Friday, April 11, 2008

P4E.066 Eye of the Tiger

(5th in a series on predator patterning)

A friend's wife left him recently. He described one of his frustrations like this:

"There were times when we would be having an argument. At a certain point she would just stop talking, turn on her heel and walk away from me. It's so frustrating, because she would just stop talking and that would be it."

It reminded me of some things my wife, Gwen, has expressed to me. She has said things like, "Arguing with you is like arguing with a Philadelphia lawyer." "I knew you were going to say that! I knew you were going to bring that up!" "You're like a dog with a bone. You just can't let go." "You have to get the last word in. You think you're so right. You don't listen. It's like we're in a competition. You think you have to win."

One wife who wrote me recently said, "As I read this on Prey Patterning, I couldn't help but relate to the prey from the perspective of a wife hiding from or being victimized by her husband's flesh."

Let's do a little experiment. (You might want to do this in front of a mirror.) Pretend as though your wife has just told you something that you don't understand or disagree with. What do you physically do? For instance, do you:

1. Knit your eyebrows (frown).
2. Squint your eyes.
3. Open your mouth (bares your teeth).
4. Shake your head.
5. Jut your jaw out.
6. Hiss under your breath "What?" or "Tsk!" or exhale loudly or "Grrrrrrrr".
7. Put your hands on your hips and/or shrug your shoulders.
8. Raise your voice.
9. Lean forward and/or push your chest out.
10. Point at her or make big hand gestures or shake your finger at her .

Can you see how any of these facial expressions, sounds or gestures could be interpreted as "predatory?" When we act this way towards our wives they perceive us as predators. Many times they respond like prey, as my friend's wife did. She tried to avoid detection by going silent, then turned on her heel and fled. When we would argue, my wife would feel trapped in a crazy making, circular logic, out of control, threatening, mind bending maze. She used to feel like she was in a no win situation. (Like she was going to get eaten up?) I could not be dissuaded from my straight line thinking. She would also just walk away or leave, just to get away from me.

I believe that many times our wives feel more bound by their commitment to Christ (or if not Believers, to simple decency) than we men do. I admit that when in an argument with my wife, my thoughts are far from Christlike. Gwen did not want our children to see a bad example in her, even if I was going to make an ass out of myself. A mother will put up with a lot and even redirect a predator's gaze from her children to herself if she feels her children are in danger. To accomplish this, they can "go silent"and encourage the children to do the same. The camouflage of a neat, quiet, well-run household with dinner on the table when he gets home can keep the predator distracted and calm. Not engaging in an argument keeps her conscience clear and herself and her children out of harm's way.

Prey animals know that predators are very predictable. Prey animals are extremely perceptive and reactive. Speedy flight is their first response. Clinton Anderson, the well known horse trainer, says that if a horse "smells, thinks or even imagines that there's danger...then there's danger! And the bigger head start they have the better their chances of survival." Wives have the same sense.

More to follow....
Your ally in the pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim


  1. Kim,
    Wise words here, and many of them. A good point we need to think about, pray about and heed.

    Instead of wondering why our wife is doing something negative, we need to look at ourselves and find what we're doing wrong which is often enough the source of the problem, or at least our part we need to deal with in it.


  2. You've always been very brave and confessional here. Not all men have this issue, but plenty of men do. Thank you for talking about things most people leave alone.