When someone hurts our feelings, most of us acquired a defense mechanism that attempts to make us feel better by making others feel bad. This defense mechanism might operate a bit like this:
“You’ve hurt me so much so now I’m going to make you feel pain too so you know how I feel”
This defense mechanism occurs so automatically, so insidiously that you might not be aware it is happening. This defense mechanism is attempting to make you feel better but it does not work, does it?
In fact, what it does is the opposite. It creates a larger divide in your relationship.
Now you are both in pain. Your partner hurt you so now you are both miserable. Not a particularly healthy or efficient way of dealing with hurt feelings.
The healthy way of dealing with hurt feelings
What’s the alternative? What else can you do other than striking back to those that you feel attacked you?
The first step is to be present with your feeling.
Do not skip steps.
Slow down and really feel what it is like to be in this feeling. Understand what is it about. Emotion is information. Pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you. What happens that hurts you so much?
There is a strong probability that the intensity of the pain is due to something else that happened previously in your your life.
In other words, the reason the pain is so intense is because this pain is reminding you of another one you’ve felt before. One that is sitting undigested, unprocessed.
One that is sitting in the shadows of your unconscious mind.
Exploring why this pain is so intense and what it’s reminding you of is the key to your salvation.
By sitting with your emotions and feeling it all, you include back as part of your self parts of you that have been voiceless and in pain for a long time.
By giving them back their voice, you are including more of you into your conscious awareness.
This is self-love.
This part gets to be heard. The trapped emotion gets released.
When you are triggered once more, the intensity will be lesser and lesser until it no longer controls you. The defense mechanism serves no purpose anymore. The pain has a voice and has released the painful historical stuff that had a hold on you.
Learn more about how to feel your emotions fully by reading this post.
The Healthy Repair Process
Now that you have clarity about why this hurts you so much, the time comes to return to the present moment and tell your partner your feelings got hurt.
Don’t skip looking in and getting to why the emotion is so intense before going into repair. It is best to enter repair from a place of centeredness rather than from a place of overwhelm.
Even if returning to your center fully is not possible prior to the start of the repair process, it’s best to have gone through some form of emotional release prior to repairing.
There is no point in going fast and skipping steps.
Sharing how you feel is important. It’s not about what the other person did wrong. It’s about how it made you feel.
As part of the defense mechanism, you would have been tempted to put the blame on them and tell them how bad they are. But you know better now. It’s time to repair the relationship, not time to create a larger divide in the relationship.
If they love you, they will care about how you feel. They will hear you out and make repair.
Repair might look like a heartfelt apology, some sharing on their part of their intentions and awareness of how this affected you. Physical affection might also play a role in the repair process.
Connecting from a place of vulnerability and sincerity is essential to this process. Connecting with your partner from a place of vulnerability and honesty is good for your relationship.
Good relationships are those who commit to repairing hurt feelings.
Repair might look differently in different situations. It’s about being present with the internal experience of the person who has been hurt and reconnecting with an open heart.
It’s okay if you need time to be alone. There is no need to rush between steps. Listening to your internal experience is the guide.
Patience and presence with your internal world and with your partner will get you to higher connectedness with yourself and your partner.
Learn more about how to help your loved ones feel seen by reading this post.
- Hurting those that hurt you is a defense mechanism
- Look in and let the trapped emotion speak up
- Once you have regained some clarity and calm, start the repair process by sharing how you feel. The focus should be on your internal experience, not on how “wrong” your partner acted
- Connect with your partner from a place of vulnerability and honesty
- Patience and presence with yourself and your partner