IAP 4 exercise 4.5 words and images

When a man is stressed he will withdraw into the cave of his mind and focus on solving a problem. […] If he cannot find a solution to his problem, then he remains stuck in the cave. To get unstuck he is drawn to solving little problems, like reading the news, watching TV, driving his car, doing physical exercise, watching a football game, playing basketball and so forth. Any challenging activity that initially requires only 5 per cent of his mind can assist him in forgetting his problem and becoming unstuck. Then the next day he can redirect his focus to his problem with greater success.

When a man goes into his cave he is generally wounded or stressed and is trying to solve his problem alone.

The biggest challenge for women is correctly to interpret and support a man when he isn’t talking.

Men generally have little awareness of how distant they become when they are in the cave.

The number one complaint women have in relationships is, “I don’t feel heard.”

A man’s deepest fear is that he is not good enough or that he is incompetent.

It is difficult for a man to listen to a woman when she is unhappy or disappointed, because he feels like a failure.

When women talk about problems, men usually resist. A man assumes she is talking with him about her problems because she is holding him responsible. The more problems, the more he feels blamed. He does not realise that she is talking to feel better. A man doesn’t know that she will appreciate it if he just listens.

Words from Gray, J. (1992) Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. New York: HarperCollins.

I have enjoyed this exercise more than the others in this section, and also found it the most useful. It showed me how I can point the viewer towards a reading of an image that might otherwise not be considered up by them – a way of saying, this is what I see when I look at this photograph. This seems to be both a closing down and an opening up of meaning, but ultimately I think it’s an opening up because the viewer is free to (and inevitably will) make their own interpretation of both the image, the accompanying text and the relationship between the two.