2 Women and men are different – who knew!
Dr Brizendine (author of the The Female Brain ) refers to studies that have shown that women “are motivated – on a molecular and a neurological level – to ease and even prevent social conflict. Maintaining the relationships at all costs is the female brain’s goal.” (p. 40) The female brain has “more negative alert reactions to relationship conflict and rejection” than the male brain.
In our brain – the amygdala (in the limbic system) is the centre for “fear, anger, and aggression”. In men this is bigger than in women. This means that men’s anger button is bigger – and easier to activate.
The prefrontal cortex (including the anterior cingulate cortex) – the part that controls anger, fear and aggression is relatively larger in women. This means that women’s brains have an aversion to conflict because they worry about the consequences and retaliation; they worry about loosing the relationship. This part of the female brain hijacks the emotion and chews on it (similar to a the way cows chew on their cud – it is related to their ‘rumen’ – part of their GIT) – we ruminate.
Studies have found that if conflict breaks out in a game, the girls tended to “stop playing to avoid” angry confrontations, while the boys generally continued to play, competing, arguing. (p.130 Brizendine).
However, women will break through this aversion when really pushed to the edge. Things have to be really bad though and at that point, it could end up in WW3!
Women’s way of processing conflict and anger usually moves through the brain’s gut feeling, conflict-pain anticipation, and verbal circuits. Women ruminate, they talk to other people, and then, once their faster verbal circuits get going – unleash a barrage of angry words.