Our relationships are like reflections of our inner soul.
As we learn more about who we are, through interaction with others, triggers go off deep within. Similar to cleaning a dusty mirror for the first time, we begin to see ourselves with more clarity and we often don’t like what we are seeing and feeling.
Other people reflect love and hate and we then choose to absorb whatever we believe we deserve. When we have low self-esteem we allow and accept negative and toxic behaviour as we feel that it is justified.
We hurt others because we are hurt. The weapons we choose are usually the ones that we know will inflict the most damage.
When we hurt someone we love we are emotionally self-harming. Hurting others always end up with us hurting ourselves more in the process. When we love and value ourselves, we are far less likely to engage in destructive behaviours and form painful dynamics.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha
When two people love one another, but can’t see a way out of causing wounds either emotionally or physically, it is likely that the relationship will go from bad to so much worse. When we learn what causes this behaviour and become aware of the part we are playing, we can begin to move positively towards a resolve.
We aren’t perfect and it is unlikely we will have entirely conflict-free lives. But there is a big difference between healthy conflict and destructive conflict.
Most of us want to change, but quite simply, don’t always know how. Here are a few of the reasons we choose to hurt those we love:
Negative attention is still attention. When we behave in a way that ignites a reaction, we are suddenly getting the other person’s full focus, albeit a negatively. We need to turn this back around to love. Find a way back to loving and creating a flow of good energy and we will be far less likely to crave the bad.
Convenience. The ones we love are conveniently around us more. When we are angry or aggressive, it seems easier to vent to whoever is closest.
Release. It is like we pass on our anger, we don’t want it, so we try to make someone else feel bad and then we think we will feel much better! The trouble is, we don’t, we may have relieved the aggression and anger temporarily, however, we are now left with other emotions as we witness the person we love become fuelled. And now, there is the likelihood they will take the anger back out on us. A vicious, vicious circle.
Trust. Sometimes we trust that those we love the most will never leave us or abandon us despite our negative behaviour. We believe in our own minds that we truly must be worth loving if we can behave terribly and still, the other person stays around. We are worth loving. Exactly as we are now. And we make it far easier for other people to love us fully when we behave in a loving manner towards ourselves and also to them.
Boundaries. We push, and push and we push, trying to fathom where the boundaries lie. This can cause us to push the person we love further away. Good honest communication will allow both parties to be fully aware of how each person feels, without the desire to try to see how far we can go with little tests. Don’t push to breaking point, because, once that destination is reached, it can very often signal the end.
To force change. We foolishly believe that by hurting someone with words or actions, we can try to change them or make them see things differently. We can only change ourself, real change can never be forced.
Intention. Sometimes we hurt one another without any intention meant. Sometimes through the course of our daily life, little things we say or do can hurt the ones closest to us. Remembering that just because we are feeling hurt it doesn’t mean the other person meant to hurt us and this can help to alleviate the situation. A little bit of forgiveness, understanding and compassion can repair these kinds of thoughtless behaviours in no time at all.
Expectations. We can have unrealistic and way too high expectations of the ones we love. When they fail to reach our standards, we can take this as a personal insult and feel hurt. Accepting people for what they are and allowing for mistakes will lessen the pain. We are all human and we will all mess up from time to time.
Avoiding intimacy. We very often distance ourselves and sabotage our relationships to avoid getting too intimate. We are so afraid of getting hurt, that we hurt others in order to avoid this. All we are doing is hurting ourselves and avoiding the one thing we want most.
It isn’t always personal. It is quite often more about the person who is dishing out the hurt that the person who is receiving. It is our own issues that cause us to hurt those around us. We should never allow another person’s behaviours to affect how we feel about ourselves.
Chaos and Drama. The more drama and chaos that has been in our life, the more comfortable we feel alongside it. Like a habit, as we let go of it and reduce or eradicate it completely, it will feel like a stranger to us and we will feel awkward and uncomfortable around it and far less likely to engage in it.
Forgive. We often hurt the ones we love because we are still angry and resentful for something they previously did to hurt us. Forgiveness is not always easy, and it doesn’t mean that you accept or justify their actions. We need to let go of the belief that we are punishing the other person by not forgiving them. The only one we are punishing is our self. Letting go of anger
The first step towards change of any kind is awareness. Awareness is like a light, as it brightens we begin to see more clearly. We can be afraid of being lit up inside as it shows us the parts to ourselves we would rather not see.
If both parties are willing, it can be very healing to work together to understand what causes the triggers and why we react in the way we do. Trust in one another and share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and find ways to deal with the emotions that arise from them. Talk openly and let each other know that from this point onwards you no longer want to interact destructively towards one another. Do not expect miracles, change and behavioural habits take time.
Be patient. Be loving.
Work on being mindful, living in the present moment. When we do this we immediately see things clearer and will have a greater level of compassion towards the ones we love and also to ourselves.
We have to remember we cannot change the other person. We can only change ourselves. We must do our own inner work and heal and step back and allow the other person to do the same, if they wish to. Personal journeys cannot be forced. We each have to go at our own pace to fully learn all the lessons that are being brought to us.
Even in a close relationship, no two people will have exactly the same life lesson at the same time. As we move and grow through our own understandings we will notice small changes taking place within. This then may, or may not, have an effect on the other person causing changes in their behaviour too.
The most important thing is to self-focus. We cannot fix anyone else. As we work on our selves and change, others around us will very likely change too. And if they choose not to, we may find that we are no longer willing to role-play in their destructive games and behaviours.
When we are in pain and feel the need to inflict these emotions onto someone else, this is the moment we need to take responsibility and figure out what is causing the pain in the first place. We have all the answers we need within ourselves. Paying attention to our thoughts and actions can uncover all we need to know.
Self-love, self-acceptance and awareness are all tools that will assist us when we slip down destructive paths. It will happen, we all make mistakes, but, when we take a step back and refuse to engage negatively we will very quickly see the huge impact that has on our daily interactions with the ones we love most.
Then, we can focus on using all of our energy to love rather than allowing it to to be used as a weapon of destruction.