it happens a lot, it happens way too often. So I wanna make sure I understand this. In that era, post period, where she needs the surge of estrogen and it is my job to be loving, be caring and be listening and let her be vulnerable, you’re also saying that with our vulnerability and our willingness to kind of talk about our own weaknesses, keep that for the locker room, keep that for God, keep that with a therapist. But allow her to be vulnerable on this side, but you be vulnerable adhering it but don’t show your weakness? I wanna make sure I understand this right because in that kind of common ground I see a lot of guys getting lost, right? Is guys showing their weakness and then being in a vulnerable spot where then they get mothered and then the relationship turns into something that is less intimate.
– See vulnerability is a really good thing and it’s misunderstood quite a bit, so it’s a distinction I’d like to make. First of all, vulnerability isn’t necessarily weakness. Vulnerability is acknowledging the part of us that needs love and support. The reason we associate weakness with vulnerability, is because we need approval, we need love and support and if we reveal a weakness, we’re now in a place of I’m afraid that I may not get what I need. And it’s important to understand that it’s feeling our need, our dependence on others that is vulnerability. Because, and I’ll talk about women for a moment, ya know we also think about woman has to show her weakness, or she has to show her negative emotions and that is being vulnerable without a doubt. But when you’re in touch with the part of you that’s vulnerable, but your heart is full of love and you’re not stressed, you feel super happy. You can’t feel happy unless you’re vulnerable, where you’re feeling I need something. If you’re hungry and someone feeds you ’cause you need food, food tastes great. Go one day without eating, then eat at meal. Everything is great, ya know have a bagel and it’s like a French restaurant, okay? So when you fill your need, that’s what allows us to be happy. Ya know we say that men are drawn to vulnerable women, we’re drawn to femininity. Femininity is the part of us that needs love and support. I need love and support and actually, when I attempt to do something for my wife like plan a date, it’s very vulnerable. Women have to see that’s men’s vulnerability is when we try to do things for women. And women they callously often go, oh that’s wrong, well you shouldn’t do that, well turn here, why would you do that? They don’t know that they’re just socking him right in the belly and so then his way of dealing with it is then to say well then I don’t care. Ya know that attitude we men go into, it’s like of like F-U, I don’t care, I don’t give a damn. What that is, is men just saying back off I’m not gonna need you at all. And your approval, your appreciation, your love of me is not important. And that’s because we are vulnerable, but it’s a different kind of vulnerability. We need basically, in Men are from Mars, as well as my new book I talk about our needs as men and you can sum it up, what we need from women, where we’re most vulnerable, is the need to be appreciated. The need to be to be accepted the way we are and the need to be trusted that we’re doing our best. And so when women question us, ask questions, well where were you, why would you do that, what are you doing? It’s such a pounding message, an unloving supportive message when women wanna improve us. When they were children you’re supposed to improve your children. How do you dress, you do this, you do that, you don’t wear that. But women unknowingly just give so much unsolicited advice to men as opposed to accepting a man the way he is. And what I have learned is that if I give my wife what she needs, then it’s very easy for her to give me what I need. And that’s my masculine side, that whenever I’m not getting what I need I go, I know just how to get it. You see that’s the male side of us that has confidence, I can get what I want, I can get the job done, I’m confident. So if my wife is like being critical, she’ll say oh you left the sock, I gave an example of today. You left your socks in the living room. You want me to be picking it up? Am I supposed to follow you around? I just stay cool, calm and collected I go, yeah I hear ya. That’s it, don’t even have to say anything and she understands, which I wish all women would understand that for little things, little annoying things, it’s very hard for a man to go. Oh, I’m so sorry. And that’s what she’s looking for. She’s looking for him to feel something. If I’m being attacked, a little attack, somebody’s throwing a dart at me, I’ve gotta dodge it. That’s a natural defensive response and when men feel unloved, unsupported, they will naturally detach. The first thing we have as I mentioned before under moderate stress we go to detachment. I can’t feel I’m sorry if I’m feeling detached. What I can do, which is give her what she really needs, is some kind of acknowledgement that I heard what she said. ‘Cause that’s what she wants, it’s just if she doesn’t understand that men are different, because a woman to women, oh you left your socks on the floor, you left the kitchen a mess. Oh, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. ‘Cause women go right to the emotional response. And I’m not saying men can’t feel sorry, but only when they’re in balance. Only they can feel regret at that time, but the first reaction is gonna be defensiveness. And you shift that by making the space for that to happen, to acknowledge what she needs to hear, which is acknowledgement of I hear you. So I got off track there, but I wanted to give men permission to be men. Ya know this whole thing. When I married Bonnie 31 years ago, I remember I was late for dinner and she was looking at me like huge disapproval. And I said, honey what are you feeling right now and she said, well I feel bad. And I looked at her and I said you shouldn’t feel bad, I’m the one who’s late. And she just kept looking at me and I said, Oh, you want me to feel bad. She goes, you should feel bad. And then my response to her then was, but I don’t feel bad. I got here as fast as I could. I went through a lot of traffic, ya know I felt bad for a minute when I realized I was late, but I got here. And I got here alive so I’m feeling good. And I teach people how to feel good, not how to feel bad. And she said, well you should feel bad. And I said, how bad do I have to feel? Which makes the whole thing ludicrous. And then I said, and how long do I have to feel bad? Which is like I’m gonna be punished by the person who loves me? Ya know these are all monkey behaviors that come from this monkey conditioned behavior of how you manage children, not adults. And even then there’s other ways to manage children, but this comes down from thousands of years of evolution, conditioning, our automatic reactions. To give your partner a guilt trip is one of the worst forms of communication. Because she’s a woman she’s expecting me to be like a woman and I explained to her, ya know my brain’s different. I have a moment where I go, oh my gosh I should get there on time, I forgot. And then I do my best to solve the problem, but I’m not gonna feel bad about it, unless it was a big thing. And remember when things are big problems, then aromatase takes place and a man can feel, oh huge remorse and ya know huge fear and he can feel huge anger. Ya know this is when he goes through his female side, but even then, whenever you have strong emotions if you’re a man, don’t speak to the person you’re upset with. That’s the walkaway from this, is to detach, come back and when you pull away she’s gonna say, what are you thinking, what are you feeling, do you love me, do you not? Just basically say, I need some time to get in touch, I need some time to be alone and then I’ll come back and be loving. I’ve trained my wife, she knows that whenever we’re in a conversation, some kind of argument starts to happen, and we have lots of differences, but when they get charged, you know when there’s an emotional charge that starts to happen, I just say okay I hear you and I go away. The translation, that one phrase, what it means is I’ve taken in as much as I can take in. And if you say another word, I’m gonna get defensive and I go from here, to the back part of my brain and I don’t wanna go there. Now I’m gonna be getting all that stuckness and shut down and all that. Then what I do is say I hear you, I walk out of the room, I do something to rebuilt my testosterone. ‘Cause what I know is my estrogen levels are gonna take charge, takes me out of the prefrontal cortex, back to some conditioned, defensive responses that I’m stuck in, could be for two days even. So what I do is I stop talking and I walk away, and I do something that increases testosterone.
– What are you sneaking in some squats and push ups?
– That’s one thing you can do, yeah. You can do squats and push ups, you can read a book that you like, you can go see a movie, you can drive your car, you can meditate. Meditation also rebuilds testosterone. Anytime you did a quiet your mind and not try to change somebody who upset you, but you’re coming back to 1,000% accountability. You see it’s a accountability and one of the most masculine things there is, is something happens, you back off from it, you give it some space and you go, okay, how did I make that worse and what can I do about it? And that’s how I wrote all my books is ’cause I was a monk, I’m totally into quieting my mind and being 100% accountable for everything that happens to me. You know victim is not my mode, but my emotional reactions are always victim. Negative emotions are victim. You know, you get angry you’re being a victim, you get afraid, you’re being a victim. And you’re not seeing reality at those times. You need to back away from it and have some distance to it. And one of the things is that have things to rebuild your testosterone, which is what you just said. You can do physical things to assert yourself. You can do mathematics problems, you can solve anything. You can go get on your computer and play a video game even, that’s not bad, it’s just don’t get addicted to it. And play a video game, oh my God, produces tons of testosterone. I don’t suggest going and doing porn. What porn does, it produces too much and it down regulates the dopamine receptor sites in the brain and starts causing kind of ADD symptoms. And then your dopamine is not as powerful to stimulate your testosterone. And that’s one of the things that guys have to know is that when we’re getting off on porn, it’s enjoyable, it’s fun, it’s stimulating, but it’s too much fun. It’s like taking a drug and it’s measurable in the brain. It’s literally like taking heroin and you’re gonna get basically the feeling. Heroin’s a great word for a drug, because at the root is hero. You feel like a hero, you know? You got 50,000 women all ready to have sex with you in your fantasy world, you’re like superstar. And to the back part of the brain and what that does is it stimulates a huge amount of hero energy or dopamine energy in your brain and that brings testosterone up. But the problem with it, is anytime you have overstimulate dopamine in the brain, you desensitize the dopamine receptors in your brain so that now you depend on higher and higher levels. And you know young teenagers are just doing it every day, several times online. They actually get with a real woman and they can’t get it up because a real woman doesn’t produce just dopamine. A real woman when you’re touching a woman, interacting with a woman, eye contact, physical touch, you’re gonna be making dopamine, but you’ll also make serotonin. You’re gonna make testosterone, but you also make estrogen. You’re gonna make a lot of oxytocin, which can lower your vasopressin. So basically, a real woman can never provide the intense stimulation that a fantasy woman can. And we just need to come to grips with that. It’s not like it’s like less, but it will seem very bore and dull if you’re depending upon fantasy. It’s like needing, ya know as a child you eat a Oreo cookie you go, wow that blew me out of the waters. Then later on after you desensitize your sugar receptors, you need a whole box of cookies and it’s still not gonna be enough.
– Then broccoli will never be the same.
– That’s right.
– Oreo’s will destroy that. When a man goes in and say, Okay, you come in and it’s just like I just came back from war, I earned all this bread, I did all this shit, don’t talk to me about my socks, right? And so you have this moment where it’s like I can’t believe she’s coming at me with this petty nonsense. And so at that point, you disengage and you go to a place where you can avoid aromatasing, to keep yourself in that place where your testosterone is not converting over, yes?
– That’s exactly it.
– That’s exactly it and there’s mental strategies that allow you to do that as well. I wanna mention a few mental strategies. One is, forget it. Right now, forget it. Don’t even let myself think about it again, that’s one. If you’re wanting to go back and heal something in your past and your therapy situation is safe then it’s okay to say I’m gonna go back and remember details and so forth and try to understand it better. But when you’re in the heat of combat, when you’re in the heat of the moment, we’re designed to forget it, that’s what it’s all about. Is that literally when you’re stressed, it actually produces chemicals in your brain, and more in men than women, that allow you to temporarily forget anything. So we need to go in harmony with that, rather than let it repeat in our brain and keep going over it and over it and she should have done that, but she didn’t do that. What you do is you start to witness what you’re thinking and you hear it through and it starts to repeat, then you say okay now I’m gonna forget it. You never wanna suppress, you wanna witness, okay what’s going on inside of myself, what am I saying to myself, how am I blaming her, how am I feeling like a victim. Notice what’s going on inside yourself, but notice it with a perspective that you’re going to your female side and whatever you think on your female side is throwing you further out of balance. So you notice it, you don’t resist it and then you say now it’s time to forget it and not think about it and do something else to rebuild the testosterone levels, come back into balance, then take a few moments to feel your love for your partner again. Look to how I contributed to that thing, find forgiveness, all of that’s easier to find when your testosterone comes back up. You cannot find it when your testosterone’s aromatasing into estrogen. You’re just in this out of balance place and you shouldn’t speak at that time, that’s the key to it, not speak to the person who’s upsetting you. And even if you speak to a friend, notice how you’ll tend to exaggerate and be one-sided in the way you share something. This is just reinforcing victim. Because we live in a victim society and people get more attention when they’re bigger victims and so we exaggerate to ourselves how bad things are. So let me give you an example of another mental strategy. When my wife, I go out and I work hard and I do all kinds of things and I get attacked and I fight my battles in the world. It’s not the war battles, but being out there in the public and the criticism I’ve gotten and the battles I fight, the lawsuits, all that stuff. So I’m out there doing my martian battle thing and then I come home and my wife says, you left the socks in the living room, why’d you forget the light on. My mental strategy, first of all, I used to be like offended by it and go right to estrogen. I do so much and you’re criticising me for these little things. I turned it around in my head now and I go, ya know what, she doesn’t have anything big to be upset about, so she can only find little things. That’s a very important insight because it only works if you realize all women, if they’re stressed have to complain. That’s their way of dealing with stress, whether they’re conscious of it or not. If their cortisol levels are elevated, eight times more blood flow is going to the memory part of the brain, which is critical, hyper vigilant to look at problems. So she doesn’t have big problems, which is what happens to all these first world women. I mean really, if you look at it very objectively, 95% of the problems women complain about in Marin County where I council is, ya know I have three nannies and they’re arguing with each other and I’ve gotta go to Europe and one of my kids is sick and so we’re gonna have to organize a better hotel. I mean, this is life, but they’ll make it a huge thing because they don’t have real problems to be upset about, but they’re women and women when they’re under stress, they need to talk about problems. And they just look for it. Now part of my way of making a marriage better is first of all I don’t control what comes out of my wife. She knows I don’t like her complaints, but at the same time she complains I just go, I hear you and that’s it. It’s so much easier to hear criticism or complaint if you have an exit strategy. It’s like, because what men will do is she’ll say, well you left the socks on. What’s the big deal with the socks, ya know? You left socks in the other room the other day, I didn’t say anything about it. Now we’re in an argument, then she’ll go back into her world. This is all so petty, when all you have to do is just acknowledge, I hear you. And this is what men can do if somebody teaches them to do it. It’s like what we learned in the military is you stand at attention, your drill Sargent offends you, makes negative comments about you, and you have to suck it up and you say, yes sir, yes sir. It’s just learning how to detach. This is what soldiers have to do, ’cause if you’re in a combat situation and your buddy got shot and you’re just, you see what just happened, you just wanna run out there and kill somebody and you don’t follow orders. So you get, you go out of control. So you have to be trained, in a sense to be a abused and suck it up and not complain, and suck it up and not complain. And some people said, well you’re telling us not to feel? I said no, witness it, be aware of it, but don’t let it control you so you get into an argument. This is the real test of masculinity is learn to suck it up and not to argue about it. At the same time, stop it. You have to have a way to stop it, which is just simply, I hear ya and then I do my little Kung Fu in my brain which is ya know, I’m such a great husband, the only thing she can complain about with me is that I leave lights on and leave socks around the house, it’s not a big deal. But for women, if they can’t find something big, they’re gonna find something little. And it’s the same, now you might think well that’s messy, but the flip side of that is the benefit of women. Women have the ability, when they feel safe, to be enormously appreciative and happy about the littlest things. I mean, I think we got a new refrigerator this year, I think for six months, and she’s still talking about how wonderful she loves her refrigerator, how great the refrigerator is. And I’m going okay, I can relate to that, I think my car is great. So there’s differences there, but women do appreciate enormously if they feel safe and when they don’t feel safe, they’re enormously critical and disapproving. They temporarily experience amnesia of all the good things you do. It’s just temporary, if you can get that she’s just temporarily forgetting how wonderful I am, she needs to lower her stress and when she lowers her stress by talking, their estrogen comes up, or if she’s in a second part of her cycle her progesterin comes up and then her stress goes down. Then she’s able to suddenly remember he’s such a great guy. And that’s what I’ve learned, men have not learned this, if you let a woman express what’s in there, don’t let her walk over you, walking over you. But first of all if she can express and feel safe to express herself, she will come back to a positive place. However, there’s a certain point where you can only hear so much and then you continue listening that’s her walking over you. I never let my wife walk over me, it’s like I said, I hear you. It’s a nice way of saying stop talking. Because there’s a message in it, you can only hear so much. And it’s not about vulnerability of men, it’s all people, men and women. If I start telling my wife you shouldn’t be upset, why you being so critical, you’re so selfish. Boom, she’ll be so defensive it’s unbelievable. So there’s no advantage that men have over women when it comes to defensiveness, it’s just that the advantage we men have to make a good relationship, is that, in a sense we’ve got abs, we can suck it up. We’ve got the ability to compartmentalize our feelings. We can have a lot of problems here, and we can forget it temporarily and go back to it. Women have very hard time compartmentalizing things unless they have really high testosterone, but then they’ll be stressed out. They’ll be stuck in the compartment of overwhelm, always doing and doing and doing. But for men, we can shift gears if we exercise that ability. And women, to a certain extent foolishly, are not letting us exercise that ability. You come home, you go to your cave, you wanna forget your problems and she’s saying how was your day, tell me more details. What else, how did you feel, give me all the details. I’m not against giving women details of your day, but only once you’re feeling good. Once you’re feeling balanced, then you can share what’s inside of you. But not because I need you and that’s back to neediness, it’s back to I’m happy to share with you, but always make sure she’s sharing more than he is. ‘Cause so many times when women are feeling insecure, they’ve got a lot of emotion inside, a lot of feelings inside. What they do, is they want you to talk. That’s when they need to talk. And so I’ll turn it around, ya know my wife will say, well tell me more, so I say well first you tell me more. No, no you go first, I say no you go first, you’re the girl. And that’s what we have to learn that there are differences between men and women. If I start talking about my day, particularly if I’m upset, my estrogen goes up. Polarity, when a man’s estrogen goes up, a woman’s testosterone goes up. When a woman’s estrogen levels go up, my testosterone goes up, it’s like a balance. When she’s being feminine, it makes me masculine. When I’m being feminine, it makes her masculine and when women become masculine with their partner, they either detach emotionally and have no libido towards them, or they feel motherly towards them and have no libido towards them. So for women to feel desire, which every man wants to be desired, everybody wants to be desired. For women the prerequisite to desiring a man is to feel that her needs are being met. And what are her needs? The greatest needs of women is the need to feel safe, to feel that he honors that space that she lives in. She has a great need to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel understood. And I know some men are listening and they’re going, I have that too. Yeah, you have it, multiply by times 10 and you have a woman. That’s what women need in order to produce estrogen. And they also need to feel that someone cares about them. Yes, I need to feel someone cares about me, that’s my female side, but more importantly, I need to feel that I’m successful in caring for somebody else, that I’m wearing the hero, I’m wearing the helmet, I’m the protector. That’s a archetypal male energy that’s biologically based. And ya know I talked about the pair-bonding before, in a sense the extreme of pair-bonding is hero and damsel in distress. And he’s riding in his white horse, he’s got his, he gets in there and he saves the princess and she marries him and loves him. There’s a basic archetype of all fairy tales, they wanna abolish that, but this is male/female energies. The man has to access that and so how does a woman awaken that in a man? It’s so much harder today than ever before, which is why men don’t make commitments to women. Is you need to feel successful, you need to feel you won the tournament, you need to feel you made the, you hit the goal. And a woman can do that for a man when she falls in love with him and appreciates him and trusts him and accepts him with all his imperfections. And so vulnerability is good from the sense for men, which is yeah I blew it again. But not, oh I feel bad, I feel blue and I need comfort and solace from you. No, it’s just not being defensive about it, like yes I did, I did perfect. Ya know that’s not working either.
– which is not that always have to sort of prove yourself to be perfect, because you’re already great, you’re good enough. Good enough is good enough.
– Yep, well I mean if we could agree on that and have that be the level of communication so we could accept each other, that makes for a really nice intimate relationship where you don’t need to cross over and meet in the middle there. The book is called Mars and Venus. We’re over time right now, so I do have to cut out. The book is available this January, late January. John Gray, I mean he’s probably written a gajillion books as we said. And a fascinating subject. Ya know listen, this is contentious ’cause there’s so many opinions out there, but look you’ve helped a lot of people so I recommend looking at this for your own life with your own relationship and implementing some of this advice to see where you can find some more balance in yours.
– It’s Beyond Mars and Venus.
– Beyond Mars and Venus is the new book, yeah absolutely. So let me know what you think, this is Dr. Pedram Shojai the Urban Monk. I will see you next time.