Your engineer has some emotional issues! This might be hard to accept (then again, maybe not, since you know him so well), especially since your engineer is very proud of all that he’s accomplished in his life! He did graduate – and 60% of those starting in Engineering don’t finish their degree in Engineering. He’s got a good job, a wonderful wife, and all the trappings of success!
Now if only he ACTED like he had accomplished a lot! Where’s the confident swagger you see in others who are successful?
Well, that’s where his emotional maturity comes in. As described elsewhere, your engineer stopped his emotional development at about the level of an 8 year old girl (okay, a 6 year old girl is likely a bit more accurate, but we are trying to be nice here!)
He has no idea how to get the feedback his damaged emotional state needs to receive to help build his confidence. If he did have an idea how to get it, he would either not accept the feedback (it’s just pandering to me to get me to do something for her), or not even recognize it as positive feedback in the first place. “What? You talking to me?” comes to mind!
Since he doesn’t integrate the positive messages he does receive, your engineer has no reservoir of positive experiences to rely upon when life turns against him – and in his opinion it does, at least 50 times a day! He needs continual reinforcements in this area!
He’s a bit like a dog. How so, you ask? Snuggle up to him and give him a compliment so that he’s temporarily feeling good about himself, and then remember something you forgot in another room so that you leave him in this room for 5 minutes. When you come back in, that feel good sense he had been feeling when you left will be gone! Guaranteed! It’s just like you were never there in the first place! And, isn’t that exactly what your dog does?
Did anything actually happen in the room while you were gone?
No, and yes! Nothing physical happened, to be sure. But your engineer was left to think for himself, and that’s a very dangerous thing! Uncontrolled time to just ponder the meaning of life is the last thing you should allow for your engineer! Nothing good will come from it! EVER!
What happened then, LWYE? He’s spent the entire 5 minutes inside his own head. Are you getting the implication yet? One nagging self-doubt emerges very shortly after you left – to be followed by an endless parade of worsening messages.
“Did she really mean that?”
“I wonder what she really wants?”
Finally, he gets himself to a state where he has no clue as to what your intention was when you gave him the well intended compliment! All the good you did is gone!
Welcome to the life of your emotional puppy dog! He needs another dose of affection right away! The previous dose has already worn off, in 5 minutes!
Are we suggesting that he’s a bit immature in this regard?
Do bears live in the woods?
Of course he is!
It’s part of the package you got! That wonderfully competent problem solver truly is less mature than his 10 year old daughter! No wonder she wraps him around her finger! He has no idea that manipulation exists!
But you do, don’t you! And he really is happy to do all those things for you!
Isn’t that what makes your life bearable!