Asked by Sangeeta
My Husband Has A Habit Of Shutting Me Out For Months When He Feels Out Of Control Or Has A Problem.
It has been going on in our 24 years old relationship and we are 48 years and 50 years old. It has been so repetitive that I feel insulted and do not try anymore to draw him out. It seems insignificant what the issue is as the behavour is the same - he moves to another room moves his clothes out - all can see including children, house keepers etc.
I used to try and bring him around earlier but now I leave it be yet I feel its a very unhealthy atmosphere. i sent my kids to study abroad but it certainly must affect them. its almost as if he is punishing me - I feel insulted and very alone. Needless to say he is no help in life and in any area as he is always busy nursing his own issues. I have been taking medicine for anxiety over two years dealing with this. he wont see any one as he thinks he has no problem. I am much better now with my anxiety attacks just tired with this.
All across the world right now I believe that this scene is being re-enacted in marraiges and relationships everywhere. Women absolutely engage in this sort of behavior too but it seems it is a coping mechanism that a lot of men do employ when feeling stressed or depressed.
When you think about it...most women would say that when they are stressed or depressed...our first instinct is to reach out...talk to friends...join a support group, etc. Whereas a lot of men are taught to keep their emotions to themselves and not appear needy or vulnerable. For a lot of guys...it is really hard to open up and even harder to admit they are having a problem. One solution is to retreat and re-energize.
I am going to recommend that you read some of the John Gray books about relationships. Here is a link. I know some people criticize his books because they feel he is sexist or stereotyping the sexes but honestly...there may be some truth to how we are.
He talks about men needing to go into their "cave" in order to cope with stress. They don't want to talk. They want to think and be by themselves. To we...who are left behind...this feels like rejection. But it really isn't most times. But the more we try to barge into the "cave" or get explanations or sharing...the more they retreat even further. Makes you feel angry and like giving up.
But maybe just accept that there will be these times...and when he is more himself and wanting to talk...then you can move in to share things or even ask if he may need some help.
My advice is...give him space as he needs it. You cannnot change him...only yourself. Take that time and energy and devote it to you! Do good things for you during those times...talk with friends...get out of the house and do something fun. Increase your own personal happiness as you are not responsible for his happiness...he needs to find that for himself.
Know that I am not a therapist...I am just coming from my own life experiences here.
Good luck to you and I do thank you for your question.