I was walking the neighborhood recently with a friend and we passed by a car parked on the street. The windows were down so I could hear a young couple sitting in the front facing each other and having a discussion.
I heard a few words from the man. He was explaining something to the young woman about how his feelings were hurt. I could feel his earnestness, even after just a couple of moments. I also could tell that he was trying really hard to get her to understand him.
Every one of us has hurt someone we care about. Unless we live alone in a cave and don’t interact with another human being, we will sometime in our life be hurting someone we love. It just goes along with being alive and interacting with others.
But when we hurt the person we love and are in relationship with—well, that can weigh heavy on us and make us feel pretty terrible. I know there have been many times I have been cross or said something sharp to my husband. I also know that even the slightest shrug of the shoulder or snappy reply has an effect on him.
So if we do things that are bigger than a rolling of the eyes, like hanging up on our partner, cussing them out, or slamming doors and leaving, well we have made not just a statement, we have made a big impact on the person we love.
As someone who is interested in what causes behavior, I am convinced that the madder you are, the more wounded you have been. It’s hard to think of an angry person as in pain though. Most of us want to get away from someone who is angry. We feel their fierceness and we just want to back away and not have anything to do with them.
I tried to calm him down. I did so three times. The fourth time I just let him rage, and that’s exactly what he did. He raged and raged and raged. And when he was done he got up and left the room. I continued with the wife and soon after the session ended. I felt a lot of emotion in the session and a lot of it was mine. I felt helpless to help him. I felt very sad for his inability to find a way to be understood by his wife. I felt him trapped inside himself and having no way to express himself except with a big booming voice that no one could tolerate.
I was listening to a talk recently and the speaker was telling us about how our brains are wired. He said that when something good happens it doesn’t stick in our brain because our brain treats the good like Teflon. But when something bad happens, our brain acts completely different, it becomes Velcro.
It doesn’t make sense that our own brain would act so contrary to what would be more helpful to us in our lives. It would be much better if all the good things in life were to stick like glue and the bad things would just roll off, but that’s not the way we are wired.
It may be hard to believe, but some people don’t get mad. I mean everyone gets mad, but some people don’t show their anger. This article is about those of us with the first response getting mad and expressing it. This is the way I am wired, and I know there are a lot of you out there wired the same way.
There are many theories about why we are wired the way we are, but I would like to boil it down. It all started when we were children…
When I write this title a part of me winces. It’s the part of me that writes the word “toxic”. This word actually means poisonous, harmful, dangerous, and deadly. So I think it’s only natural to feel this revulsion with the word. And yet, I have heard many people talk about their relationships and label them as “toxic”.
We are all familiar with feeling uncomfortable in our relationships or marriages. I know this happens because all of us are unique and the one we are with may not get us every second and sometimes when they don’t understand us we get our feelings hurt. This is just how relationships go.
All of us who are in a relationship have many things in common. First off, we all probably want it to work. We most likely want to live peacefully with the person we love. Another thing we probably all agree on is that we don’t want to fight. We just want to get along and experience good feelings with each other.
Yes, I believe we can all agree on what we want. Now here’s what we don’t want. We don’t want to get our feelings hurt. We don’t want to get mad at our mate. We don’t want to feel bad about ourselves or work too hard for our partner. I bet we can all agree on what we don’t want too.
As a counselor I often intervene with couples when they start to argue about who said what and who remembers what because that conversation can sometimes turn into a fight. I usually go into some sort of education to help them understand that they each have different brains, life experiences and ways of processing how information is received and stored.
This conversation helps reduce some of the tension and then we can continue our work in the session. But recently I fell victim to feeling so violated because my husband did not remember something I had told him three times!
When you read the title you might say to yourself, “I don’t do that, I don’t withhold affection or love from my person.” The truth, though, is we all do it. Every one of us who is in a relationship does it. That’s because that’s how humans act when they get their feelings hurt. We don’t love our other when we are suffering. That’s a fact.
Think about it. You and your mate are having a disagreement. You feel they did something to you. They feel you did something to them. You are both mad at the other. Are you withholding love from your person then? Of course you are. We ALL do this.
There are lots of reasons to get mad at the people we love. It just seems to happen, sometimes right out of the blue. We don’t plan on getting angry, but as we all know, anger can just come out of nowhere and when it does—well, watch out. Anger is not very pretty.
I know I have been working on decreasing my anger for a long time. It’s not that anger is bad. It’s just that when we say harsh things, yell, or swear at someone we love… Well, there could be a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of damage. I just got tired of cleaning up the mess I made when I got angry.