Marriage Killer #2: Withdraw-Withdraw

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Marriage Killer #2: Withdraw-Withdraw

Marriage Killer #2: Withdraw-Withdraw

Marriage Killer #2: Withdraw-Withdraw

Bruce: “I don’t know what I want anymore.  Part of me just feels dead.”

Amy: “Well – if that’s how you feel, what’s the point of even trying?”

The withdraw-withdraw killer freezes its victims.  Instead of attacking, both partners pull away from the pain, trying to survive it.  It is too painful even to reach out because our partner may be walking the other way.  They may be walking the other way for the exact same reasons.  Each time we turn around and see our partner walking away, it reinforces the sense that they will not be there if we need them.  We have been apart so long, they might not even hear if we call.  In fact – we may not even know what we would even call for anymore.  We have shut down our needs and shut out our partner’s chances of taking care of them.

Tragically, this pain that is at the heart of the withdraw-withdraw killer’s power indicates that we DO care.  In fact, we care so much that the pain of not connecting with our partner simply shuts us down.

But what if our partner called for us?  Could we be courageous enough to turn around?  To answer?  To come closer?  To call back?

This might be more difficult than it seems.  Facing our partner may mean really confronting some of the painful memories in our relationship.  Maybe there is a problem we have not been able to resolve, and we are sick of fighting.  In fact, many victims of the withdraw-withdraw killer have struggled with the other two killers through much of their relationship, and are now willing to lay down and die.

Many believe that they just fell out of love, that their lack of feeling is due to “growing in different directions,” or some inexplicable whim of nature.  This cannot be further from the truth.  The pain that has worn us down for so long is due to that intensity of longing that we have had for our spouse, and the sadness that comes from not being able to connect with him or her.  That is why walking away is so tempting – even when, underneath it all, we want so desperately to be closer to our partner.

Do you have the courage to turn around?  How would you feel if you saw your partner turn around?

Click to Read Marriage Killer #3: Pursue-Withdraw ->

About Rose Hickman

Rose Hickman, LMFT is a couples counselor and therapist with offices in Los Angeles, and Costa Mesa in Orange County, California. She is currently accepting new clients and can be reached at (424) 571-2273. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT 83810).
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