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After the mirroring experience, Dr. Hendrix asks Louie a simple, yet seemingly paradoxical, question: How do your feelings of disrespect, distrust and poor communication help you?

"It keeps [me] feeling safe," Louie says. "I'm afraid to let that go. I'm afraid that I'm going to get trampled on, or she's going to walk out on me like everybody else."

Shannon also "benefited" from poor communication, using it to shield herself from the reality of their relationship. "I don't expect much out of him, so he doesn't really disappoint me," she says.

The emotional wall between Shannon and Louie insulated each of them from feeling even more pain, Dr. Hendrix says. "Closeness is connected with pain from childhood for both of them. Closeness has in it pain. Deep in the brain, pain is always connected to the possibility of death," he says. "In order to stay alive, I'm going to have to keep any distance."

Louie maintains this emotional distance in the way he was taught by parents. Dr. Hendrix says that Louie maintains this emotional distance because he does not know how to have "appropriate separateness without being abusive verbally."
FROM: An Abusive Husband's Desperate Plea for Help
Published on April 19, 2006