What to Do When You Feel Hurt
What happens for you when you feel hurt by something your partner said or did? What do you do? Do you lash out and criticize them? Shut down? Leave for the day?
A research study of 50,000 couples found that 95% of happily married couples feel “very satisfied” with how they talk to one other. These happy couples report feeling enough emotional safety to express their feelings. When they are in conflict, most of these partners do not put each other down, compared to 80% of unhappy couples who do get critical and hostile.
We all long to feel happy, understood and loved. So why do we continue to perpetuate a negative pattern of relating in times of distress?
In reality, we get hijacked by our emotions and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening in our relationship. While we can't control the feelings that surface, many of us struggle to articulate what we are really feeling underneath the anger. We may not connect with our own deeper needs or express them in a way that our partner can hear and understand.
Especially when we are feeling hurt... Misunderstood... Rejected… Inadequate...Dismissed
Speaking personally, I know there have been many times over the years when I've tried to express a feeling or need and my partner instantly became defensive or angry. Sometimes I felt justified; other times, I felt frustrated. The one consistent feeling I’ve had whenever I’ve blamed my partner for something and he became defensive, was always loneliness and a deep longing to be understood and held.
Over the years, I've learned how to navigate my inner world so I could express myself in a way that my partner can understand. We have spent a lot of time learning to understand and respond to each others needs and fears, and we have gained the awareness and tools that give us the best possible chance of feeling loved, respected, and valued. The way I communicate now also has given my partner the best chance to actually meet my needs. While our communication isn't perfect— Yes, I still react and get hijacked by my feelings sometimes—but fortunately because of the work we have done and our self-awareness and compassion for one another, we get back on track quickly and work through our problems together.
Couples who can express their feelings, needs, and longings for connection in an authentic and gentle way, often have the best chance of getting what they need or want in the relationship.
To help you learn to do this, I’m hosting several different 2.5 hour “Date Night” Couples Workshops and a Weekend Couples Retreat focused on helping couples understand how and why they get hijacked by their feelings and how to avoid getting derailed and to move toward less conflict and a more loving connection where they feel heard and understood.
I truly hope you’ll join me and sign up to take the first step toward the loving relationship you long to have with your partner.