Husband wants to know how to best emotionally support his wife suffering from unknown hair loss condition.
My wife is losing her hair. Doctors don't know why yet. Until the situation is solved, tell me: How can I best support her? I love my wife. She could lose 200 hairs or gain 200 pounds and it wouldn't matter to me. I tell her all the time that she is beautiful, and she is beautiful. But today her mother said something to me that made me think my compliments are being taken the wrong way; that by my constant reassurances, I'm somehow showing the world how bothered I am about her hair loss. I was shocked. I've been telling her how beautiful she is since we married 22 years ago. Clearly I can't talk to her about this; that could be really misunderstood. How can I best support her through this so she knows I support her, love her and crave her as much as ever?
— Don B., Venice, Calif.
Dear Pulling My Hair Out –
First and foremost, your relationship is between you and your wife, not you and her mother. Though she may be well intended, we can’t know that Mom’s spin on what is being said actually holds any water. Second, the only people you mention having something at stake here are you and your mother-in-law. There is no mention of what your wife is going through mentally or emotionally. And since what your wife may or may not be experiencing remains an unknown, this is really about you.
Communication 101: You will need to talk with your wife. Part of being in relationships is the commitment to communicate and process all of the ups, downs and sideways that relationships carry. The not talking but imagining what you both are going through is the stuff of fantasy and projection. It is also the kiss of death. The “what” and “how” you say it are going to be important. Not knowing what her actual experience is in all of this makes it a little tougher to advise, but let me provide you with some of the basics you’ll need going in.
First you’ll need to clear your own energy you have around this topic so that what comes forward from you is taken to heart. If you are anxious or in a state of upset, she will pick up on this and it will more than likely impact the conversation in a way that will not serve either of you. I am also taking a leap of faith here and will trust that you know your wife well enough to know when she is in a more playful, lighter state and the two of you are indeed connected. Then ask to speak with her about an issue that is pressing for you. Why you? Because this piece is really your issue with what you perceive is taking place. Just because you perceive it to be happening doesn’t mean this is her experience. This type of ownership and “I”-statement sharing will lead to a dialogue as to what is really going on for both of you and will allow each of you to express your experience without the other becoming triggered. Good luck!
Dear Mitch is written by “The Relationship Coach”, also known as Mitch Newman, M.A.. Write Dear Mitch at DearMitch@hairloss.com or follow this link to fill out a form. Every letter is carefully reviewed but because of the large numbers of letters we receive, not every letter can be answered.
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