Life Style

Support the fears of the other…

We all have our areas of insecurity, our anxieties and our fears. One will fear conflict at work more. The other will be destabilized by a sad or rejecting child. Spousal anxieties can be a problem. Not necessarily out of selfishness – it happens! – but also because many of us don’t know how to react. It is then a question of supporting the flaws of the other, in both senses of the term: that of support but also sometimes of endurance. We support but we also endure the difficulties of the person with whom we live.

Benevolent and active listening

Should we, for example, offer him solutions or simply listen to him, or both at the same time? That’s the whole balance… Some men indeed seek to provide a solution to their partner when they talk about their worries, while they get irritated because they simply want to be heard. It is obviously uncomfortable to feel powerless, when one wishes to help the other, to accompany or guide him.

In reality, without playing the shrink, benevolent and active listening is often sufficient. Above all, this means avoiding showing a form of absence – such as “You always talk about the same problems and I think of something else” –, and modestly help his spouse or partner to sort out his sometimes confused feelings. Simply allow him to come out of his isolation.

When the anxieties of the other worry us

In fact, the problem with spousal anxieties is that they can also make us anxious. This creates a mise en abyme of worry: his anxiety worries me and I can show impatience or show a certain avoidance. Or again, we both function as echo chambers potentiating and multiplying what was initially a small concern and then becomes a great anxiety. The theme of children, their future and their possible difficulties, is transformed in some cases into a nuclear bomb, each adding, in a form of chain reaction, its own atom of radiation, together causing a family earthquake.

Fortunately, most couples do not form (unwittingly) “by chance”. Two spouses rarely have completely the same areas of inner insecurity. This allows us to get along and support each other in difficult times. Of course, there are also the “real” ordeals which do not only concern the areas of fragility of one or the other but impact the couple, such as the bereavement of a loved one or a resounding professional failure. We then leave the daily worry, and other resources are mobilized.

Sometimes also good surprises

Some people who are quite anxious by nature actually turn out to be quite peaceful when faced with a serious difficulty (a dying parent, for example). Reality, however difficult, is often less frightening than the ghosts that pursue us. Because it is there, in front of us and because we have to experience it. The spouse is then surprised to discover an aspect of the man or woman he thinks he knows, a dimension of courage and determination. In the register of anguish or fears, we sometimes have good surprises.


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