He is shutting down again. You see the shift begin as his beautiful blue eyes become distant and turn ice cold. His jaw tightens as he contracts all energy. It appears he is entangled in an isolated emotional hell, the details of which you long to know but remain a mystery.

Your stomach now thick with anxiety as you timidly ask, “What’s wrong?” for what feels like the thousandth time over the course of your relationship.

“Nothing.” Is his standard hollow reply from the kicked back recliner.

Every fiber of your being internally screams “THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH!!!”

Emboldened by this bodily knowing you reach out again feeling desperate to connect with him. “I can tell something is wrong. Will you please talk to me and tell me what is wrong? I want to help.”

But he is too far-gone. Continuing to stare vacantly at the television he mumbles flatly, “Nothing’s wrong.”

And with this you sit. Watching him go numb. Your stomach churns in pain, stuffed with worry, resentment, longing… till you go numb with him.

And you hold a frozen vigil over him as you both disappear into dated sitcom TV. Joining him in the unspoken agreement to bury the truth and self-abandon for to many youthful years.

Then one day it is he who decides to leave you. And you are flooded with equal parts relief and deep aching sorrow. Feeling heartbroken that you never really knew him. Excited to be free from what you imagine to be his emotional prison.

And while your attachment to him is released, soon after the familiar patterns repeat, then repeat, and repeat. Variations of the unreachable theme play out in love and relationships as your decades march on.

You imagine true love and authentic intimacy are for others, not you. Yet a small flame of joyous possibility at your core refuses to be extinguished.

So this time after years of power struggles you decide to leave the latest him. And you ask Life to intervene and show you the way as the fear, guilt and pain of this relational rupture feel more than you can stand.

Mentors emerge sharing wisdom that speaks to your heart. Slowing down to look and listen within, you are curious to discover what’s true, and committed to breaking toxic patterns for good. Your part in creating these sad dramas becomes shockingly clear. And with great relief you wake up to see, “The master of my invisible prison is ME!”

Then with a laugh and a deep cleansing breath, you make a new choice: to ally with Love and learn to set yourself free.