[Ring] [Ring] [Phone Answered]
“Transformed Hearts Counseling Center, how may I help you?”
“I was referred to you by a friend. My husband and I are struggling with communication issues, but I looked at your website, and it looks like you only deal with sex addiction and intimacy anorexia. My husband also has an anger problem, and he never shares his feelings with me. He rarely ever talks to me, touches me, or has sex with me. I know he is not a sex addict, so I don’t know that you can help us. I am not sure why my friend referred us to you?”
We frequently receive calls like this. There is a probably a good reason their friend referred them to us but did not go into great detail with them about their reasoning. Generally, we encourage these couples to schedule a free assessment to learn more about what we do here at Transformed Hearts.
It can take some time to lovingly explain that there is usually a deeper reason their husband is not able to express his thoughts, ideas, or emotions. There are a number of reasons a husband might not be able to communicate with his wife very well.
- He may be emotionally constipated. Many men have no clue how to express themselves, let alone how to identify what they are feeling. We can teach them both partners how do to this effectively. Emotions are very real but not always reality in regards to what is really going on around them.
- His wife may not be a safe person for him to communicate his thoughts and feelings. She may disrespect him when he tries to share his thoughts and feelings with her. She may minimize what he is feeling and may not able to validate his feelings without judgement or criticism. However, she may expect him to validate her feelings without question. This type of couple is toxic when trying to communicate with one another.
- He or she may be suffering from a Personality Disorder like schizoid or schizoaffective disorder or a Mood Disorder like anxiety or depression.
- Fear is an emotion men feel more than any other emotion; however, it is the emotion that is last to be identified or admitted to, as some view it as an emotion of weakness. In most cultures, men are condition to never show weakness, fear of being known, fear faults will be exposed, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of not being good enough, or the fear of the revelation that he does not know what love is or how to love himself, let alone love others.
- Intimacy Anorexia might be present in the marriage. An intimacy anorexic withholds feelings, sex, touch and accuses, blames and criticizes the spouse in excess. Everyone but his wife thinks he is a “nice guy.” They may have tried to get help before, but he makes her look like the crazy one. Cinderella has married Peter Pan.
Anger is usually an emotion that covers up feelings, such as fear, hurt, abandonment, or rejection. There are also a number of reasons a husband may have an anger problem.
- Anger is a safe emotion, and it has paid off in the past to keep people at a distance. He may have learned (probably in his home of origin or even since married) that his anger keeps him at a safe distance emotionally when she gets too close. Anger does not show weakness. It is a safe emotion just like happiness. He can bounce back and forth between the two showing few other emotions in between.
- Unresolved traumas and wounds. He may have some past traumas or abuses that need to be resolved and be allowed to process through with a therapist.
- He may have a Personality Disorder, such as Narcissism, Borderline or have a Mood Disorder, such as Bipolar Disorder or be suffering from depression or anxiety.
- Alcohol Consumption – Whether it is a small or large amount of alcohol consistently over a long period of time, this may also be part of the problem with his anger that has gone unnoticed, as it has become “normal” to the couple’s system.
- Sex Addiction may be present which may be unknown to his wife and has been kept a secret from her.
Much like a house remodel, communication and anger management issues once you take a closer look are more often deeper foundational or structural issues that fresh paint and new carpet will not repair.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.