Walking On Eggshells

Episode #597

Is it better to stay silent to avoid conflict in your marriage?

What does it feel like to walk on eggshells in your relationship?

If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells in your marriage then fear is holding you back from living your life to the fullest. Now is the time to step up because your wife wants you to lead yourself first.

In this episode, we’re talking about knowing when your wife is lonely in the relationship and what you can do to rebuild emotional safety with your partner before it’s too late.

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Hey, guys, welcome back. I was able to twist Jake’s arm to get him back. Jake, thanks for being here, brother.

Jake:   Man, you didn’t have to work too hard at it. I love being here with you. I love creating content and sharing what I know works with other people that are – we say it, it sounds kind of dark, but – suffering in silence. You know, so many of the guys out there that I talk to- And me too, I’m always growing. You don’t know what you don’t know. So, if I can be a part of sharing that with you so you can learn a thing or two – great, I’m happy to drop some gold nuggets with you. Always a pleasure to be here with you.

Doug Holt: Yeah, well, it’s my pleasure, sir. And if it’s your first time catching us, if you haven’t met Jake yet, he is one of our advisors, which means simply, if you inquire about the AM, which is our flagship program, taking men from deactivated to activated, getting you back where you used to be, you get on a chat with Jake, had he just basically chats with you to see if it’s a good fit. Jake’s a businessman, he’s married, he’s got kids, and he’s been through the program. So, very well-versed. He and I are both on a mission here, to help in this suffering that we’re talking about. So, Jake, what do you have for us? What do you bring to the table today?

Jake:  Man, we can run through the thousands of conversations I’d want to have in the little Rolodex I’ve got in the back of my mind. One thing that I don’t think you and I have talked about before, at least in a formal conversation, is this idea that there’s a lot of guys out there that will- I mean, I hear it all the time in our free Facebook group and on the calls I’m on with guys. It’s, you know – I’d rather not say anything at all, I’d rather just kind of like, you know, be in my lane, because I just want to avoid that fight. It’s uncomfortable, you know. So, I mean, I think it’s worth having a conversation around this, some of the pitfalls, maybe talk about some of the things, why you want to work around these things, so you can kind of just get back on top of your game with yourself, your family, your business, whatever. What do you say?

Doug Holt: I say, that’s great, man. So, tell us what you’re hearing from these guys.

Jake:  Well, this is the phrase that people use the most: I’m walking on eggshells. So you come home- I mean, I’ve been there before, it’s you kind of come home from work, you’ve been out doing something. Maybe you’ve been playing sports or having a drink with the guys at the bar and you feel a little bit guilty. Waiting behind that door is a little bit of tension. You can just feel that from your wife, because you know she’s been there. I mean, my wife stays home and takes care of our kids. She’s Superwoman. But I can feel when she gets a little frustrated. And I can just kind of sense it. I think we all can. And so, instead of walking through the door and having a conversation, it’s just like, Okay, I’m over here. I’m gonna go and maybe pour myself a drink. I don’t want to have that conversation, because I just want to go through that again, for the umpteenth time. That’s really what I’m hearing a lot of. I’m sure you’ve heard it from so many guys, Doug.

Doug Holt: Oh, I hear it all the time. And probably more importantly, Jake, is – I’ve been there. I call it Doug 1.0. TPM, the AM didn’t exist when I got married, Jake. And I distinctly remember one time- you know, I’m running three companies, I’m playing competitive sports at this time in my life, and I remember reaching for the door handle of my house not wanting to turn the knob. Because I just didn’t want to deal with what was inside. I just didn’t want to deal with the BS and everything else. I was thinking you know what, if I just don’t say anything, bite my tongue, like we’re taught as men- you just bite your tongue, stiff upper lip, that whole deal. Just take your licks and you move on. We hold everything in. And I didn’t realize at the time, Jake, that is the exact opposite thing my wife wanted me to do.

Jake: Yeah, yeah, you bet. You always said,- I’m gonna butcher this quote, so I’m not going to try it, but you always say women fight for- and me- What was that quote?

Doug Holt:  Well, so, women will fight for connection, really. Women really want connection from their men. And another thing that just gobsmacked me, jaw on the floor – I remember my wife and I talking. It was one of those heated conversations. It wasn’t going well. I didn’t have the tools of the HMT or the Clean Slate method. And my wife basically said, you know, because I was just shutting down, because as guy, this was one of two things. So, as an alpha guy, if you’re in conflict you either step up to it, which means you’re gonna fight, or you leave. And you can leave by just shutting down. It doesn’t mean you have to leave the house. You shut down emotionally. Yeah, okay, fine, fine. I’ll do the dishes. Yeah, whatever. All right. Uh huh. And my wife told me, she said, I would rather you hit me than shut down. It’s more abusive to me for you to shut down than it would be for you to actually physically beat me. I was just floored. Even thinking that I would ever hit a woman, which I never have, let alone hurt my wife in that way. And I was mad at her. So, I was pissed, but I still wouldn’t want to hurt her in that way, in that manner. And so that’s when I really realized that, with walking on eggshells, or being scared, hiding myself, is really the opposite thing that we need to do as men.

Jake: Yeah. And this is something that I’ve adopted in my mantra. This is deep in my core, and it’s very, very true. So true in my life, and so many other people that you would know that are successful, they’ll tell you the same thing. Everything that is significant, or wonderful, or beautiful in your life is probably on the other side of something very uncomfortable. Because being inside your comfort zone, it just breeds mediocrity. And, honestly, Doug, I just throw my middle finger up in the air to mediocrity, because that’s just not the life that I want to live. I know this isn’t for everybody, but the good things in life, really, the substantial things in life, the gold that we’re all searching for, it’s on the other side of something uncomfortable.

It’s getting down on your knee and asking your wife to marry you. It’s scared to death having your first kid, it’s all this stuff. Like launching that new business – it’s all fear. Our fear keeps us small, it keeps us from experiencing the greatness in life that we’re destined for. And there’s greatness inside of everybody. If you don’t believe in it, I can believe in it for you. You can borrow some of my certainty. But there is. We’re just meant for so much more. And when we kind of, you know, dim our light, we kind of stay in our comfort zone, we don’t want to rock the boat with our wives because we think that’s the right play, it’s just not. And the reason that that is is because women, they want to feel your power, they want to feel you stepping up, they want to see you rising to those challenges.

Because look, if we go back 10,000 years, and we’re all sitting in a cave, think of the guy that’s the alpha, the guy that’s out there after the challenge, punching saber-toothed tigers in the face and ripping tusks out of a mammoth’s head and stabbing him in the gut, bringing that home for the family. Like, that’s the guy that she wants. It’s not the guy that’s back in the cave, you know, making nice with everybody. There is something to be said about energies, masculine and feminine energies that we all have.

But, really, the guy that’s going to show up and really lead his life well is the guy that leads himself well. And if you can just get in the mindset of doing difficult things, seeking out fear, and then leaning into that so that you don’t limit yourself so that your candle can shine- you don’t have to limit your candle for anybody. And when you do, you can touch so many other people’s lives. It’s not selfish. This is so your wife can have a better experience with you, so your kids can love you deeply and be more connected, and people on your teams, people that you outreach to – man, it’s just so much bigger than just me being scared, walking on eggshells because I want to keep myself small. That’s kind of how I see it at a high level.

Doug Holt: It’s so true, man. You know, never dim your light. And what happens for a lot of men is, they’re basically saying, look, I’d rather just not say anything because I just don’t want to deal with the fighting, avoiding the conflict that comes with whatever it is that needs to be talked up, whether it means joining a program, whether it means going out with the guys whether it means playing volleyball, which you do quite a bit. Whatever it is to fill your cup, guys just go, look, I just don’t want to fight, I don’t want to get rejected. I’m walking on eggshells, because it’s just not worth it to me.

And to those guys, I’ll say, look, I always talk to other men, when I’m coaching them – show me where your next life is. In other words, where is your Super Mario Brothers -you know,  you get three lives, and this is number one, you got another one, you can do it better. Because you don’t, guys, this is your one shot at the game we call life, and you’ve got one ticket. And so you gotta make sure you’re doing it the way that fills you. And sometimes you need a little help doing it, hence a podcast like this or, going into the free Facebook group where Jake has posted an amazing training in there. You want to look at this, because being scared not to rock the boat, what you’re doing is, you’re dimming your life, and thus you’re not allowing your wife the space to shine brightly.

So, now both of you are feeling miserable. And instead of you just taking action and pulling out the splinter, or pulling out whatever it is that’s causing the pain, you’re just sitting there hoping that the pain, over time, you’ll just get used to it. So, therefore you’ll just be used to the pain. And that’s no way to live. That’s not a way you would do it in your business, so why would you do in your personal life?

Jake: Yeah. And one of the things that I’m really careful and cautious of is, hey, look, all this stuff is reasonable. We have so much guilt and shame from everything else in our lives that we put on ourselves as guys. You don’t need to feel any shameful or guilty about this, that maybe you are walking on eggshells. Maybe you’re feeling this is causing a little bit of emotion in you, and you’re just like, Jake, F U, man, get out of here. But it’s reasonable. We feel fear because of something. I always say, something causes everything.

When somebody has a troubled upbringing, or you know, they’ve got a tough relationship now, or maybe they don’t have control of their temper. It’s like, something causes everything, So, just rid yourself of the shame and the guilt of that, because there’s something that caused that, and we can look at that. We can decide to stay and continue to be that guy, and that’s okay. Or we can look at okay, who around me, or what can I learn to get over that thing? And so, when I think about guys walking on eggshells like I used to do- Well, I was afraid of it. There was fear there. And the reason why is because I didn’t think I had any way to avoid that. I didn’t have any tools to be able to do that.

And, Doug, if I asked you, would you want to spend a month alone in China right now, by yourself, not knowing Chinese at all, you’d probably have a little bit of fear around that. But what if I just taught you how to speak Chinese, and you can get around and really experienced this beautiful vacation? You’ve always wanted to go to China. You say, ‘yeah, I’ve always wanted to, I wanted this beautiful thing.’ Cool, man, let me teach you Chinese, and you’re gonna go have a great time there. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable with it. And that’s why we’ve got the systems and we’ve got the tools to help, so you just don’t feel afraid anymore, and you can get to where you want to go in your relationship.

Doug Holt: Yeah, it’s so true. The men that we serve our business men. We work with business owners and executives. We have a course, because we’re trying to help everybody, for all men, right, called the Powerful Marriage Reset. But for business owners in particular, think about the way that you would handle your business. If there was an issue within your business, would you attack it directly, or would you just hope, mysteriously, somehow it fixes itself? It doesn’t work.

And I think so many of us – I was too, at this point, in my marriage, I was surviving on hopium, where you’re just hoping that, over time, it’s just going to get better. And guess what? It doesn’t, it doesn’t get better. You have these little peaks where it starts to seem like it’s gonna get better, and then you hit that valley again. And when you hit the Valley, it’s really hard when you don’t know how to navigate out of it. When guy shut themselves down is when the real problems start to happen in their marriage, and their wife feels isolated.

So, when we shut down as men, or we’re scared to talk, or we say to ourselves, look, I’d rather just not say anything to avoid conflict. Really, what you’re doing is, you’re making your wife feel isolated and alone. And what is a woman going to do if she feels isolated and alone? She is going to seek comfort from somebody else. Now, it may not be another man. Maybe, you know, a sister, or mother or girlfriend. But let’s be real with each other. A lot of us know, in the day of social media, there’s somebody hitting her up in her DMs, there’s an ex-boyfriend or what have you. And all it takes is for her to feel lonely and isolated for her to start responding. And we hear it all the time, where men are just slapped on the side of the head with an affair or an emotional affair. It happens more than you probably know. And they don’t find out until it’s too late.

Jake:  Yeah, yeah, that’s tough. And one of the things, if I can go a little bit deep on this subject, and it might be a little too intense, off in the weeds. But it’s important. If you really want to get a good education on this and go a little bit deeper, pay attention to this stuff, because it’s so real. And it’s not something I’m making up. It’s not something that TPM made up. This is just science, psychology. So, when you think about what a woman needs in a relationship, among several things, emotional safety is way up there.

You got oxygen, you got emotional safety, way up there. When a man is not leading himself, while he’s walking on eggshells, he’s not being the leader in that relationship. Maybe, when you were 21-22, and you just felt alive and vibrant, you could just, you know, take on the world, these things wouldn’t have bothered you then. But over time, what happens? We’ve got our masculine energy up here, and our confidence and our leadership maybe up here, stress, and business, and kids, and life and things get in the way, we start to slip a little bit. And again, this is reasonable, it just will happen. No shame in that. But what happens now is, she’s not feeling emotionally safe because you’re not leading her, she’s not feeling safe.

Now, she’s gonna fall in this place where she’s feeling fear, she’s not being seen, or heard, or understood. That fear, that fear that she feels, it’s like, almost like death. You know, she’ll feel everything that’s good in her life is going to be taken from her. Everything, all of the safety and everything. And it’s nothing money can buy. It’s something you give her, and your family. If she’s feeling that fear, she’s going to move away from that. Anyone would. Nobody wants to feel fear. So, she’ll move away. She’s gonna go to one of two places. Either she’ll get very dominant – when you think about a woman wearing the pants in the relationship, that’s an assertive alpha, her masculine energy is starting to rise to match yours, that creates problems I’ll talk about as well.

And the other places, like Doug was talking about ,she’s gonna just go into a shell, wall you off. She’s not gonna feel vulnerable with you, she’s not gonna feel safe. So you get shut out. And guess what? It keeps making you fall. Now, you’re losing confidence, and all of a sudden, you’re just like, I’m just a shell of the man that I was before. It’s hard to lead, it’s really hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you get to that place. Now, to go a little bit deeper on this. And this is so huge- if you want a quick win in your relationship, build some polarity, build some polarity in relationship.

Tony Robbins talks about this all the time, it’s polarity. We’ve got our masculine energy. When we’re vibrant, we’re energetic, and we’re powerful, just like you feel on a sports field or something like that, people can feel that. There’s magic in it And so you’ve got to do things that can raise your masculine energy, and lead her well. And so, when you start to do that, she’s in her masculine energy, most likely- If she’s in this place of fear, she’s going to be in her masculine.

And so what happens is, you guys are like two north magnets. Doug, have you ever tried to put two north magnets together? You’re a strong guy, but guess what happens? They push each other apart? Yep. And so what you do with this is, maybe it’s doing things you love, maybe it’s hiking, or shooting guns, or combat sports or something. Do some things, get around some other masculine dudes, raise your masculine energy. It’ll signal her subconsciously. She doesn’t have to be- fix your marriage without having to talk about it. This is that. She’ll follow the masculine energy, she’ll feel safe. She’ll be in her feminine, that flow.

And now you’ve got two magnets, one’s north and one south. And guess what happens? It’s just like at the beginning of the relationship, how you pulled each other together. We do that as one of the first things when guys come in the AM. That’s one of the first things that we teach them, and they get a quick win, she starts to feel it, and all of a sudden, well, there’s momentum here. Now, there’s more work that we’ve got to do. That’s not the end of it. It’s called a triad of connection. There’s three really big pillars to all this. But that’s kind of in the weeds, how it really is.

Doug Holt: Man, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I highly recommend flagging this episode, going back and listening to exactly what Jake said another time, because there’s so many nuances and nuggets that Jake dropped in there that could easily be missed the first time you’re hearing these things. Jake and I talk about these every day, all day. You know how it is, whenever you do this for your profession, it’s easy for you to glance over.

But if it’s your first time hearing these things, polarity, what it is, how do you get into your masculine energy if you’ve fallen out of it? Right, it’s so easy for us as men to be complicit, especially as we get into our later years, in our 40s or so. You know, you’ve been busting your butt at work, you’re raising a family, things are going by so quickly. And yet, you look in the mirror, like, who is that guy? What happened to the 20-year-old version of me, who had all these dreams, this gusto. Well, I can tell you, that guy is still inside of you. And there are ways to attract him and find him.

In fact, we have an event going on right now that’s doing that in the UK, and one coming up here in the States. The key here is to take action. The key here is to do something. Jake’s given you probably about half a dozen things that you could do today, things you could do right now in this moment. Your job is to pick one and just take action now. Hit pause, go do it. Right, whatever it is. As you know, mediocrity just sucks. You don’t want to be average. It’s not good enough for you. But you have to do something different to get somewhere different.

Jake, as always, man, I really appreciate all the knowledge you drop and things you do. If you want to check out Jake put – I thought a hilarious and extremely informative training. You know, it was great for the holidays to help you guys navigate that. That is in our free Facebook group. You can head over there. Just search for TPM on Facebook, you’ll find it. It’s not hard to discover. If you’re watching this on YouTube, I think there’s a link below. Jake, love to have you on again, man, and keep dropping that knowledge. Thanks for all you do.

Jake: Alright, brother. Thank you. I appreciate you.

Doug Holt: As we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Pick one of these things that Jake has mentioned here today, and actually do it. Don’t be one of those guys that does what I call educational masturbation, and just moves on from podcast to podcast. Be the guy who takes action, and the guy that gets results. We’ll see you next time.