When Pam and Rick started working with me, they had been separated for several months. Pam wanted support and validation from Rick, but she would go to her sister Elaine instead. She generally felt emotionally dismissed by Rick. Rick appeared baffled, not quite understanding her not feeling supported.
Pam shared a story when her sister Elaine’s husband was dying of stage 4 cancer. Pam was lying on the floor bawling and Rick was standing there. She badly wanted a hug from him but his cell phone rang and he walked away.
Pam shared this story and you could feel her pain and disappointment. In her greatest time of need, Rick wasn’t emotionally there for her.
Rick had a different story. “I was standing there waiting for you to tell me what you needed. If you told me you needed a hug, I would have gladly done that. It wasn’t clear to me if you just wanted to be alone”.
Pam said, “You should have known.”
Rick replied, “I can’t read your mind but I certainly know now.”
I was pleased Pam and Rick were talking about this incident since it represented the central theme in their relationship. Pam could share what she needed and Rick was more certain how to support Pam in the future.