“My husband and I are scared of each other”, she told me.
“We’ve been married almost 30 years and we can’t speak to each other.” She was a beautiful woman, mid-50s, bright blue eyes, flower-power hair, shy and gentle demeanour, and here she was going to the heart of the matter with deadly accuracy. Scared of each other. Haven’t we all been there? Aren’t we there now with some people in our lives? Fearful of them, and they of us.
I was bowled over by her authenticity then and I’m still bowled over.
What gives this fear of the other, especially when that other is as close as a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, a daughter, an old friend?
At least two possible responses I can think of straight off:
- we’re withholding something from them
- we’re scared they’re going to see something about us, including that we’re withholding something.
What about you? What do you think is at play here?
Image: Rene Magritte, The Lovers, 1928