• What is Mansplaining and How Can I Stop?

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    Mansplaining is when you assume superiority over your partner.

    As a therapist, I’ve seen it look like a condescending CEO addressing a lower-level employee, or a condescending father addressing his daughter.

    When someone mansplains, their attitude is to solve differences by proving how they’re right and how the other person is wrong. This does not feel good to be on the receiving end of this and it creates resentment and withdrawal. It’s the opposite of collaboration as it’s me vs you.

    If I’m man, how do I know if I’m mansplaining? Here are some questions to consider:

    Am I assuming I’m right and my partner is wrong?

    If yes, become curious about your partner’s stance, don’t just assume they’re wrong. No one thinks they’re wrong to themselves. They have a perfectly good reason for believing what they do. Provide space for that and it doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.

    For someone who mansplains a lot, the fix is compassionate curiosity. For example, become curious why your partner feels or thinks that way – it’s just as valid as your perspective!

    Am I feeling judgmental or critical towards my partner?

    If yes, take a deep breath and think about their positive qualities and all they do for the family before you speak. Come down off your high-horse and think that your partner is trying their best. Very rarely does someone do something to intentionally upset their partner.

    Also, letting go of criticalness is a good thing for you. Holding such feelings is not good for you in the long-term.

    What triggers my mansplaining, does it result from me feeling bad or critical about myself?

    You have to be honest here. Often, if we’re feeling critical of ourselves, it’s easy to turn that energy onto our partner.

    Instead of doing this, do something else. Splash some water on your face, go for a walk, or do some cardio. The fix is to remember that I’m not less than or better than anyone else – that’s appropriate self-esteem.

    Has my partner brought it to my attention that I can be condescending?

    If so, pause and speak to her as an equal, because she is. I got this from Terry Real and he calls it basic empathy:

    Before I speak, how is it going to land for my partner?”

    These questions can help us stop mansplaining because no one likes to be on the receiving end of it. If we are connected to the consequences of mansplaining, we can be motivated to do this work and it’s in our best interest.

    You got this!

     

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