Why women find it difficult to be assertive in their relationships

I talked in an earlier post on why men find it difficult to express empathy. For women, I have found that one of the most challenging things for them is to stand up for themselves in their relationship; I have many many women clients express how they are sick of their men controlling them, or they have lost themselves in their relationships over time.

There is a biological reason for why this happens.female brain

The female brain is built primarily for connection and social harmony. In a women’s brain, the communication and emotional memory centers are larger than in men’s, and additionally women have huge supplies of the hormones Oestrogen and Oxytocin.

Oestrogen creates an intense focus on communication and emotions, and Oxytocin, which is released when during intimate times (with a partner or a baby or child) leads to strong desires to nurture, help, serve, attach and bond, and additionally, triggers the trust circuits, by shutting down the critical and skeptical mind.

As well as this, the psychological stress of conflict registers far more deeply in female brains than in men’s.

So, maintaining the social approval of others, and the relationship at all costs is the goal, if you are a woman. Women are built to build social bonds based on communication and compromise, and to preserve harmonious relationships.

This all leads to women having outstanding verbal ability, a great ability to connect deeply in friendship and develop empathy, an almost psychic capacity to read faces and tone of voice for emotions and states of minds, a response to distress in others, and a wonderful ability to defuse conflict.


What does this mean?

In summary, women are built to highly value communication, connection, emotional sensitivity and consideration for others. All of these qualities are worthwhile, however women need to be careful not to overdo these and lose themselves in their relationships.

Men, on the other hand, with the flow of testosterone in their system, and more development in the Sexual and Aggressions centres of the brain, are built to be potent and affect the world as an individual.

This has a profound effect on our relationships with each other.

It means that men can learn from women how to be more empathic and communicative and connective, as mentioned earlier; and equally, women can learn from men how to pay attention to their own needs and be more assertive in standing up for themselves, particularly in their relationships with their man.


If you are a woman and don’t know how to go about developing this essential side of you, some individual counselling will help.

Until next time



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