“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.”
~ Mandy Hale
Love can be treacherous. It requires a great deal of vulnerability which tends to place us in a fragile position where we are at greatest risk of being hurt. Because of this we tend to have high expectations of those we love, to cherish and protect our feelings and wellbeing at all times. So how do we navigate situations when those we love hurt us?
Oftentimes, the easiest method is a direct line of communication.
This can be a tricky proposition for many, especially those who are uncomfortable with confrontation or fear how someone will react to their words. The tendency then often goes towards initiating circular conversations trying to “soften the edges” of seemingly harsh words but often backfires creating misunderstandings from the nuance.
So a well-meaning conversation can go downhill quickly. I like to refer to these moments as ac/dc where you are trying to have one conversation but it is completely misunderstood and your message is not being received in the manner in which you intended.
So how do you approach this situation to get the results you desire?
1. Before engaging a conversation, explore your thoughts and gain clarity into your emotions. What are you feeling and why?
2. Reality-check your thoughts. Are you in a triggered or reactive state? Oftentimes it is best to find ways to soothe yourself or turn down the emotion before engaging in conversations of this nature so you can better communicate your thoughts and avoid conversations turning into arguments.
3. Problem-solve the situation. What could prevent the same situation or issue from happening again? Is there a miscommunication that needs to be cleared up to prevent recurrence?
4. Do not place blame, as this will create a defensive response and the communication will shut down.
5. Refrain from giving ultimatums as this will be met with resistance and your message will be lost.
6. Be open to hearing their perspective.
Once you have filtered through your emotions you will be in a better frame of mind to communicate your thoughts to your partner. Keep your message simple, clear and keep the lines communication open.
Stacey Shumway Johnson, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, BCC – www.2xlcoach.com
When we get hurt, we feel disconnected.
We often want to reach out to our man to tell him how he hurt us as a way to feel heard and understood and to rebuild our connection. But what we don’t understand is by doing that we often get the exact opposite result we desire, our man pulls further away. Why is that?
It’s how we communicate with our man.
We’ve all done it this way. We go to our man and want to give him a list of how he hurt us thinking that by knowing this he will “get us” and apologize as well as learn how to not repeat hurting us in that way again. But interestingly enough, if we approach our main this way, he won’t even be able to listen past the first sentences. And it’s not his fault.
He is reacting to the energy and words we women bring to the table.
He hears blame, maybe even shame, and starts to feel guilty for doing something he likely didn’t mean to do. And then he shuts down. Before we even get everything out of our mouths, he has closed off emotionally. He doesn’t want the woman he loves to be hurt, especially by something he may have said or done. Yet, when we talk to our man about how “he hurt us,” his worst fear is realized. And ladies, this is a our man’s fear: that he doesn’t live up to the man he wants to be for us, and he isn’t our hero.
Instead, when our man hurts us in some way, we must first hold ourselves accountable for the feelings we are feeling.
Is the depth of hurt we feel truly about our man, the one in front of us, or is he unknowingly pushing on an old trigger created by a past romantic relationship or childhood family dynamic? Has our man hurt our feelings this way before and did we chose to keep quiet those other times until now when we are ready to pop with anger and frustration? What part do we play in this hurt?
By owning our responsibility in this situation, we can diffuse a lot of the disruptive energy and focus on getting intimate with our man.
When we get hurt and angry at our man, getting intimate with him may feel like the last thing we want to do. But it is exactly what we need to do.
When we are ready to talk with our man, we need to drop down into our heart center, ground out, find strength from within, and share how our man’s behavior or words made us feel but without laying blame. Sound confusing? It might because we women may have unconsciously avoided sharing our true feelings for fear of being rejected or unloved. Yet it’s in risking vulnerably by sharing those deeper feelings with our man that actually brings him closer to us.
For example, if our man suddenly cancels our date last minute, we feel hurt, disrespected and angry. But if we dig deeper and get real with our feelings, we might discover we are hurt because we feel insignificant, worthless and maybe even abandoned. Phew! Those are tough feelings to allow ourselves to feel. Yet in doing so we create strength. Then when we speak to our man we get to share openly how we feel.
For example we might say: “When our date was cancelled suddenly, I felt sad and it brought up feelings of being abandoned and alone. I know that wasn’t your intention and yet I still felt yucky. I know sometimes things come up that may mean we need to cancel plans, yet I don’t like feeling abandoned. I don’t know what to do. What do you think?”
If we are vulnerable, share our feelings honestly, then offer him the opportunity to step in and be our hero, our man will comfort us and fall deeper in love with us, as well as be motivated to find a solution that works for you both.
He invited to respond, not react, to the energy and feelings we share with him.
Kate Houston, Love Coach - www.fabulousandfearlessover40.com
Part of the benefits of having a love relationship is the sense of being understood and valued by your partner.
When you’re happy, you want him to share in your joy. When you’re hurting, you want him to offer caring and empathy. However, one of the dilemmas of any relationship is that your partner can be the one that inflicts the hurt—sometimes accidentally, or because of a conflict or disagreement, or simply being in a negative or hostile mood.
So, when your partner is the source of the hurt, it can be difficult for you both when you want him to soothe and care about your hurt—especially if he’s still angry or hurt himself.
The first step when you feel hurt due to your partner’s behavior is to calm and soothe yourself.
Breathe. Take a walk, take a bath, meditate, or whatever calms your body. A relaxed body helps your mind quiet down so that you can think things through.
Try to step outside yourself and review the interaction you had from both your perspective and his—keeping your sense of caring and love active.
Was there a misunderstanding? Did you have an expectation or assumption that you hadn’t made clear? What exactly was the part that felt hurtful to you? Was there a breach of trust? Try to rate the level of hurt you felt from 1 to 10.
Then write out or think though exactly what you want to tell your partner about what you feel and why.
If you really want him to hear what you have to say, it’s important to avoid starting out with the word YOU because that will immediately feel like an attack and will most likely trigger his defensiveness.
Try instead, being CURIOUS.
Start with: I’m wondering why…..I was confused when….Could you tell me what you were thinking/feeling when… Learn more about what was going on for him. Then share what you were thinking and feeling. This creates more of a dialog rather than a contest about who is right and who’s wrong.
Working on solving issues together—even when you disagree—is the goal. Keeping your sense of respect and trust in each other is essential. When your relationship is very new, these kinds of dialogs help to forge a bond of trust and confidence. Attacks and defensiveness cause uneasiness and anxiety, and make long-term intimacy difficult.
Let’s go back to the title—I want him to know how much he hurt me. If your goal is to show him how awful he was to you, I’m wondering what your deeper motivation is? Is he often hurtful and uncaring? Do you actually feel that he doesn’t really care about you? Has he done something that has broken your sense of commitment, loyalty or morals values? Do you find yourself often feeling hurt and rejected?
If these bigger issues are becoming apparent, you need to evaluate for yourself whether this is the relationship that you want.
If it isn’t meeting what is important to you, having a conversation about these significant concerns will be necessary or things will just get worse and worse. However, having a fight with accusations and demands won’t improve things. So, use the same steps that I’ve outlined above.
Also, look at your motivation for wanting him to know how much you’re hurting.
My guess is that you’re wanting him to change—to care more, to be more empathetic, to understand you and do what you want him to do. If that is the case, it’s worth assessing whether he’s likely to make those changes, based on what you already know about his personality. From my experience getting someone to change daily habits is hard enough. Trying to get someone to change who they are, how they feel, or what they want to do, is next to impossible. I’m not sure it’s even a fair thing to expect or demand.
If you really don’t like the way your partner treats you when he’s under stress, having a bad day, or just not thinking, why are you still there?
It’s not your job to change someone to fit the picture of what you want of a partner. It makes much more sense to leave and go find someone who already fits what you want.