I focused a lot on Chelsea’s perspective over the many posts about her situation. Since Jaime’s return from his out-of-town job, they both have spent a lot of time with us. Almost like therapy sessions of sorts. While Mike has spent much of the year helping them chip away at the walls between them, collectively we sort of took a sledgehammer to those walls over the last several weeks.
As I learned more about Jaime, I see a familiar and stereotypical set of issues emerge. While his issues could apply to women, I see it way more in men. And that issue is an inability to truly feel a wide range of human emotion. I don’t mean just an inability to express those emotions. I mean an inability to even FEEL your emotions.
And while society plays a role in that, our biggest influences tend to be family, and Jaime is no exception. Since he was a little boy, his feelings have been shut down, conditioned to believe feelings are weak. But even though he may have grown up thinking he shouldn’t have/show certain feelings, those feelings are still there – they’re just underground and he’s numbed all emotional receptors so that they go unrecognized and unfelt.
In Chelsea he found a woman (really, a girl, as they met when she was just 16), who presented a degree of safety. He felt more free to awaken those long-buried feelings. Frankly, girls, if you can be an emotional safe haven for your mate, they will likely never leave your side. Of course, what I am talking about is achieving a comfort level to make yourself vulnerable to your mate. And vulnerability is hard, regardless of gender, but even more difficult for many men.
The problem as I see it is that while Jaime says that Chelsea was the first girl he felt like he could be himself around, he still had up a lot of walls. Maybe he took down some of the barricades, but the walls were still there. And the thing I believe can (and has) break those walls is through the vulnerability expressed by Chelsea.
TEAR DOWN THAT WALL
I don’t believe you should try to coax a feeling out of someone. You can’t be your mates therapist and it often backfires if you do something overt to try and elicit feelings from them. They feel pressured and confused over something they’ve never done before regarding identifying what it is they are feeling, and then actually expressing it. In short, they don’t feel safe, and they will resist.
In my mind, Chelsea could not overtly do something to help Jaime break down his walls. But what she could do, and DID do during her time with us, is get in touch with her feelings. And in my opinion, THAT is the magic elixir to getting Jaime to open up. By focusing on her feelings and fully and transparently expressing them to Jaime, it gave him permission to reciprocate. It told his brain it was okay to connect to the feelings he had numbed. Further, it was okay to actual express them.
I’ve written about this before. It is just another variation of the power of vulnerability. There is this “go first” thing with vulnerability. Couples will keep their walls up, or just take tiny chips off the walls, never willing to go “all in” unless and until they feel absolutely safe. And “safe” is the operative word here. People often don’t feel emotionally safe to express their full self. It’s scary!
But once one person does it, its mesmerizing to the other. Seeing Chelsea so in touch with her feelings made him naturally more relaxed to open up to her. And while I don’t like stereotypes, it seems that it often falls on the woman to open up first before the man is willing to do so. Whether true or not, so what? Whether you are male or female, I think the lesson is clear. Be vulnerable to those you have invited into your life!
I’ve seen a total change in the vibe between Jaime and Chelsea. There was this anxiousness, immaturity, and insecurity, that oozed from them. I always felt it, more so than Mike. I think my “emotion radar” is more fined tune, although frankly, for a man, Mike’s is pretty good. Again, sorry for the stereotype, but I am going off my own personal experience. In fact, it hasn’t always been that way. Pre-DD Mike was more like Jaime, and not only numb to his own feelings, but numb to those around him. A very weak “emotion radar.” Now, Mike can “read a room” pretty good (not as good as me, but, well, ya’ know, that’s just my thing!). I believe Mike’s new found “power” came from being more in tune to his own feelings. Oh! I got off track here. Where was I?
Jaime and Chelsea’s vibe! Yeah, that’s it. While still evolving, it’s far more relaxed and less needy. And as a result they both report that the other exudes a level of comfort and sensuality that they’ve never experienced. It has started them down the positive cycle where vulnerability begets more vulnerability, and emotional closeness begets more emotional closeness. Simply put – their ITIMACY level is now off the charts.
Jaime better understands his own needs and desires, and thus is more capable of understanding AND FULFILLING Chelsea’s needs and desires. Conversely, the same is true of Chelsea.
One of the things I came across that connects to me is this post from DominantSoul . While titled, “The Heirarchy of Female Emotional Needs: Unleashing your Inner Vixen,” I believe it applies to men as well as women. And each step of the recipe requires an increased level of communication and vulnerability with your partner. Jaime and Chelsea were missing parts 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 in the Recipe for Intimacy describe in the post. (By the way, I encourage you to check out DominantSoul, a self described Dominant Alpha-male).
MAKE FEELING GOOD GREAT AGAIN
So is it all rainbows and lollipops for their relationship? It still has a way to go. These things don’t solve themselves overnight. I consider one’s inability to connect to their feelings as the result of real trauma. It may not be as traumatic as say abuse or other horrific experiences. It may simply be the trauma of emotionally stunting norms within a family or society at large.
While I’ve said this is often considered more a “man thing,” there is one aspect of it that is considerably a “woman thing.” While men may be more stunted to feel and express various emotions, there is one emotion that many girls are conditioned to suppress – emotions involving pleasure.
Yes, such trauma often includes the concept that pleasure is wrong. Once conditioned to believe that, feeling pleasure becomes uncomfortable. You like it, but there’s an impulse to make it stop. I am not talking about only sexual pleasure. It can be ANY simple pleasure such as feeling cozy or feeling comfortable in your own body. It can also be a more complex pleasure such as feeling loved.
You don’t dislike those feelings, but you just can’t fully relate and connect to them. Often, you don’t feel deserving of them. It’s foreign, its weird, and your brain is resisting building the pathways so you can fully feel all of what that feeling has to offer. It takes effort to stop feeling annoyed and puzzled by those feelings and instead, feel good and fulfilled by them.
And I think that is why I strive to get to the bottom of what I am feeling. I hate it when a feeling annoys or puzzles me. It’s like my brain is denying me the purpose of that feeling. By reconciling the feeling, I release it, and get to experience all that it has to offer. And it pleases me, which is why I believe I am so happy with my life since becoming 100% vulnerable to Mike, and to those who I have invited into my life!
I invite you, man or woman, to understand you deserve all the feelings you’ve denied yourself. Embrace them, and exude them, and reconcile the bad ones to give power to the good ones. And SHARE THEM — Be vulnerable to those who you have invited into your life. And then revel in an amazing ride!