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Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…

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Men and Respect:Women, Questioning and Intuition

man silhouette

“A man’s highest need is to feel respect, whereas a woman’s highest need is to feel loved.”

— Marriage expert and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn

In Shaunti Feldhahn’s article, The 5 Respect Needs of Men, she says men feel disrespected and not loved if their partners question their decisions or abilities. The biggest injustice and hurtful act of disrespect for men? Being criticized or questioned in front of others.

Uh oh.

All of this set off an alarm in my head.

Personal growth = Oh I’m the asshole!  

— Antonia Dodge, Personality Hacker

One man in my past told me I argue too much. He asked why I question him. I was dumbfounded as to why he thought I was arguing. I hate arguing.

Perhaps he felt I questioned his competence or knowledge. Perhaps I did question his competence or knowledge?

Intuition and feelings lead me

I follow my intuition a lot, which means I take a bit of knowledge, instantly pattern search it and come to a conclusion based on a quick recall of past experiences.

I also check in to see how something feels to me. If it doesn’t feel right, I doubt it. I can see where others might not trust these methods. They are not particularly rational. Non-linear thinking makes many people nervous and frustrated. But I’ve learned to trust my intuition because it is often accurate.

Are you questioning my capabilities?

It has been my experience, that most men have a dire need to be deferred to and trusted. My intuition and ‘how does it feel’ tests don’t require me to depend on someone else’s judgment (these are introverted functions — they happen on the inside), and can cause discord because my thoughts might run counter to theirs. I’ve had male clients, past boyfriends and current guy friends, get ruffled when they thought their competence was in question. Mind you, I did not do all the ruffling. My clients have companions of their own who know how to make them feel disrespected. Since working with male clients, I definitely see a pattern of hurt and frustration due to doubting of their judgment and/or abilities.

The hard part for women is that most of the time we truly do not know we are doing it. All of those times we remind our husbands or sons to do something? Those are acts of distrust to them.

Negative assumptions

We all know what damage assumptions can do. They can lead down a rabbit hole of miscommunication and misjudgment. Admittedly, I remind my son to do things. I’ve tried to be more hands-off but then he doesn’t know where his wallet is, get up on time or put away his laundry. Sigh… I assume he won’t remember or if he does, he won’t do it right. He feels like I don’t trust him or believe in his competence. I would really like to let go of this draining way of interacting. I’m open to suggestions for ways to handle it.

Why are you on their side? Don’t you trust me?

If My man was at odds with someone, I did my best to empathize with him and understand his perspective.  I also could not help seeing the perspective of the others involved. It’s natural for me to do that. Again my introverted intuition comes into play. It loves to forecast and figure out others perspectives. My man always felt like I defended the other person. He would even ask me to stop defending them. I think he saw my perspective shifting as not backing him up or not trusting his judgment. The weird thing is I understand that too. I just couldn’t stop doing it.

It is interesting to note, that if there is any negativity emanating from an individual, it often sways me to empathize with the other side in a debate.

How do we make our men feel respected?

I’ve tried everything from softer wording to blind allegiance regarding my reactions to a man’s decisions or abilities. The hard part is when your reactions are not authentic to you but they feed your man. That causes internal  discord but creates a positive effect on your relationship.

For now, I am working on being aware of when my words or actions make a man feel disrespected. I hope awareness leads to more respectful and trustful behavior on my part and more ease and comfort on theirs.

I’ve read that smart women have a harder time finding partners. Could that be because they challenge the men they meet and make them feel disrespected?

How respected does your guy feel? How respected does your partner make you feel?

** I believe women feel disrespected and questioned too.



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  1. JJPK January 24, 2018 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    I’ve heard that men crave respect above all. As a woman, I struggle with this concept. I hate micromanaging and nagging too and I value friendships and relationships in which belittling of others is kept at a minimum.

    However, I struggle with this insight because the word “respect” gets used in two ways in our culture. In one definition, “respect” means “treating everyone equally” as in “in our family, we treat each other with respect.” In another meaning, “respect” means “submitting to someone’s authority over you” (As in “respect your elders!”)

    To me, respect needs to be a two-way-street (and so does support, encouragement, and catering a “sensitive ego” male or female). If I stay in a relationship where I’m doing all the “respecting,” it feels like I’m not really respecting myself.

    • Brenda Knowles January 24, 2018 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      I agree. The respecting has to be two-way and both men and women desire respect. I suspect many men have been conditioned to believe respect is more manly than feeling cherished.I also suspect that many men would love to feel truly cherished.
      As women, it is no fun to nag or be nagged. In so many ways, we are all human with more things in common than different.
      Thank you for your input. I hadn’t looked at that post in quite a while.

  2. PeggySu September 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Of course there are women who nag and micromanage their men but there are men who contribute to the problem and whose behavior cause real stress and unhappiness for their wives which is what concerns me here.

    A few years ago I read a wonderful novel, Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.” The husband has recently lost his job and is doing more of the housework, including shopping while his wife is having to work longer at her job. He’s finishing cooking their dinner while she goes to wash up and here’s an incident he remembers.

    [This next section is extracted from the text on page 26 of the print version.]
    …she came out of the bathroom, holding something. It was the toilet paper and tissues I had bought at the supermarket.
    “Why did you buy **this** stuff,” she asked, her voice weary.
    …I had no idea what she was trying to say…..”We need those things. We’re not exactly out but they won’t rot if they sit around a while.”
    “No of course not. But why did you have to buy **blue** tissues and **flower-pattern** toilet paper?”
    “…They were on sale. …. What’s the big deal?”
    “It **is** a big deal. I hate blue tissues and flower-pattern toilet paper. Didn’t you know that?”
    “No, I didn’t,” I said. “Why do you hate them?”
    “How should I know why I hate them? I just do. **You** hate telephone covers, and thermos bottles with flower decorations, and bell-bottom jeans with rivets, and me having my nails manicured. Not even **you** can say why. It’s just a matter of taste.”
    In fact, I could have explained my reasons for all those things, but of course I did not.
    [End of extract.]

    In my view, the wife was in a lose-lose situation. By saying something she (apparently) upset her husband but if she hadn’t said anything, she still would have been hurt by the lack of connection.

    I don’t know about his wife but I (and likely most women) could explain why I dislike colored or pattern toilet paper. However, I especially loved reading this anecdote because it reminded me of something that had happened years ago when I was in my early 30’s and still married to my first husband.

    A friend of ours had dropped by while I was taking care of our two little kids and my husband had gone shopping. She was still there when he got back and I started unpacking what he’d bought. When I noticed that he’d gotten a large package of unwrapped toilet paper rolls instead of the individually wrapped rolls I prefer, I tried once again to explain to him the advantages of the individually wrapped rolls. I remember our friend saying, “It doesn’t have anything to do with your belief systems about toilet paper, it’s a matter of being thoughtful.” The phrase “your belief systems about toilet paper” still makes me laugh and remembering how nice it was to be understood and supported sometimes helps me to not say anything when my current (second) husband does something similar.

    • Brenda Knowles September 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Yes, I do think it’s often about being understood and supported. If our partner’s take the time to notice what we like it feels good. It’s thoughtful. I guess it’s thoughtful when we respect a man’s decisions too. 🙂
      Thanks for your comment PeggySu! It hit home.

  3. Kat September 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you Brenda & Michaele for the reply, and for this (hard ;), yet refreshing conversation!

    I know a few friends, who constantly complain about their ‘quarrelsome’ wives! How they find it very hard to deal with the constant micromanaging approach their wives take!
    I get to hear those stories because, I have male friends who trust me enough as a friend, to tell me how difficult their lives are at home in that regard! And I do realize, this may well sound like a frowned upon betrayal to my gender sisters!!! And one can go as far as assuming, I’m being a naïve female, listening to such tales, ‘and’ even offering the random advice at times…The truth is, I ‘do’ see how bossing a partner or a husband around, telling him he needed to change THAT lightbulb for example, while he’s in the middle of fixing the leaky faucet in the kitchen his wife has been complaining about, which was a project he was urged to ‘hurry’ and get started on, when she spotted him taking the trash out :))…I know! I’m dizzy too :)!
    See! I get how ‘hard’ it is to live a happy marriage, while being ordered to do nonstopping ists of tasks and chores…But at the same time and to my defence, i also get the overly critical partner/spouse, who simply has a different (and sometimes dominant) way of doing things. The one, who likes order. The one who will tell you if he/she thinks you are doing it ‘wrong’! And their way is better!

    Yes compromise isn’t easy! Yes living under the same roof with someone, no matter how much you love them, is absolutely hard as it is, but definitely harder on some personalities than others…So what does one do?! Especially there are different variations to the ‘hard’ conjugal life as a couple! Like in my case, I might be able to learn from what my friends go through, to not repeat that certain behaviour of treating my spouse as if he’s incompetent, doesn’t know how to do things right..etc…but, I’m still struggling, just in a different way. I might not micromanage, but our other differences are killing me haha…

    What does one do, if they love the person to peieces, yet they struggle to ‘compromise’ after compromising for what feels like eternity?

    I personally, feel stuck…my spouse is amazing at many levels…and I’ve come to see, how much I love him! Since I ‘choose’ to stay! Yet, our personalities are so different! I’m the female, but I’m the one who doesn’t ask for a list of things to be done, constantly criticize him, give conflicting instructions of what I ‘think’ I need done! In fact, It’s the opposite way around at times! I feel the stress of being micromanaged, and how have I been dealing with it? Not so good :)!!! I try to understand, see the bright side in his personality and I try to be rational in my thinking ‘I am lucky he’s not lazy! He’s such a hard working guy! Why can’t I accept it for what it is??!…etc etc’. And yes, it’s great to be accepting, but..what if after doing this for so long, I’m starting to doubt my overly accepting and forgiving approach?! What if I’m starting to notice, how ‘I’ have gone too far, loving and accepting to a point, I am realizing I’m an enabler, who values peace over anything else! Who in reality, doesn’t really know, how to acknowledge and discuss a flaw in their partner, without fearing they might hurt them, so instead, they have become so good at…well…avoidance to keep the peace!!

    • Brenda Knowles September 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      As someone who was married to a micromanager, I’ll give you my hindsight wisdom. Micromanaging was what my ex-husband did when he was stressed. He feels in control when he has his fingers on the pulse of everyone else’s business/work. He wanted to be loved for what he contributed (organization, structure, getting stuff done). Did your husband get awarded with affection by his parents for his productivity or performance? If so, he could be looking for that affection again. I definitely understand your perspective. It’s hard to be constantly influenced to work and be ‘on’. It feels like you can never rest and enjoy each other. Any chance you could explain to your husband that you could be more energized and affectionate if you had recharge time? Best of luck Kat! I know your plight.

  4. Kat September 5, 2016 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Reading this post and the replies! I couldn’t help but think of my personal situation, where my partner does not seem to know when to stop ‘working’ on projects…I want to support (and I do), I don’t micromanage, I offer help and do help…the problem is, it’s just non stop series of projects and ‘work’. I miss having fun with my partner! I’m tired of constantly ‘supporting’. I’m tired of cheering on new projects. And how about, ‘I’m tired of trying hard to not bruise the man-ego, being my constantly gentle/non nagging self, putting others first!?…How about, I’m tired of caring too much?


    • Brenda Knowles September 6, 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      I understand how tiring project after project can be, especially if you are not connecting as you do them. I’ve been with men who are so task oriented the personal connection is non-existent.
      Interesting point about being careful not to upset the man-ego. That’s the opposite perspective. I know I sometimes find it hard to defer to men on things because I’ve already done the research or experienced them myself. Women of today grow up learning how to be self-sufficient.
      It’s nice to be with a man who has different skills than you. Like Michael above pointed out, it’s good to be with someone who is easy to support and respect.:)
      Thanks for sharing your perspective Kat.

      • Michael September 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

        Kat and Brenda, I’ll just chime in for a few seconds.

        I guess, in all this difficulty that we all talk about having, or have had … it’s just a puzzle to me sometimes, how so many relationships are hard. Kat, I have a brother who is constantly ‘busy.’ To sit and talk? very difficult for him, especially with his wife. She longs for the connection. He avoids it, and always has. I don’t know. maybe we’re so conditioned to the word ‘compromise,’ that the notion of a relationship (I so much prefer the word friendship; shorter, and isn’t it what we really want) implies ‘work.’ It always implies ‘work.’ You have to ‘work at it.’ Aren’t there friendships — love friendships, romantic, platonic — that are easy? Why is it so hard to be ourselves with someone, and the other the same with us? and we take joy in who the other is? and in ourselves? and … it’s easy?

        I’m about the last one to talk about it. If there’s anything I probably cannot do, it’s live with someone. learned the very hard way, most of my life trying to do that. So I take anything i ever say, with a jug of salt.

        I don’t want to work at a friendship any more. on any level. I don’t want to compromise who i am, nor do i want someone to compromise himself or herself, for the sake of my being in his or her life.

        Look. I’m 61. You’re both much younger. I’m on the extreme introvert end of things. I have worked at marriage. Unsuccessfully. I don’t want a friendship, on any level, that requires a lot of work. I’m busy with my life. I’m happy with who I am, mostly (!!) … I love people. I have a very hard time having people in my space for very long.

        I guess, for me, right or wrong, the measure any more is this: do we laugh a lot together? do we laugh easily? can we laugh at ourselves, gently? can we laugh at this crazy, bizarre life that is so difficult in so many ways? if not, for me … I don’t want it. Yes, I can talk about serious things. I am there for people in difficult times. And let us laugh …

        A post I saw awhile back captured it for me: I want a serious relationship with someone i can laugh with for the rest of my life.

        I’m a good person. I want to be with a good person. Let’s each live our lives, love our lives, be happy on our own … and share all of that we are and learn, with another. And laugh …

        There was a book came out a year or two or so ago. A famous book I can’t remember the title of now. Where he photographed hundreds of street people, and non-street people, in New York city — whoever was on the streets. He talked with them. They shared themselves. Bits and pieces. Fascinating. One fellow said of his marriage, ‘She lives her life. I live mine. And then we come together. It works for us.’

        At 61, I don’t have a lot of energy to ‘work’ and ‘compromise’ and trying to figure someone out. I don’t have time for ‘hard.’ I have lots of room in my life for laughter, and joy, and happiness, and uplifting each other and others. Lots of room for the excitement of all that this life offers, that each person offers. Yes, I have my struggles. We all do. It’s all part of it. And let’s be the ones who lift each other, believe in each other … and live our own lives to the best of our ability.

        All that said … blah blah blah!! lol … yes, laughter at the end, at the beauty and craziness and wonder of us all!

        • Brenda Knowles September 10, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

          One question my clients and I always seem to come to is, “How much work is too much work in a relationship?” I always wonder if problems can be solved and then there would be more ease or if two people are just too incompatible. If both people are willing to learn, grow and work at it, could there be ease and laughter? I guess I still have energy and the idealism to work at a relationship, but I can understand if you don’t Michael. You’ve been through the ropes longer than me. I’m listening to your experience and insight.:)

  5. Michael September 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    this one is loaded. triggers frustration and anger on both sides.

    do men like to have their decisions questioned? their motives? forget about motives. let’s just talk about decisions.

    answer is no.

    tough for women, i think, to sit back and really trust the man they’re with. basically, let him do his thing. and trust.

    many women have, i know, been in situations where they have reason to not trust. that’s the thing. i can sit here and say, ‘trust what i’m doing. don’t question it. trust.’ and that assumes that i am actually doing something. not sitting on the couch for 8 hours watching football.

    that assumes that, when it comes to money and business, that i’m working hard, doing my part, hopefully more than my fair share. a lot of men don’t. that’s all. a lot of women get frustrated, and very understandably.

    questioning decisions, criticizing — making ‘helpful suggestions’ — doesn’t help. at all.

    if you are with a man who isn’t working and acting responsibly, you won’t change him by criticizing him, making helpful suggestions, questioning his decisions. it will only make it worse.

    what to do? either stay with him as he is, or take other steps.

    if you stay with him, encourage, don’t question, support, offer expressions of belief and appreciation.

    if the man you are with is working hard, encourage him. appreciate him. express it in words. say the words. and often. say what you admire, what you respect, what you see in him that you love. say the things that drew you to him, and keep you there.

    he may not be doing things as you would. it doesn’t matter. let him do it. and either support him, or don’t. allow him to make decisions, believe in him all the along the way. i’m not saying blindly. but tread carefully with a man’s ego. it is easily bruised, far more easily than most women ever come to appreciate. whatever tough exterior a man has, it is a protection. he doesn’t want to show how vulnerable he is. how much he needs the support and belief and encouragement of the woman he is with. you just have to know that. and act in ways that give him what he needs.

    if you are prone to question and criticize a hard working man, who is doing his best, and you know it … you’ll only lose him. if you fail to express appreciation, admiration, respect, you will lose him. or the relationship will be devoid of any real joy.

    we are all full of flaws. each of us. piled high. the idea isn’t to fix the one you’re with. see him or her as she is. if you can’t believe in him or her as she is, then it’s best to find someone you do feel that way about.

    to express admiration for your man? and the man for his woman? it should come easily. if you feel admiration and respect and gratitude — hopefully an excitement for him — say those things. if you don’t feel those things? well … something’s lost.

    for what those two bits are worth ….


    • Brenda Knowles September 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      The line that sticks out to me is ‘if you can’t believe in him or her as she is, then it’s best to find someone you do feel that way about.’ I agree. There should be more admiration and appreciation than doubt and contempt. It is always easier to find faults. I think most of us need to improve our habits of praising and appreciating. I know I do. Your comments enlighten me Michael.:)

  6. Vicki Brown September 3, 2016 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    I strongly believe that this is a T/F issue (in Jungian / MBTI terms) rather than a male/female issue. F types are 3:1 female; T types are 3:1 male. But those of us who look at Type and Temperament are pretty sure the Type is the key, not the chromosomes.

    “F” people put themselves in other people’s shoes. The NF temperament, in particular, values harmony. in personal relationships. Extraverted Fs (NFJs) base their decisions on group values.

    T people value logic and facts. The NT temperament, above all, requires personal competency, The SJ temperament values duty (so an ST will values logic and duty).

    You’d be unlikely to need to remind an SJ to get up on time, or where he put his wallet, so I’d guess your son is an NT or an S(T)P.

    Everything you’ve written can be re-written as F v T and will still make sense, even when the T is a woman and the F is a man.

    • Brenda Knowles September 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      I’ve thought about the T/F contribution to this a lot. It makes sense. I definitely see a connection between competence/duty and respect (and the T type). My son is either an INTP or an ISTP.:) As an MBTI practitioner, I totally dig analyzing all of this from the type perspective but don’t always spell it out in detail in my writing. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    • Brenda Knowles September 4, 2016 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      One of the other comments on this post is from an INFJ male. Hmmm. 😉

  7. Brett de Villiers September 3, 2016 at 4:59 am - Reply

    Nagging and disrespect are the biggest turn-offs for me… regardless of whether I forgot to pick my socks up off the floor or not. As an INFJ, I’ll absorb the negativity but hold a grudge…

    I prefer gracious women. And by gracious, I mean to be helpful, considerate, generous, polite, and kind. How does nagging fit into that? (Hint: It doesn’t!).

    Nobody’s perfect, but if a woman can’t own up and take responsibility for the negative contribution nagging and disrespect plays on her man, she shouldn’t wonder why she’s not getting any nookie.

    Nothing is more debilitating to me as a man than the ridiculous presumption that a woman’s negativity and negative way of nagging/fault finding should in some way be my Master…. what a horrible, horrible, horrible way to communicate and dishonour a man.

    I mean, who actually wants to be treated that way?

    Sorry. Your article made me need to vent a little! Definitely touched a nerve…

    • Brett de Villiers September 3, 2016 at 5:01 am - Reply

      oh… and Brenda, none of that was directed at you!… just venting here.
      I love your articles. 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles September 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      This topic got you fired up.:) Alright! I think it’s a hot button for a lot of couples. If a woman is gracious and kind in her requests or questions does that make them more palatable? If she was consistently more positive and supportive in her nature, would the man be more likely to want to please her in all ways? I’m personally curious about your perspective. Thanks for sharing Brett!

  8. Michael September 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    this, Brenda, is a very very good one. i will write more later. it is a touchstone of many problems, and many opportunities. just was talking to my sister in law about it.

    i will write more later. i will say this: men are very very simple creatures. complex in ways. and so so so simple … and most women just don’t see it or want to see it, or just cannot say the words that men need to hear.

    and all for a few words, sprinkled lovingly throughout any given day … relationships fade away. our needs are fairly constant … they are simple to fill (haven’t a thing to do with sex, and will certainly increase desire for that woman) … and it’s so rare to see it, hear it, in our own relationships, let alone others.

    and all the along the way, the simplicity of it, of men, is astounding.


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