You want desperately to connect with your disconnected man. When you try, it often gets confrontational. You confront in order to connect. He doesn’t see it that way. He feels threatened. All you wanted to do was get closer to him and he flips it all around and makes it an attack on you. What just happened?
Whether he knows it or not (and he probably doesn’t, or at least isn’t thinking about it at the time) he is extremely afraid. You are posing a threat. If he doesn’t put up his guard, go into full protective mode, and become the aggressor, he will have to go to that place deep in his soul that he never wants to visit. It’s awful there. He loses emotional control and he can’t stand being out of control. So he (usually subconsciously) fights and makes everything seem like it’s your fault. And he’s better at protecting himself from emotional intimacy than you are at drawing close to him.
I know that sounds terrible, but it’s absolutely what’s happening with your disconnected man. I’ve discussed this with many disconnected men who have grown to realize what’s going on. I did it when I was disconnected. I hated that emotional, relational place without even knowing what it was. Every time things got emotional – I did the wrong thing. And I hated doing the wrong thing and not knowing how to do the right thing!
Disconnected men feel utterly helpless and alarmed when things look like they are going to penetrate their otherwise happy exterior and get to that painful emotional place deep within. What can you do about it?
Before the next confrontation. Before you make your next attempt to connect. Before you lose your mind trying to figure out why he always turns it back on you: Keep these things in mind.
You are not the problem
He has something going on inside him you will find hard to understand
He loves you, even though he struggles to show it
You are the solution
Let me try an illustration I hope will help. If you have a child who is deathly afraid of dogs and your best friend has dogs. How will you protect your child from his or her fear if you want to take him or her for a visit? You might ask your friend to send the dogs outside while you are there or put them in a different room. You might then prepare your child by letting them know there are dogs at your friends house but they will be locked up and won’t be seen.
But what if they bark and scratch at the door while you are there and your child grows afraid and feels threatened. What will you do? Whatever it is, you need a game plan before you make the visit. It’s the same with your disconnected man.
In this scenario you must realize a few things. You are not the problem, your child is not the problem, the dogs are not the problem, fear is the problem. Something inside your child, that you may not fully understand, is causing him or her to react negatively to dogs. Your child wants to please you but his or her fear makes going to see a friend who owns dogs a struggle.
Having a game plan to minimize or eliminate the fear is what you need. Otherwise you’ll never be able to visit your friend at her house. In the same way, you will need to have a game plan for the next time you want to try to connect with your disconnected man.
When you want to connect, he hears the emotional dogs barking and scratching at the door of his fragile self. When you want to draw near to him, he goes into a subconscious panic. His brain starts whirring, ‘What have I done wrong now? Why can’t I ever do what it is she wants? I’m just going to fail again and leave her upset. I don’t even want to go there.’ All this happens before you even get to the second sentence – he sensed it in your approach and is already on guard. He’s ready to defend the walls so his sensitive emotional place doesn’t get touched.
If all this makes sense so far, you’ll see the wisdom in the four points I’ve given you. You have a place to start. Let this sink in. Meditate on it awhile. If you can get these four points in your mind and heart and remember them, you are on your way to being able to approach your man in a non-threatening way.
This is the preparation, next time we’ll talk about the actual approach, the game plan, so to speak.