“Men are afraid women will laugh at them
Women are afraid men will kill them” Margaret Attwood.
These are very different points of view and it is difficult for the one side to fully understand the other. Certainly men have no idea of the fear of being hurt b a man that woman feels. “What’s all the fuss about?” he might ask. Physical size, using our physical size and memories of what can and does happen to women from men all help to make up the belief. Even when it is perfectly safe those thoughts never stray far from her consciousness. If a man can keep that thought in his mind when she makes strange requests he might not be so surprised.
Conversely a woman has no idea of a man’s fears. For her being laughed at is no big deal. For many men it is when it is from someone they feel vulnerable around. Boys are taught at a very early age to be strong, invulnerable, winners, heroes, and tough. Being laughed at is the biggest comedown leaving a man with a deep sense of shame at looking so weak. His biggest fear he could be branded he acts like he is a woman.
How do we breach this divide. Men in anger management certainly understand their own fears, but often completely unaware of her space. They don’t want to talk about it, however what is their option? Pretend it’s nothing, or start by comparing notes, being open about the topic. Ask her to explain why it is important to her, that in itself could lower the barrier.