“Hurt people hurt people.” A friend of mine recently shared this expression with me. It resonated with me as a counselor. I understand pain in people, maybe because I have experienced it myself.
Pain and hurt can come in many ways. And we can feel it throughout our lives, and sometimes we take out our pain on others.
Childhood Experiences Shape How Hurt People Hurt People in Relationships
Here’s where pain comes from. We can begin to notice it when we are very small. And it can hit us in many, many different ways.
All of us had parents. Some of us had very attentive parents. Others had some who were not there very often. Whatever our circumstances, we as little children have to make sense out of our lives. And we do just that. There are theories that say we make all the decisions about how the world will treat us when we are pretty tiny ourselves; between 3 and 7 years of age.
We become aware of whether we are well cared for or lack for things, and whether we’re ignored or abused. We already know if there are fights between our parents or with others in the home. And we know if we are fighters as well.
These incidents all create some kind of feelings and thoughts inside us. If we were well cared for, we might get disappointed in our mate if they aren’t caring for us in a similar way. If we didn’t get what we thought we should be getting, then we might expect our mates to supply those elements to us and become angry if they don’t.
And if we were ignored, we may have become demanding with our beloveds because of that condition. If were beaten, we might carry around a rage in us that gets unleashed when our feelings get hurt.
Childhood Difficulties Re-emerge Later into Our Relationships
So, back to “hurt people hurt people.” You can see that if you didn’t get things, you might feel neglected as an adult and expect or demand things from your mate. You might be pushing them around in a way that feels uncomfortable to them.
This happens in relationships because after the honeymoon period is over, then all our habits from our old self start to appear. These habits are built around our needs and they are meant to fill something that is incomplete. However, your partner probably isn’t aware of what they are supposed to do to help you.
You Can Grow Beyond Your Negative Childhood Experiences with Self-Awareness and Communication
Whatever we experienced as a child is not the end of who we are or what we become. It is the beginning. We need to understand our habits of how we get charged up about things, or how we let things build up and then explode, or why we just say nothing at all, because it’s the first step in bringing freedom into our lives.
That’s why it is necessary to understand yourself. You hold the key to your happiness, not your partner. They love you. They need you to understand yourself, so you can guide them through helping you. Then you are truly in the relationship together, and the healing that awaits you helps everyone.
Get Some Help Breaking the “Hurt People Hurt People” Cycle
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how to move past your past hurts, so they don’t complicate or burden your relationships, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you communicate your needs to your partner, so the two of you can work on being the happiest you can be. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.