Excerpt – The Way Men Heal – Brain Differences and Testosterone

twmh-prlogScientists have now determined that at 2 months in utero the male fetus is flooded with the mother’s testosterone thus turning the baby boy’s brain into what is being called a “male brain.6” The male brain is being characterized as a problem solving brain or maybe more accurately a brain that is built for understanding and building systems. This can be contrasted with the female brain, which is being seen as a relational brain or a brain that is built to empathize. These characterizations do not mean that men can’t empathize or that women can’t problem-solve. Far from it. It simply suggests that on average the male brain is better suited to understand and build systems and the female brain is better suited to empathize.

This experience when the testosterone floods the baby in utero does not only happen for baby boys. Sometimes it happens with baby girls. Some are estimating that it happens for girls at a rate of about 20%7. When the flood occurs in a baby girl guess what happens? Her brain becomes more like the male brain and her brain is better suited to understand and build systems. This is critical to understand. Both men and women can possess what is being called the male or female brain. The researchers are estimating that 20% of women have male brains and 20% of men have female brains. They go on to say that another 20% of both sexes have “hybrid” brains which means they have a blend of the two8. These ideas help us understand why many people say there are really no gender differences between men and women. They point to the fact that their dear Aunt Sally always wanted to play linebacker for the Packers and their uncle Mort loved romance novels. And they are probably correct. There is a wonderful variation among men and women and there are no solid lines marking black and white. It’s all grey! But here is the rub. Most men, about 60-80%, have male brains, and most women, about 60-80% have female brains. There is about 20% of both sexes that are in the middle and then a minority of about 20% who have the brain of the opposite sex. Remember though, that the exception does not disprove the rule. Because of this if we compare men and women we may not see dramatic differences since this isn’t a black and white differentiation. However, if we compare those men and women who have a purely male brain from those men and women who have a purely female brain the differences will likely start to stand out in greater contrast. If you are a man this book will likely be of help to you but there are also quite a few women who will be able to relate to its contents. It is for this reason that we simply can’t make claims about all men doing things one way and all women doing them another. It’s more complicated than that. However, it is also clear that the majority of men will have a male brain and be more likely to follow the masculine path and it is indeed those men and the masculine women who this book addresses.

It’s easy to see how someone with a brain that values problem solving and building systems would be much more likely to seek out an action to help “solve” the situation with their emotional chaos. Basically, if one has a brain that is best suited to empathize then they would be likely to turn to an empathic solution if stressed or traumatized and that would more likely be the default feminine type healing.

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