Several years into their relationship, Matt and Nancy came for a counseling session. Nancy complained that she didn’t feel safe enough with Matt. Although she felt that he could be extremely sensitive to her feelings, at other times she felt violated without warning by his insensitivity, criticism or sarcasm. Her history of childhood sexual molestation by her father made her even more sensitive to her need for safety. Matt, on the other hand, felt frustrated by the lack of sexual activity. At one point in the session, with tears in his eyes, he desperately asked us for help.
How can I create more safety for Nancy? I just don’t know how!
Creating Emotional Safety
We directed Matt to hold Nancy in his arms with the feeling of a safe father holding a young daughter. Emphasizing a safe father was important because Nancy was needing nurturing from a father without the energy of sex. She needed time to simply be comforted, to receive pure fathering. While being held in this way, the pain and sadness of her childhood came to the surface. We saw that Matt was struggling for the right thing to say, some wisdom to take away her suffering.