DON'T PUSH IT
[In late-May 2000, a woman wrote me about communications problems with her PCa husband. He was sullen and she was running into a wall. We exchanged a few emails in which I offered my perspective on it. She later suggested I put this on the site. It has been edited slightly from the original. - Robert Young, Webmaster]
Because you have so many specific topics [you want to discuss with him], here is my
Back it up. Talk to him about
the subject of his PCa, as to what he is comfortable
talking about or not. Apologize that you have to bring
it up but you want to work with him on this and all
you want to know is where he wants support and
where he wants none so you can understand, that's all.
Find a good example from a time the two of you may
have done this. For example, "Remember the time when we decided to
talk about ...?"
You're not trying to get him to talk about anything,
merely what it is you can or can't talk about. If he
says he doesn't want to talk about that, you might try
to be brave and say, okay, that's one, anything else?
It is really similar to sitting down with someone who
can only eat certain foods or listen to certain
sounds. You want to know what works because
you want to help.
And it might help to even get permission to broach the
subject. Don't confuse this with being a submissive
companion/wife. It is just courtesy. You want to find
a little foothold that he will say, uh huh, then let
him take it.
Don't push it too far. Maybe cut it off and say, "Okay,
let's eat dinner. Maybe we can do more later."
When the guy is really really sensitive in the area,
he has to move gently. Don't push. You're not trying
to corner him. He already feels cornered.
It is like a trick I used to do to help writers who
felt they were "blocked" and couldn't write. I'd back
it up and tell them to write about it. If they said
they couldn't write about that, I'd tell them to
write about how you can't write about it. Even if
he/she got frustrated and said it was just some game I
was playing, I'd say good, write about it and keep
backing up until they would write about it.
Just back up and do the same. Find the point where he
can talk about it and if he says he can't, take it as
a win. He just told you something. Don't chide him for
it. Sometimes it works just to say, "Good, then now we
know what not to talk about." Go with the flow and
support. Don't try to interrogate. The man has already
been invaded enough and sometimes the last domain he
feels he has is his private thoughts.
[She replied she would try it on a trip they were about to take. On June 4, she wrote back what happened. Click here to read it.]