phoenix 5 - to help men and their companions overcome issues created by prostate cancer
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[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]

couple sitting quietly on bench in empty park Because you have so many specific topics [you want to discuss with him], here is my general suggestion.

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.

Good luck.

[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.]

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.