Strangely, to men

who'd rather be left alone

than put upon

many women prefer

being put upon

than left alone

It wouldn't be right to think

they like being put upon

but one would have to be blind

not to see how quickly women often opt

for the former

over than the latter

Put upon is a colloquial expression for a variety of specific actions and stances, such as, looking for things to complain about; making a show of struggle and/or sacrifice in doing small deeds which would, at least for a man, not call for attention; exaggerating the difficulty of routine tasks; going out of one's way to make ordinary jobs more difficult than they would naturally be; taking extra responsibilities on oneself which could easily be handled by others; being super-sensitive to actions or comments of others, reading put downs, slights, or even insults where none were intended; looking, as it were, for hard ways to do tasks which would naturally be simple or easy to accomplish; perfectionistic requirements or relatively impossible ideals projected onto everyday tasks (e.g., degrees of cleanliness and order); playing Ain't It Awful or Poor Little Me or Won't You Please Help Me (Princess and pea phenomenon).

If a man doesn't understand these basic gender differences, and, in typical male fashion, simply projects his views onto his wife–that is, assumes that she, like himself, hates being put upon and prefers to be left alone, then he may make significant errors in practice.

For instance, he may lean over backward to avoid her Poor Little Me type complaints, falsely assuming that her bitching is a demand for his change, rather than an easier way (appearing to be "put upon" or self-sacrificial) of coping with a situation. Or, he may become unduly apologetic for "causing" her discomforts, even turning into a Wimp, if he does not see her "put upon" mode as simply an opposite of his "left alone" way.

In practice, simply standing present listening to, that is, consciously acknowledging a wife's stated discomforts, her "put upon" mode of reveling herself, without doing anything, such as, tip-toeing around, trying to avoid a complaint, apologizing as though "its all my fault," or making a great effort to change oneself "so she won't have anything to bitch about," may often be the most effective way of long range coping.

Many a man has discovered, to his own dismay, that removing one source of a wife's complaints may be followed by two or more to take its place–that is, that what was happening was less about his own offenses than activation of her "put upon" mode of functioning in life.