Moving Beyond Hurt
Relationships bring us the greatest joys we experience in life – and also the deepest pain. Part of our unconscious motivation for entering a relationship is to help us heal from the old wounds we’ve carried since childhood. Our adult relationships are supposed to be different. When we experience hurt even from the person we love the most, we can feel deeply wounded.
Hurt can arise from a variety of places. If your partner has an affair or leaves you feeling betrayed the source is clear. At other times, the cause of injured feelings is much more difficult to pinpoint. Feelings of disappointment can accumulate over time: a missed anniversary, a thoughtless act, a real or imagined slight. We find ourselves feeling distressed, angry, bruised.
Dealing with hurt requires maturity – an ability to act like an adult, even when feeling wounded or enraged. Having access to your emotions is good and healthy, and you have a right to express your feelings. But staying there forever leaves you in the role of victim, and that’s not going to lead to happiness. It’s important to figure out what is going on inside of you and within your relationship so you can determine what you really want.
Talk about your feelings with your partner. Letting your partner know what you’re feeling accomplishes several things: it keeps communication open between the two of you, and it keeps resentments from building up in secret. It allows your partner to understand what you are experiencing and to have the opportunity to take responsibility and make things right.
Communication is also important because events can be misinterpreted; sometimes what actually happened isn’t as you first understood it. If you find yourself feeling wounded even though your partner has not actually wronged you, your pain could be self-inflicted or the result of old messages that cause you to doubt your self-worth.
If you are hurt because of something your partner did, you are going to need time to determine if you can forgive him. Check out, too, whether or not the fundamentals of the relationship have changed. If your partner wants to make amends, is that agreeable with you? Do you want the relationship to continue? It’s your call. After you reflect on your situation, you may find that the damage can’t be repaired. If that’s the case then your challenge is to communicate that clearly to your partner.
If the relationship is fundamentally sound and has a future, what can your partner do that will help heal things? Is there something he can say or do that will help? The first step in healing the relationship is for the offending partner to make it clear that he really understands the depth of his partner’s feelings without getting defensive or offering explanation. The second step is to say without equivocation: “I’m sorry.” Only then can forgiveness enter the picture.
Unless you can come to that place of forgiveness, your relationship has little future. Forgiving is different from forgetting. You may always remember the hurt, if it was sufficiently large. Your mission is to find a way to put the event in the past and move forward.
I have been licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years. My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression. My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships.
I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems. My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate. If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.
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Whether you've worked with a therapist before or are exploring counseling for the first time, you probably have questions. It is important to have the information you need to make a good decision when selecting a therapist. I welcome your questions -- about your specific situation, about me or about my approach to therapy. Making things better can start with an email, or you can call me at (404) 874-8536.