EMPOWERING CHRISTIAN WOMEN: Why We Hurt the Ones We Love Blogger Widgets

Why We Hurt the Ones We Love

Saturday, April 24, 2010


You always hurt the one you love,
the one you should not hurt at all;

You always take the sweetest rose,
 and crush it till the petals fall;

You always break the kindest heart,
with a hasty word you can't recall;

So if I broke your heart last night,
it's because I love you most of all."

(Mills Brothers)

Why do we hurt the ones we love? Everyone is guilty of doing this at one point or another. We all have done this. I just can't figure out why. There is not a clear cut answer the reasons are as different as we are, each situation and with each person is unique.

I was told once, that 'we always hurt the ones we love and trust because we'll always trust that they will love us back', We can basically be selfish and stupid and cruel sometimes. We easily can begin to think it’s all about us and our needs. We can easily come to take them for granted, which is a very dangerous thing to do.

I don't think it is always intentional or conscious, but because of the close emotional connection and tie, what we do that might not bother a friend as much or a stranger at all, can be devastating to someone to whom we are the closest in every area of our life. I think those we love are so much more vulnerable and easily hurt that if our intention is to get a reaction and really hurt someone deeply, they are unfortunately a close target and easier to hurt than a stranger.

Sometimes we do it because we hurt before we can be hurt. This happens because of our own fears and insecurities. Believing the lie that we are not good enough, we don’t deserve the person we're with, and they will soon realize it too. We might think we are going to lose them anyway, and we might as well go ahead and get it over. We try to be proactive and beat them to the punch. We figure if we walk away first it won't hurt as much. For example, I have been through times where I thought I was just an inconvenience to someone I cared about. Or when I was causing problems at home, and would argue with my parents. I begin feeling that I'm not "good enough" for them and I don't make them happy.' We're angry and frustrated with ourselves. We think we don't deserve anything good, so we aim at the good things we have in life and unconsciously try to destroy them.

At times like these, I've said mean and hurtful things that I didn't mean at all, do I do it as a way of testing how much my they loved me or not? Maybe I wanted to see just how far I could push them away and if they would leave. Maybe I was trying to give them plenty of reasons to leave. I wanted to give them full permission to leave me but not feel guilty about it or blame themselves about it. Rather, they could just blame me for being so hateful by saying such mean things. But the simple truth is in trying to hurt them, we try in fact to hurt ourselves.
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We expect too much from them. We nurture the secret hope that they can help us, that they can do all the things we are not capable of doing; moreover, that they have to do them, because of the love we invest in them. When they don't, we feel disappointed and the natural instinct is to make them regret it. They are the ones who have the courage to be honest and tell us the truth, even when it hurts. And even though we know it is the truth, it still hurts and the pain can cause irreversible reactions.
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We feel misunderstood. We wish they could make a journey inside our head and see things the way we see them, just because we think it is the right way. We simply can't understand why they think differently and how they can miss something that seems so simple and obvious to us.

We misunderstand them because we're not always willing to try to understand them. When we feel tired and tormented, burdened with our own faults and deficiencies, we find it difficult to deal with theirs. We're not willing to make the investment it takes to get to know them deeply.

We love them but in the same time we hate them because they know our weaknesses and there's no way we can hide. The mask we wear in relation with other people is put aside and all the things we usually try to hide come to the surface.

We may hurt them to give them comfort later. We all have the inner need to cuddle, to protect the ones we love and we feel we have the right to hurt them for the very reason that we love them so much and we'll make up for it later. There in lays the basis for the statement "making up is so much fun"

We trust them and we mistakenly believe deep in our hearts that, no matter what we do, they won't stop loving us. We feel safe to take our frustrations on them because we think there will be no consequences. We hurt them most of the times because they let us hurt them. But from personal experience, people have a breaking point, there is a spot, a line we cross, and a point at which they will walk away.

Yes, we love them dearly but there are things about them that annoy us terribly and we know we're never going to be able to change them. It's like living with our own body. Sometimes it is a blessing, other times a nuisance. Sometimes it gives us a lot of satisfaction, other times it drives us mad, but there is not much we can do about it cause it's ours.

How can people sometimes say such cruel things to their loved ones--partner or best friend or parent or sibling? They treat strangers so much nicer. Why are we much more polite with people we don't know than we are to the people that we need?

Then there are people out there that actually TRY to make someone feel miserable, and they feel good about doing so. What a miserable existence.

We all experience various degrees of emotional hurt and trauma growing up. Unfortunately, we form part of our identities around whatever we experience, be it love, distance, drama, or verbal or physical abuse. As adults, we may feel most alive or most like ourselves when we are feeling the same way we did as children, and so we may do things unconsciously to get our partner to trigger those feelings. For example, a person who grew up with a lot of distance may feel uncomfortable with closeness, and may sabotage it by picking fights or avoiding intimacy. Or a person who grew up in a chaotic, dramatic home may be uncomfortable with harmony and quiet and always seem to trigger chaos or drama in their relationships.

Also, as adults, our fantasy is that we will find a person who will finally give us the love we never got as children. If we can’t get the love from our original parent or caretaker, the next best thing is to get the love from someone who has a very similar personality to the person we originally feel wounded by. We’ll generally feel a lot of attraction, chemistry and intensity in our love with such loved ones, due to the interlocking nature of our emotional baggage.

But what we may not realize though, is that this person that we fall love has the perfect tools and personality to emotionally re-create our childhood hurts. After the initial attraction wears off and we are in a deeper, committed relationship, their fears (and ours) often get activated. And when they get afraid, they will strike out in exactly the same way that our parents or caretakers did. The result? We get wounded again. Only now it’s worse, because the very person who we hoped could give us the love we never got, is hurting us. Not because they ‘love us most of all’, but because they are unaware of their own unconscious defenses.

Many of us lack the knowledge and skills of how to communicate our feelings constructively - many people may realize how they hurt their partners, and feel like they want to change that behavior, but simply don't know how to change, or how to communicate what they are feeling in a constructive manner. Our culture does very little to teach us how to relate to our own feelings, and how to communicate those feelings to others in a safe, healthy way. Men especially may feel uncomfortable dealing with feelings of fear or vulnerability and may feel safer expressing anger or control when they are really scared.

Sometimes it may just be NOTHING. Everything could be going great, and then one day, all of a sudden, something happens. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding, just plain ol' miscommunication. We make assumptions and perceive things in a way that they were never meant or expressed. Instead of clarifying and working on a problem if one exists, we respond out of fear or anger. We blow things up and make them something there that’s not. Maybe it was something that they didn't mean. And then just like that, everything is gone...for good. And all that love we had for that person just disappears.

So what can we do to stop hurting the one we love?

We all have to take responsibility for getting clear and resolving our own emotional hurts from the past. We need to learn how to make it safe for our partners to express how they feel. We need to learn how to create a loving presence where we genuinely listen and validate our partners’ experience. We need to learn how to express feelings in ways that bring us closer, not in ways that create more distance and hurt.

We may need to do some work together to understand how and why we trigger each other to lash out in hurtful and destructive ways. We need to respect the fact that in an committed relationship, we have access to the most private and vulnerable aspects of each other’s lives. We need to treat that as a sacred privilege that we relate to with the utmost respect, not as an entitlement to trample upon for our own ego gratification. We can’t make ourselves look good at their expense. We can’t use those intimate secrets, their weaknesses and vulnerabilities at weapons when angry or frustrated. Those secrets should be maintained even if we are no longer with our loved one. Our responsibility and our implied promise to hold their most intimate thoughts are not released simply because we are no longer a in the same type of relationship.

Are we totally blind to the pain that our words may cause? I don't think so, so then why do we do it? We need to use words that build up and not tear down the other person.

We are all on a journey of discovering who we are, and intimate relationships provide us with a powerful opportunity to see ourselves and our psychological and spiritual lessons more clearly. We can hide from ourselves, from our therapists, from our bodies, from our spiritual teachers and from our friends, but we cannot hide from the one we love and who loves us. All of our stuff will eventually come to light through this mysterious and wonderful process we call love.

If a relationship becomes abusive, verbally or physically, and or the relationship begins to put our well being in jeopardy it is not considered running away, it’s more like escaping. We need to do this for our own self-preservation. You need to set personal boundaries, express them, and stand by them, when necessary, don't let the other person control who you are, don't let them diminish or prevent you from fulfilling God's purpose for your life. But don't expect the other person to know what you’re thinking, you need to communicate your boundaries and you expectations, or they will not be aware of them. You should never lose yourself in the relationship. Above all else be true to yourself.

If we look deeply we may clearly see that any part of ourselves that hurts others is simply a part of ourselves that needs more love.

Excerpt from: Hiding in the Shadows
A book by Michael Clark
Copyright 2009 Shadows of the Cross Ministries

* May be utilized and copied as needed as long as credits are attached.

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2 comments:

Jennifer Nichols Miller said...

Just to SUM IT UP... This is EVERYTHING & EXACTLY what I was needing to hear & looking for PLUS MORE.

GOD knows what you need ], when you need it! HE WILL PROVIDE!

Jennifer Nichols Miller said...

This is EVERYTHING & EXACTLY what I was NEEDING & LOOKING FOR plus a whole lot more! Thank you so much... I have been trying to put all of this into my own words and it does not come out correctly. I just really needed to hear this and will be passing it along.

GOD KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED, WHEN YOU NEED IT!

HE WILL PROVIDE!