“This is the fourth article of eight about women. This article focuses more on Chongtu (conflict), fatigue, aggression, menstruation, Anjing (secret menstruation), impulse control and bad behavior. The angle of the article is a combination between Chinese medicine, Chinese psychology and Western science. Remember the article is provocative to stimulate growth. The references will be published on the seminars “Women and TCM”.
Welcome to read The user manual for Women part 4. Enjoy.”
冲突 Chōngtū – Conflict
It is cemented in the congenital essence of all girls to avoid social conflicts and save all their relationships. Since the female brain is constructed for avoiding problems and to maintain relationships she will constantly scan the world to detect possible rejections and problems to attend. Men might find this scanning annoying. The scanning function is related to Spleen zang and Yi. Besides scanning, women also want confirmation of their prime position and their position in the relationship. The wish for prime position is closely related to lung zang and Po. It is clear that this is hormonally guided and for a woman the essence is bounding. Her bounding is intimately related to serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin (bounding hormone). When a woman feels closeness, intimacy and experiences social contact, she increases her levels of oxytocin. These hormones create classical Yin symptoms, the more Yin she becomes. When her Yin reaches its extreme, Duliang, we find her transforming into its opposite; Yang. If her bounding fails we find cortisol (stress hormone) taking over oxytocin and dopamine. Automatically when her cortisol levels increase she will start to get an increased fear of being left alone. Fear is intimately related to Li in kidney zang or more correctly a kidney yang state provoked by an elevated activity in Hun causing a Fang wei (mirroring). If she gets emotionally hurt by somebody (for whatever reason), then she automatically thinks that the relationship has ended. Her brain scans the surroundings for any indicators of losing closeness, and if the brain finds this loss it will scream abandonment. Automatically she will start to feel bad. Young women fear for losing intimate relationships and will do everything to avoid it. Chongtu (conflict) is not the real problem, abandonment is.
It is important to know that Chinese medicine associates irritability, frustration and aggression to liver zang yang states. The mental connection of liver zang, suggested by Chinese psychology, is Hun, making Hun part of aggression. Aggression is closely related to woman’s cognitive, emotional and verbal functions. The way a woman accommodates her mind will include Hun, but never forget that Ben (the root) is in the congenital essence stored in the kidney essence. Women do not connect physically (as men do) when aggression starts. It might sound strange, but they do not fight or run under pressure; this is due to the fact that women are Yin and not Yang (as men). When the world is heating up around women, they rely on their social ties; their Yin structures. Women will help and defend other members of their social group: this is called Tend and Befriend. This might be observed as women from the same social network tend to group together and defend against men and external groups. The final goal is to help others and care for the offspring of others (within reason), and they will take care of yours (also within reason). The larger social network a female Baboon has the better survival rate has their offspring; humans share this phenomenon. That is why a girl that enters puberty will start to connect with other women; to protect her future offspring.
疲弱 Píruò – Tired – Qi xu
Pubertal girls suffer frequently from a Qi xu. They are more tired and require more sleep than before. The reason for this is that the brains sleep cells are reset by the increasing estrogen, making her cycle of day-night become disturbed for a period. Estrogen has generally a Yin function, but in quality it creates a Yang effect. At the same time we might also observe other changes like a development of a lung yin xu, changing her breathing and an activation of the kidney essence creating an elevated production of growth hormone (GH). In short, estrogen changes many aspects in the female brain. Until the age of eight for boys and seven for girls we find quite identical brain waves during sleep; then something starts. Five years later girls experiences up to a 40% shift in the brain waves, while the boys continue like before. Brain waves might be seen as Shen qi. This changes in Shen qi are a sign of the maturation of her brain. Boys will also experience this change, but later than girls. In short, Girls become Women long before Boys become Men. One of the indicators is when boys start to sleep longer than girls, when testosterone starts moving the sleep cycle around the age of 16 years; Yang Fire.
嚣张 Xiāozhāng – Aggression
As we know the menstruation cycle is guided by the female estrogen. The estrogen will make her mind more socially relaxed the first two weeks of the cycle; this is called the estrogen phase or the quiet or peaceful period as a man would like to call it. Actually woman get a 25% growth in the estrogen sensitive Hippocampus in this period. The effect of this growth is a mental boost. She will think a little better, clearer, remember more and connect easier; Shen qi is stronger. In plain words the brain function on a higher level. Psychic qi circulates better in the complex meridian patterns integrated in the mental model; as reflected in Shen qi. At day 14 she has ovulation and with the ovulation she gets a new hormone called progesterone entering the cycle. Secreted from the left overs of the egg moving out of the ovaries. Progesterone reverses the positive effects the estrogen had on the brain. The brain slows down again, and as a result we find the mind becoming less sharp and brilliant. Psychic qi and Shen qi get weaker; develop a Qi xu. In the same period and due to the same changes the woman also becomes more tired and sleepy than usual; Qi xu. She also becomes easily irritated and frustrated, and on top of this she has increased stress sensitivity; elevated activity in Hun or hyperactivity in liver Yang. The extra connections the Hippocampus created by the estrogen are destroyed in the progesterone phase. Hippocampus is the center of word processing or even more correctly memories for words. Long-term memory is related to Zhi and kidney zang. A woman is verbally fantastic and peaks in week two. From week three she gets worse due to the estrogen variation. The last days of the menstruation cycle are normally put just before the menstruation bleeding that is the beginning of the cycle. When she is out of both progesterone and estrogen she will soon get her menstruation bleeding. Common indicators in the end are tiredness and an increased irritation, emotional instability and aggression; Qi xu and liver qi stagnation. Then every man on the planet knows that later today or tomorrow the wife will get her period. 80% of the women are sensible and cry easily over whatever; 10% severe. Then she starts to bleed; menstruation has arrived, and she is on her way into a new menstruation cycle with an increasing estrogen.
天癸 Tiānguǐ (Heaven 10th heavenly stem) – The Menstruation factor
Tiangui is the sacral essence or qi that makes it possible for a woman to get pregnant. It might be seen as the hormones, Xue (blood) or a combination of multiple factors. Without Tiangui a person cannot become pregnant (just to have mentioned it). Many believe that a woman is fertile just before the period, but that is not true. A woman is most fertile 5 days before to 2 days after ovulation, indicating that the second week and the beginning of the third week counted from the last period in a woman with a 28 day cycle. For example a menstruation the 1st of January should give an increased fertility from 7th of January to 16th of January. She will get her period the 28th of January. Having written this we need to remember that the sperm might live for about 5 days inside a woman, making unprotected coitus the 3rd of January might cause a pregnancy. We also need to understand that sometimes the ovule move different than estimated and might be fertilized by the sperm later than the 16th of January. Beside this we know that some women are irregular in their menstruation cycle and might cause pregnancy in periods that should have been safe. Humoristic written, when a woman starts to become irritated and emotional instable, we find the chance for her to be pregnant as low, but the chance for copulation is dramatically reduced also. Anyhow, to stay safe from unwanted pregnancies – use safe contraceptive methods as condom, contraceptive pills and others.
暗经 Anjīng – Secret (latent) menstruation
Anjing is a word that has been used in multiple ways when explaining menstruation and its more hidden aspects. 月经 Yuè jīng is the normal name for menstruation cycle, but this name is not commonly used when speaking about pathology. In Chinese psychology we often use the word Anjing to explain the other side of the menstruation cycle, the hidden or less visible aspects. Perhaps Anjing is more intimately connected to hormones and then especially the mental aspect of the menstruation cycle. Let us look a little deeper into the exact point where the women loses mental control in the menstruation cycle or the real Anjing. Women with an elevated production of estrogen and progesterone tend to resist stress better than others; this due to the strong relation between this hormones and elevated levels of the happy hormone, Serotonin. Serotonin is important for our peristaltic movement AND our feeling of wellness; our Shen qi. When a woman get very low levels of estrogen and – progesterone she tends to be more modish in this part of the cycle partly due to a reduced amount of serotonin to the brain cells. Another indication is a reduced peristaltic movement and constipation. We might see intimate connections between low estrogen, low progesterone, low serotonin, and modishness and constipation. When the levels are extremely low we often find this persons develop extreme versions and lose control of their temper, enter rage and become totally uncontrollable; premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Variation in hormones combined with low serotonin tend to wake up the reptile brain and create drama. Shen qi xu gives a rise of activity in Hun; aggression and irritability is often the result. A special distinction here is rapid changes in mood from aggression to sadness; changes often without reason. This liver qi stagnation comes from the elevated activity in Hun caused by a Shen qi xu. In this type of situations we might suspect the liver qi stagnation to transform itself to Wind, Liver Wind. This bad mood is NOT a mental problem or due to poor education. This terribly bad mood is simply cyclical hormones connected to the menstruation cycle playing drums inside the brain of the female; especially low levels of estrogens, progesterone, and serotonin. Women that are super sensitive to cyclical changes tend to suffer from PMDD. PMDD might be treated with the birth control pill to stabilize changing hormones, or in Chinese medical language, to calm the Wind. With relative constant levels of estrogen and progesterone we find serotonin levels to also stay stable, and the result is no PMDD. When the hormones start to circulate in girls we find the depression rate increase; Liver qi stagnation. For example a 15 year old girl is two times more likely to suffer from depression than a 15 year old boy. The hormones and the Chinese medical cycles are the basis for understanding Anjing.
冲动 Chōngdòng – Impulse and Poor impulse control
An increased activity in Hun caused by cyclical changes in Yang might cause a woman to develop Wind due to a transformation of a Liver yang state. This emotional- and impulse-control in the prefrontal cortex is an aspect that we need to address in teenage girls. In the light of Anjing we found that hormonal changes connected to the cycles play a major role in the mental aspect in girls. Another interesting aspect is happening as a result of the altered hormones in puberty. In the age around 12 years old (the initiation of puberty) or 14 years of age according to Chinese medicine we find the girls have much more activity than normal in their minds. They enter the reproductive age and their body changes dramatically. The first period we find their mind work in 100 km/h, but their nerve connections in the brain still lack maturation. As a result we find emotional impulses from Amygdala flaring trough her brain. Leading to a situation where her prefrontal cortex (the filter) receives the information, but is far too slow to absorb it; a type of backslash.
The result of this problem is that the teenager brain acts impulsive since the filter is still not developed sufficiently to provide a proper consequence analysis, meaning her ideas are not filtered in the proper place in the brain due to lack of development. The core here is that the woman is temporarily missing myelin around the nerves from amygdala to the prefrontal cortex. The impulsive acts of a teenager are therefore related to immature nerve connections in the brain. A girl would not act thoughtful since the excess of information causes an information overload; an overload that provokes the awakening her primitive reactions. A woman acts differently than men. For example she has another way of taking revenge than a man. He will fight, but she makes indirect revenges. To be able to do this properly she needs mental maturity. In Chinese psychology we speak about the connections in the mental model. How Yi send to Hun, Hun to Shen, Shen to Zhi, Zhi back to Shen, and how Hun mirrors in Po.
We also focus on the internal activities in the mental aspects with a focus on Duliang. It is also focused on the paths of the information flow; where the psychic qi circulates. The actual paths are an element of interest. An element like the path acts independent of the actual mental aspects. Sometimes the paths are not sufficient strong to handle the information flow or the excessive amount of psychic qi that occasionally might pass. Then we will get problems with accumulation of psychic qi in one of the mental aspects and a deficiency in another. We mature in a non-linear pattern, and as a result we accumulate odd situations along the path of life. We might get upset from details and ignore important facts. The classical example is immature connections between Shen and Zhi. Causing acts from Hun happen without Shen consulting Zhi. In plain words, impulses become actions and realities. Think about children that cannot control themselves in a trivial matter. This is quite common in the Yang Wood – and Yang Fire stage; immature mind. We also find this happening often in Yin metal and Yin Water stage; senile mind. This connection between the mental aspects and meridians are often the origin to problems with dementia and childish behavior.
In this phase of mental development we find the brain reconstruct itself to an adult brain under the influence of the sex hormones. New connections are required and will be made. This process will take many years in both genders, but a girl starts 2 years before – and finishes before the boy. Depending on the place in the menstruation cycle we will find different activities in her prefrontal cortex. Sometimes her thinking is very reasonable and her behavior proper, but if she get a little stressed (yes just a little bit of whatever insignificant reason) she might transform into a monster with a total mental meltdown. In a split second we find her transforming from reflected to disaster. In situations like this adults need to stay calm and avoid discussing with this meltdown teenager girl. Take some deep breathings and repeat inside yourself 100 times: “She is not crazy or stupid. She is only drugged by hormones, reconstructing her brain and under a self-experienced stress.” Most likely she will not remember what you say or what she said when the situation clears up. When impulse-control is lost the adult must take control if needed. That means if she really got some crazy ideas and starts to effectuate them somebody need to be awake and stop her, but if not needed stay calm, centered and remember that this passes in a few minutes by itself. If you intervene it might last much longer. Chinese medicine explains this as being the Yang Fire period. As you know Fire flares up and moves a little around, but it does not create greater permanent damage. The damage from Fire occurs when other aspects take fire. For example the parents get upset due to the behavior of the girl. The girl has transmitted her Fire to her parents.
撒野 Sāyě – Bad behavior
Girls have a strong tendency to become mean towards others in puberty; VERY MEAN. As we know girls are indeed social beings. They communicate and interact mostly with other girls 24/7. Social connections are (by the girl) regarded as very important and essential for her survival. Any treat against her position in social groups and social interactions will automatically create a reaction. For example, girls have a strong tendency to gather in groups or cliques. It is common to find disagreements between these cliques. Of course inside these cliques and between them we also find rivalry and subtle competitions, making this a type of minefield. If somebody does something wrong or if she perceives a person like a threat she will attack. The most used attack strategy from a girl is rumors and indirect attacks. She will as long as possible try to avoid an open fight that might put the connections inside the clique in danger. Girls might be smiling and running around holding hands, but at the same time doing semi-invisible mean things to each other. An interesting aspect to remember is the competition between cliques to be the most attractive one, but also the internal one within the clique. When observing girls in this age you need to look behind their acts and words to find the truth. Everything exists in a Wai-Nei context; inside-outside.
Androgen hormones (testosterone, DEHA and androstenedione) increase from the beginning of puberty and as a result we get more aggressive behavior. Boys are at their highest in androgens by the age of 21 years and 19 for girls. Normally we regard facial acne (unisex) and an increased interest in copulation (boys) as the classical indicator on increasing androgens. Girls might get more aggressive (physical) in their evilness when the androgens are high. It is also possible to trace other odd behaviors to the variations within the menstrual cycle. In this context it is especially interesting to look into the increase of androgens in the second and third week of menstruation cycle. The androgen hormones will function as a turbo on the aggression in the woman; something that can be observed as through a reduced social focus and less empathy. Women with low levels of androgens (perhaps due to the contraceptive pill) will manifest more focus on social connection and empathy, but also a reduced interest in sex and less aggression. Most likely we find androgens AND estrogens interact when creating the dominant female characteristics; perhaps promoting is a more correct word than creating. We should also remember that women that are aggressive and that lack sexual interest is a problem related to something else. The variation of Yin/ Yang, according to the phase in the cycle, most frequent activates Hun and liver zang.
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