All of us have habits we bring into our relationships. Some of them are very good, but some of them can bring about pain and hardship to our partners. And if we have those bad habits, what can we do about them?
Plenty! But the first thing we have to do is understand what it is we are doing.
One of the hardest things to teach someone in a relationship is to stop getting angry at their mate. I know because this is how I grew up and this is the response I used every time I got my feelings hurt.
I know there are many, many people who suffer from this and it is a big problem for those of us who get mad. But there are ways of understanding what we do and helping ourselves do something different.
Sometimes when we get our feelings hurt, we want to lash out at the one who caused us to feel bad. This is pretty common for some of us. I know it was for me.
I grew up in a household where my mother was overwhelmed and released her frustration by yelling at her children. I know she loved us, but as a child I learned that this is what you do when you don’t like something: you yell.
You may have heard the story about a Native American grandfather talking to his grandson. The grandfather told the grandson there are two wolves inside of him having a war. One is mean and angry. The other is kind and loving.
Curious the grandson asked, “Who will win?” Grandfather replied, “The one that I feed.”
I have heard this story a few times and every time I nod to myself that I too want to feed the right wolf. I want to be kind and loving, not angry and mean. And I bet if you are reading this right now you would agree with me.
Many of us got hurt during our childhood. And some of us were not able to talk about our pain to our parents or the people who cared for us. So when a young person gets hurt and there isn’t another person to help them, some of us turn toward our anger to get attention.
This is how I grew up. I got hurt, but didn’t have the skills to talk about what was bothering me, so I resorted to yelling at the person who hurt me. This is common when some of our needs are not met.
Many of us in relationships get our feelings hurt. This is pretty normal and happens even when we love our partners. But some of us when we get our feelings hurt get really, really upset. I know I used to do that too.
When we get really upset, well we can’t think straight. Our minds narrow with maybe one thought. We got hurt and someone has to pay. This is common if we didn’t learn how to understand our hurt feelings.
I didn’t while growing up. There was a lot of yelling in my family and I grew up thinking that yelling was the way to solve things when upset. It works in a family of yellers, but most people don’t grow up this way.
Humans are very complex. We can be in two feelings at once. We can love our mates, and be extremely mad at them and we can feel both of these things together. That is how the mind works. All of our minds work this way.
It is very common to get our feelings hurt when we are in a relationship with someone we love. Loving a person requires us to move away from barriers we place around our heart. We push them aside and love deeply another person.
And because these barriers are not there to protect us, when we get our feelings hurt, we really, really hurt! There is no protection around the heart to keep the heart safe and that’s why it stings so deeply.
All of us in relationships come into our union with the skills we learned growing up. Many of us might have come from homes where the problems never got solved. Some of us might even be new to even thinking about saying, “I am sorry.”
That’s how I grew up. My family was full of love and deep connections, but the display of those emotions was buried under a lot of anger and disappointment. When someone drank the milk and another family member wanted some, that person would yell, “Who drank the milk?” If someone answered, then there would be an argument about why they drank all the milk.
Most of us if we are in a relationship often feel that our partner does things that hurt us. I know I have been in this position too many times to count. But I know in my heart of hearts that my partner loves me. I mean he really loves me.
And I bet that in your tender moments, if you look at your partner, you will tell yourself the same thing: “My partner loves me too.”
But when we get our feelings hurt, we forget that we are loved and instead feel unwanted. When we get upset, we put a protective layer around our heart and maybe lash out or pull our feelings inside ourselves and feel terrible. We try to defend ourselves when we get hurt. It’s only natural.
I was running in my neighborhood one Thanksgiving Day. The streets were empty, and smells filled the air. I was thinking about the meal I would be eating later, with loved ones, when a sharp yell pierced the air. It was a woman screaming at a child.
I heard it come from a home across the street so I couldn’t see who was yelling, but I got an instant picture. At first I felt pain for the child, but then the mind traveled to the one who was yelling and I realized something else. It was something familiar I must have felt as a child, something this woman could be feeling at this moment.