Why It Hurts So Much When Your Husband Shuts Down

This wonderful new video from attachment researchers Sue Johnson and Ed Tronick really clearly depicts how we never outgrow our need for connection and responsiveness from our loved ones. Dr. Tronick shares an example of how a mother failing to respond to her baby for just a few minutes (the still face experiment) causes the baby to despair and protest.

In a lovely parallel of how our adult love relationships mimic the parent-child bond, Dr. Johnson's couple session shows the exact same scenario with a husband and wife. Feeling anxious, the husband (the withdrawer in this relationship) shuts down and fails to respond to his wife's bids for reconnection. As she feels more and more panicked and abandoned, she escalates and protests—just like the distressed child—trying to get back into sync with him.