The Challenge of “Katigasan ng Ulo”

One of the characteristics of Filipinos is what they call “katigasan ng ulo” or, basically, stubborness (literally “hardheadedness”).

What this basically entails, and I am speaking here from personal experience, is that the more you try to straighten them out, the more they keep doing what they do. They resist, resent and carry on with the habit you are so desperately trying to “correct”.

Perhaps they have high blood pressure and keep eating baboy (pork meat). The more you or their doctors tell them that they should stop consuming this food, or reduce it at least, the more they eat it. Perhaps they are heavy drinkers and their liver is seriously damaged and no amount of “preaching” seems to convince them to stop (I am talking about men here, Filipino women hardly drink alcohol). Perhaps they keep spending wrecklessly and you are trying hard to convince them to save up to no avail.

As a well meaning husband of a Filipino woman you may likely be trying to straighten her out in certain areas where she is medyo matigas ang ulo, or a little hardheaded.

Keep in mind that, as I keep repeating in this blog, “preaching” and making them wrong hardly works with them.

The only approach that seems to work with Filipinos is making them want to do the right things instead of attacking what’s wrong.

As I’ve already mentioned in another post, instead of attacking your wife’s addiction to junk food for example (if she has this problem), you can tell her how sexy she is and try to “indirectly” convey the idea that she would be much more sexy if she ate differently. This way you make her want to do what’s beneficial for her instead of uselessly attacking the problem a million times.

Nothing is more effective than a soft approach to attack the hard. In much the same way as water, which is the softest thing in the world, makes inroads through a hard rock and molds it, the only way you can make inroads in your Filipino wife’s mind is by being flexible in your approach instead of addressing her katigasan ng ulo by being matigas yourself.

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