Relationship Advice Tips By Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Earl came home upset but spurned his wife’s comfort
Earl was desperate for empathy and care but he refused to admit his need
News that his project was trashed by the company really upset Earl. He had slaved away on it and had hoped for a vote of approval and adoption by the board of directors. It didn’t come. In fact they found petty reasons not to go with it. He came home upset and dejected. He felt sorry for himself. Bethany saw his long face and sad eyes. Listening to his hurtful experience made her eyes well up with tears.
Earl didn’t notice Bethany’s empathy.
She put her arms around him, but he didn’t react. He talked about his bad day, but was as cold as ice towards his warm, responsive and emotionally available wife.
Bethany felt rejected and spurned
The softer and warmer she was, the less Earl wanted her
Her words of comfort and understanding and her gestures of empathy failed to get through Earl’s armor plated façade. This time it was just too much to bear. Tears of pain fell down her cheeks as she cried out in despair, “ I’m trying really hard to be the wife you say you want and support you, but you push me away, and I don’t know what to do to make you see that I care!”
Earl looked down on her and said, “ Stop being such a baby! It’s not my job to make you feel good about yourself!”
Earl suited up with armor to avoid feeling needy!
Earl hated feeling needy!
When Bethany showed empathy and affection it made him feel needy
So Earl put on a suit of armor that was ‘feeling proof’!
Nothing could come in and stir up his long standing need for comfort, understanding, affection, soothing and love.
Nothing much could leak out either.
Bethany became Earl’s scapegoat.
Earl hated Bethany showing her ‘neediness!’
He envied her allowing her needs to show, but he also despised her for it. If he wasn’t allowed to do it, she shouldn’t be permitted to do it either.
She felt his neediness for her, but each time she offered love and care he treated her with contempt.
Earl turned into a brittle, bitter and angry man.
Earl’s anger got spewed out in little bits, coated with venom
The anger made sure Bethany couldn’t get near him and soften him up.
The cannon balls of anger did their damage. They wore Bethany down. They made her feel unwanted, useless and unlovable no matter what she was willing to endure.
When Bethany was worn down she became unavailable to Earl. Her love and empathy had frazzled by the fire of Earl’s contempt.
Earl was left alone encased in his armor with no one to fight or feel superior to.
Earl had put a gun to his throat and shot himself
He was scared because his need for human contact and connection started to erupt in waves
He wanted Bethany’s loving smile, her affection and her acceptance.
Earl needed to know he was loved, but Bethany was no longer available to reassure him.
Earl had destroyed the one person that loved him and was willing to suffer as a whipping post and scapegoat so he didn’t have to feel the shame of his neediness.
How can Earl revive Bethany and restore their marriage?
1. Earl can unshackle his suit of armor and let his needs find their natural level.
2. He can take in the oxygen of love from Bethany and fill his lungs with trust and security.
3. Earl can develop a porous skin as a barrier which lets good stuff in, and feel satisfied.
4. Earl can keep the good loving stuff for himself and use it when he is down
5. Earl now has a reservoir of love at all times so he never needs to feel needy again.
6 Earl can fill up the reservoir before it gets dry and make Bethany feel welcome at the same time.
7. Earl can be loving towards Bethany without feeling envious, deprived or contemptuous.
The marriage thrives on continuous giving, sharing, caring and loving because both Earl and Bethany acknowledge their own needs and allow their partners to meet them on a regular basis.
Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Jeanette Raymond for any reactions you may have when interacting with this material or using the suggestions given. No therapeutic relationship exists between you and Dr. Raymond when you interact with this article.