She’s Emotionally Shut Down

Question: Dear Luise: I am in a committed relationship with a woman who is pretty emotionally shut down. She knows it’s from childhood abuse but she isn’t able to get past it. Is there any way I can help her? Thank you in advance for your help, if my question is one that you address. Michael

Answer: Dear Michael: I don’t have the background to offer you much but I will give you what comes to mind.

You can be supportive when your partner wants to work on her issues but they are hers. She’s really lucky to have someone who cares and who doesn’t fit the old patterns. That’s a plus.

I know it is hard to see her struggling and yet please keep reminding your self that it’s her jungle and they are her tigers. You picked her for a reason and we can only hope that it wasn’t to save her from herself. Do you see that it’s not your job?

Back her up if and when she wants professional help with her issues. And try to be as understanding as possible if she’s not ready for that yet. Look to see what you need to work on your self and get busy on that. Be a roll model.

Pay special attention to the areas in your life together that are rich and fruitful and let her know that you appreciate those deeply. Whether she can let that in or not, she needs to hear it and know you are sincere.

Whenever possible, lighten up, have fun and enjoy each other. It won’t make the problems go away but laughter is a great healer and lifts the spirit. Blessings, Luise

2 Responses to She’s Emotionally Shut Down

  1. D. December 11, 2008 at 10:09 pm #

    Having been emotionally shut down myself for over ten years in my younger years, I know the struggles this can cause. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing around the age of 14, but it was either shut down or commit suicide. My home life was emotionally, physically and mentally abusive. I knew that I could not go to anyone, because of the authoratative position my dad held. I didn’t have a clue that this would affect future relationships. I got married and my loving husband was totally clueless as I was because by that time shutting down emotionally came naturally, like breathing. My fits of rage boggled both of us and marred my marriage. We recently celebrated our 20th anniversary, but the Lord has brought this all out into the open recently and is healing our marriage. I was emotionally shut down for about 12 years and was trying to get out of my hellhole (all the wrong ways). I never told my husband about how my childhood affected me and in turn, I allowed it to affect my marriage. He is struggling to understand about emotional numbness and I never knew that emotional numbing existed, until I looked it up on the net. It freed me that I wasn’t a freak and what I did was a survival technique. D.

  2. Luise December 12, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    Dear D. Thank you so much. What a win! Blessings, Luise

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