Mary Kelly-Williams: Dr. T she’s not

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ary Kelly-Williams imagines, wrongly, that she understands men. She has penned an article, The Four Words Men Hate Most, at the Good Men Project Magazine. It is an article addressing women, purportedly educating them about why men don’t like to hear the four words, “We need to talk.”

She observes correctly that men are averse to the term. She even calls women out, ever so gently, on aspects of their style and tone, but pads her observations with redundant assertions that she knows how well intentioned these women are.  And then she informs us of the following:

[quote style=”boxed”]When women say, “We need to talk,” what is most likely being said is, “I want to connect with you.”[/quote]

So it appears that women say those words, not in the way men fear, not as the precursor to a round of nagging, but out of some longing for intimacy; a desire to be close.

Men? Hell, she doesn’t even understand women. Well, except perhaps their need for self-delusion, and willingness to pay for it.

I wonder, amidst all Ms. Kelly-Williams’s self-help pablum, if she has ever ventured past her conclusion that men are just misreading their wives, to explore why they tend to react to those four words with such negativity.

Men, like other humans are conditioned on experience.  And that experience for most of them is that “We need to talk,” has nothing to do with “I want to connect with you.” It translates, literally, to “Here is my problem du jour with you, and I want you to listen to it till I am tired of talking, and then fix it.” Yes, Mary, fix it. The canard that women don’t bring men things to fix doesn’t play here, either.

Her attention to what men tell her is cursory and scant. “When I talk to men about their disdain for these four words,” she says, “they admit that hearing these words invokes feelings of shame. “What did I do now?” “What did I not provide?” “Where did I screw up?” “How long is this going to take?””

So, Kelly-Williams hears the words those men are saying, but is she getting the meaning? Not a chance in hell. Nor is she paying any meaningful attention to the behavior of the women they are with. That shame men feel is not pulled out of thin air, or despite their wives “good intentions,” but because that “talk,” that desire to “connect,” is just a paper bag, inside of which is a big fat shame sandwich.

It is, just as those unfortunate men are pointlessly trying to tell Mary, the opening curtain for a command audience, one-woman show on what they did “wrong,” or what they supposedly didn’t provide, or how they are perceived to have screwed up.

Wanting to know how long that sort of thing is going to take is a pretty healthy response. Not putting up with it for 10 seconds is even healthier.

Sure, there are times when men make mistakes and those mistakes have to be addressed. Any decent fellow will tell you that.

There are times when women make mistakes, too. Like trying to shape and mold a man on an ongoing basis with shame and emotional blackmail in order to make him a better servant. Doing that is a mistake, no matter what kind of bullshit candy coating your therapist covers it with.

And bullshit spin on that kind of connection destroying behavior from women is precisely what Kelly-Williams is offering up here

I have known quite a few women in better than a half century of living, including the one I have been with for ten years.  I know how women act when what they actually want is to connect. They flirt, behave with affection and talk pretty much about anything except what they think is wrong with their man.  They hold hands, offer up some kindness and do something else peculiar. They listen.

When they want to complain? They say, “We need to talk.”  And before the Not All Police start flashing their badges, yes, I am sure that literally dozens of times in human history women across the globe have said they “need to talk” when they meant they wanted to connect.  It would hardly be the first time a woman said one thing when she meant another.  Come to think of it, saying one thing and meaning another is just what we are getting from Kelly-Williams.

Her entire article has the flavor or male friendliness, even an air of confronting women with what they do to send their men running for the cave, or anywhere else their woman isn’t.

Unfortunately for her clients, she is still affixed to the idea that there is nothing so dysfunctional happening in these women that they need to be advised, not to watch their tone, but to watch their mouths.

They need to be advised that their husbands could likely drum up a laundry list of petty complaints and imagined slights and dump them all over their wives under the guise of “getting close,” but they actually have the wisdom to forego such childish self-indulgence. Perhaps they opt away from this kind of conduct because they know that accepting trivial differences and letting go of minor transgressions is at the heart of getting close, and that closeness built on less than that is fakery.

If she wanted to help women command respect and attention from their husbands, she would refer them to a mirror and ask them to assess their methods, but mostly their expectations.

Don’t hold your breath, though. There is not a nickel to be made with that. No books that will sell; no seminars that will sell out; no revolving parade of paying asses to fill seats in the waiting room.

In her closing, and after advising women only to consider their tone, Kelly-Williams really gives women her blueprint for success. “The next time you really want to connect with your man,” she says,  “here are four words that are sure to never fail…“Want to have sex?””

That’s it ladies, speak softly and play with his big stick.  The therapist happens to be right on this one. If you want to turn your man-unit into a better trained seal, working ever harder to satisfy every detail of your every capricious whim, then this advice is golden. I mean, as long as he has no self-respect and thinks with his twinkie.

But if you are stuck with a man who dares to imagine himself as something other than a landscaper in your life garden, then you might want to consider another way, like asking yourself what you bring to a relationship, rather than judging your relationship by what it brings to you.

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