Writer, speaker, teacher, healer Iyanla Vanzant may get most of the kudos for her OWN TV show Iyanla, Fix My Life, but she’s been teaching an healing through her books, appearances and through the medium of television for 25 years.
On her show this season, she’s dealt with challenges including a 600 pound women who hadn’t left her home in 7 years, and a man who told his wife he was joking when he proposed – 20 years ago. On this week’s episode, she deals with a man who stopped drinking years ago, but is angry that he is not feeling valued by his wife and children.
Vanzant tells the Tom Joyner Morning Show that that is reflective of a lot of her work with men. “I don’t know if it’s as much low self-esteem as low self-value – not feeling valued for what they do or what they bring to the table. So often men think that their job ends with providing and they don’t have the emotional connection or emotional attachment, which drives women crazy.”
Vanzant says that men and women simply respond differently to different stressors.
“I think it’s the whole piece about communication. What a man will do is shut down when he’s not being heard, or when he’s not being appreciated. What a woman will do is she’ll withdraw. So this story is really about alienation of affection in the marriage – what happens when the two parties are not getting what they need or want. They don’t know how to communicate and then they just kind of pull away.”
In her 25 years of working to heal relationships, Vanzant says she’s discovered one of the biggest challenges for couples and indeed, one that affects many different kinds of relationships.
“You know the thing is that so many of us have a limited emotional vocabulary and a limited emotional library. We know anger, we know fear, we know good/bad, not nice, but when it comes to feeling sorrow and grief and inadequacy and disappointment, we don’t know how to communicate those things so we shut down. It’s very, very common.”
Vanzant recognizes that she can’t help everyone. There have been a few shows where guests were so entrenched in emotional patterns that even she couldn’t budge them. But she also says one show might not give viewers the entire picture of what happens during one of her sessions.