We had an overwhelming response to the last blog post, The Piercing Impact of a Silent Loss. This is what she had to say about the impact of sharing her experience:
I am completely overwhelmed with everyone’s beautiful comments and messages. My goal was to share a story to lift some much needed weight off my shoulders. I feel so much lighter. Words are extremely powerful. Love love u Aimee Galick for doing this. Thank u everyone for your prayers and support. You will never know how much you touched my heart!!!
Her comment illustrates the healing power of sharing our vulnerabilities and being responded to in a caring, supportive way. She said it literally lifted a “weight off her shoulders!” I really admire my cousin and her husband’s vulnerability and courage in sharing their experience with the world. It’s not easy, especially in our culture, to share life’s difficulties with others because of the emphasis put on portraying family life as somehow perfect or always wonderful. Being in relationships is tough at times, but I also don’t want to spin it completely the other way with the cliche, marriage is hard. I think most relationships are hard, in one way or another, but it is the kind of difficulty that offers each of us the opportunity to grow closer, learn, and become more fulfilled as human beings through the unique bond of love.
I have to admit that I was myself a little apprehensive about writing about their experience because I feared that it might come back to bite me in the ……, so to speak. Engaging in that kind of experience with them as a couple was a risk for both myself and for each of them. One that could have created conflict between one or more of us. After I published the post I secretly waited for a fallout…and not necessarily from them, but perhaps from other family members, or maybe between them as partners, or between one of them and a friend or even with me. And who knows down the line it could, but isn’t that what relationships are about? To let yourself be that close to anyone is a huge risk because to lose it, to lose that bond is devastating. I think being able to let yourself feel that much, to take those risks, and to feel so deeply takes some practice. Practice that women get practically from the day they are born. Men get it too, until about the age of two, when they are socialized to take a different approach to others and relationships.
Now put two people together, one for whom vulnerability and being relational is easier and one for whom it is more difficult and what happens? Well since men have more influence over the relationship, vulnerability and the subsequent opportunities for deep closeness probably become fewer and far between – especially around the really, really difficult issues in life. Couples who can build, deepen, and maintain mutual vulnerability – could probably make it through anything because when you’re that close, you want to change for your partner and the relationship (mutual influence), you want to make your relationship the best it can be for both partners (sharing responsibility for the relationship), and you want to know your partner on a very deep level (mutual attunement).
But I’ve seen it time and time again with the couples I work with – when it comes to a
really tough issue such as death and dying, depression or feelings of worthlessness, serious illness, loss of financial stability (often tied deeply to men’s feelings of self worth), etc. Men are at a complete loss, so they do what they do best and that’s try to move on. When I think of what this means, even though it so often doesn’t look like much, I think of emotional desertion. And as they move on and the farther they surge ahead….often their partners and subsequently the relationship are left behind…
P.s. That is my cousin in the photo