> Why your wife looks like a Sabre-Tooth Tiger

Q: “Sometimes I feel SO ready to talk to my wife but one look from her, and I shut down. I really want to tell her, but I just can’t…” –”Don”

A: Don, you’re perfectly describing the desire to be known, at the same moment you’re terrified to be ‘found out’. Which makes you human. So there’s good news.

Fear is rooted in the survival center of our brain, and cavemen who had sex when they should have been hunting sabre-toothed tigers got eaten. The surviving genes (i.e., yours,) therefore dictate that Fear trumps Desire.

So if you are suddenly terrified of your lovely wife, it’s because your primitive instinct is to ‘freeze’ as you try to decide whether to talk about it, or pick a fight or retreat (i.e.,”fight or flight”) instead.

In daily life, our fight-flight-freeze is about managing threatened feelings rather than an actual threat to life.  It’s called a ‘coping strategy’, because it’s a temporary fix; not meant to be permanent.

On healthy days, we might exercise or talk it out with a friend; protectively, we might shut others out; destructively, we might use alcohol or drugs.

In the end, though, we’re just not built to hold it in; we need to let it out; in your case that means talking with your wife, because she’s the only one who can help you resolve it.

Your question is about that exact moment you feel ready to put down the chocolate-chip brownie, and start confronting the actual issue. That first step is the hardest; so acknowledging that with your wife could be a great way to move into it.

For example, “I have to talk about something and it’s hard for meis a way to alert her that you are in need of some softness, to get to the next step.

Maybe this is the first time you’ve said something like this to her – so she may be surprised, apprehensive, or even suspicious, but if you stand by your own vulnerability, at the very least you will get her full attention.

The wonderful thing about vulnerability is that it’s reallllly hard to argue with for very long.

That said, sometimes we need help getting back to a place where it feels like we can be soft with each other.

That’s where we can help; you don’t have to walk into this alone. Give us a call to talk.

www.BreakthroughMFT.com