There are some things that paralyze (almost) all men. Good men. Strong men.
AND this ONE thing repatterned
- serves your woman
- your (future) children,
- and yourself
… more deeply than ANY other technique I’ve ever seen.
Women, who often have higher estrogen levels than men, are often emotional beings.
Our emotions shift faster than yours do. They sometimes overwhelm even us. And spill onto you. Jussssst occasionally…
Well, Mom’s emotions overwhelmed her.
(Remember that one time when Mom got scary-angry, loud, emotional, freaked out?)
Do you remember what happened to Little Boy?
He either fought, withdrew, collapsed or froze.
Freezing is the youngest stress reaction of them all.
And Dad (assuming big heteronormative stereotypes to make a point) was at work. Not home to protect Little Boy.
Or maybe Dad, even when he was home, didn’t know how to help regulate Mom’s emotional state (help her be the calm, loving adult with Little Boy).
When estrogen (which Little Boy had more of before puberty) combines with adrenaline (from Mom yelling), that nervous system freezes.
(ie: Men will often fight back when attacked, even if not fully effective. Women will tend to freeze.)
That freeze becomes trauma in Little Boy.
And guess what happens when Girlfriend gets angry? Or blaming? Or super emotional?
The “Don’t make Mommy angry” mantra becomes “Don’t make Girlfriend angry.”
Then Man (who still has Little Boy inside him, like we all do) has a PTSD reaction and freezes, collapses, withdraws or fights. He loses his center. His ground. He gets disoriented. Foggy. This triggers her more.
In order to serve YOU, and HER, and your family…
Find out EXACTLY what triggers you.
Her specific words?
The speed or volume of her words?
Her tone of voice? (Often this. Often disdain or blaming.)
Then get support. Ask for a man at your side, reminding you of your inherent goodness and strength. Giving you some physical pressure downwards/ towards the center of your body to help you stay aware of your body.
Have a compassionate, skilled woman role play this with you. Establish a safeword.
Put your hand on your chest and belly (your vagus nerve) to calm your nervous system down. Notice there are no actual tigers in the room. TELL yourself “I am not going to die” (seriously). Give compassion to Little Boy who’s had to do this alone WAY too many times. Don’t proceed until he gets that you are with him.
Have someone coach you in what you can say to
- Set some boundaries if necessary. NEVER let her speak disrespectfully to you.
- Realize that she is more like Little Girl right now, whose big emotions went out of control and she might never have had loving containment/ loving holding. You cannot have an adult conversation now. Content about her upset should be handled at least 25 minutes later, maybe hours later, after both of your nervous systems calm down.
- Your hero-role, should you choose to accept it, is to simply “regulate her nervous system”. Period.
- When you can, warmly lean (a tiny bit) in towards her, with love, and say something to effect of
- “I’m listening. I hear your upset. I care about you. I care about what you care about. Thank you for telling me.”
- And firmly and lovingly say “We are absolutely going to talk about [the content]. And, I want us to connect first.”
Practice. Train yourself again and again to move through your freeze. Repetition is key.
When you are both agitated/ dysregulated, BOTH of your nervous systems FIRST need to know that you won’t die.
THEN it wants/ needs to know that you like each other.
So remember that you have a commitment to connect with each other. Breathe together. Wait til your eyelids blink more slowly and you can smile.
Then you can work out the content.
(Learn the distinction between angry and triggered. This technique is for when she is triggered and her emotions are overriding you.)
Hacking her nervous system is the best service you could provide her. And moving forward lovingly, while you started off triggered, will heal YOUR trauma with Mama.
The goal is to heal you.
Turns out it’s the most important thing she could ever get from a man.
Healthy masculinity IS Secure Attachment.