How Fight or Flight Messes Him Up With You
Lori and I have been watching a video series on the way mental and emotional trauma affect the brain. At one point they were discussing the fight, flight, or freeze response.
Sometimes this response is the cause of what are identified as communication problems in marriages. It works like this: the wife brings up some issue in a way that feels confrontational to her husband. Because of differences in how men and women communicate she may not mean it to be confrontational, and another woman might not see it as that, but to a man, it seems hostile. This kicks in a man’s fight or flight response, and that leaves him with no good choices. Flight would be walking away, which he knows will upset his wife. Fight means arguing or yelling, which isn’t a good plan. Because he’s been kicked into fight or flight, a calm discussion is not an option.
One common way to deal with this is to pretend to ignore her. Another method is to give her “Yeah… okay… whatever you want dear.” He’s choosing not communicating over walking away or blasting her. If those are his choices, silence and acquiesence start to look rather loving.
Might this be an issue in your marriage? Does he ignore you because he feels it’s the safest thing for you? Does he go along because he doesn’t know how to protest without getting way too upset?
BTW, starting ANY conversation with “We need to talk” is picking a fight. Trust me on this, no man ever wants to hear those words.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wonderful wife has learned how to not push these buttons.
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