Talking is hard when we’re hurt. We’re often least likely to seek our partner’s understanding and support at the times when we need it most.
We all want to feel connected to the person we love. So, why is it so hard, when we get our feelings hurt, to feel connected? Why does it feel as if we are miles away from that space and as though there’s no way of getting back to it?
Getting hurt by the one we love happens in all relationships. Look back at your family when you grew up. Did you ever get your feelings hurt by someone? Maybe this happened because you fought with a sibling. It might have happened because you disagreed with a parent.
Talking is Hard When We’re Afraid to Disrupt the Peace
Maybe you decided that when you had your own family—yourself and your partner—there would be no squabbling or disagreeing. You wanted something that would just be good, safe, and peaceful.
Everyone wants that. All humans want to live happily, peacefully, and with a sense of feeling loved. So why is it so hard for us when we get our feelings hurt? Hurt feelings are natural. We probably all survived them growing up. But something happens to us when we give ourselves over to another individual. Something that makes us feel as if we will always be protected and safe.
Talking Can Be Hard When We Lean On Other Strategies For Handling (or Avoiding) Conflict
We get pulled into this lovely state when we meet our special person. We fall out of it when we get our feelings hurt by the one who is supposed to love us. Falling in love is a lot easier than staying with someone who hurts our feelings. So how do we do that?
First there are lots of reasons why we aren’t able to communicate after getting hurt. All of us have some sort of protection that we use to keep ourselves safe. We probably began these behaviors when we were little and we use them as we grew up into our adult relationships. They could be keeping quiet, leaving the room, or getting mad at our mate.
Talking Is Hard When It Feels Like It Will Reopen Wounds
All of these behaviors indicate to our partner something happened to us, something awful. We might not even know exactly what happened, but we do know we are upset. As a counselor I know we got our feelings hurt. Someone did something and it hurt us.
So when we get our feelings hurt, why would we want to get re-injured by talking about it? We can’t. What about just brushing off the upset and getting close again? And that’s impossible. When we have an emotional reaction, something did happen, and until we can figure it out and explain it without getting upset we can’t really be understood by the person we love.
Tell Your Partner When You Feel Hurt
So the point here is not to beat yourself up if you feel hurt and can’t talk about it. That’s pretty common. But you don’t want to stay upset and cut off from your partner. You want to find a way to move back and get close again; you remember that peaceful, happy, connected place you love so much.
The role of all good mates is to know yourself and be able to explain what happens to you when you get upset, so your partner can understand you. Don’t take it out on them, because I am pretty sure they love you and may not even know what they have done to hurt you. If they do things on purpose, well that’s another article. This blog is about understanding that your partner wants you to be happy. So tell them what hurts. Let them see what happened. I have a hunch they might be able to make it better.
What Can You Do When Love Feels Like War?
Read a Book About Relationships
You may feel talking is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Try reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help teach you better communication strategies that make it easier for you and your loved one to open up, connect, and feel more loved. 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.