Imagine the response to the above was, “You’re so insecure. You should do something about that.” Yes, that exact response happened in my office. It was painful to witness him opening up to her, being vulnerable like Brene Brown suggested in her Ted Talk and for her to respond that way. She could have said something like, “I like to know you still get a tiny jealous. I like looking pretty and dressing up. I do get hit on by men and I know how to handle myself. I want to be with you. I choose you. Maybe when I get home we can ….”
“I feel really rejected lately. I think you are telling me you don’t want to be with me. Well, not really telling me. I mean, you are saying you want to be with me, but it has been a few weeks since you’ve spent time with me. We haven’t cuddled, kissed or been intimate. I’m getting concerned because we have talked about this a few times and it has not changed. Am I missing something?”
Imagine a defensive response like, “My god, I’ve been so busy. Why are you so needy?” This nightmare scenario happens quite a bit in my sessions.
The next time he asks her for attention, no seriously, you think he’s going to ask again? He’s going to pretend he doesn’t need that stuff. He won’t beg again and humiliate himself. And she won’t get that she had a role in him not talking and not connecting. She’ll think that he’s being a cold jerk. Obviously, I think she had a role in this. I point it out and ask her to take responsibility. Then I softly read him the riot act for his role. I call it “pouting.” It is passive aggressive and I also get why he did it. It is a rational response to withdraw when being beaten down and it does not function well. Here’s an example of what he could say back, “What’s happening here?” or “I’m confused. I want to spend time with you, why did this turn into me being needy?”