Why We Hurt the Ones We Love, and Let Them Hurt Us
Betrayal in intimate relationships occurs when a partner lies, cheats, surreptitiously uses family finances, chronically criticizes, stonewalls, yells, or abuses. Each act violates the implicit promise that gives us the courage to love in the first place: No matter what happens, the person you love and trust will ....
Care about your well-being..
Never intentionally hurt you.
Why It Hurts So Bad.
Love relationships are mirrors of the inner self. We learn how lovable we are and how valuable our love is to others only by interacting with the people we love. Young children never question the impressions of themselves reflected by caretakers and peers.
They do not think that their critical, stressed-out mothers or their raging fathers are just having a bad time or trying to recover from their own difficult childhoods. Young children attribute negative reflections of themselves from significant others to their own inadequacy and unworthiness.
Suppose you had internalized your body image based on reflections from a funhouse mirror, which made your hips look a mile wide. You would think you were in deep trouble and that no diet could help. Once you've internalized such a negative image, you distrust even accurate mirrors.
People who are gaunt from eating disorders actually see themselves as fat when they look in a mirror that reflects little more than skin and bones. Even those who do not have eating disorders but who were told repeatedly as children that they were too thin are likely to see themselves as thin adults, despite mirror reflections that show a few extra pounds.
When it comes to physical appearance, at least we have lots of other mirrors to compare to the distorted funhouse reflection. But there are no reflections of love other than those we get from the people we love
. If you judge how lovable you are based on reflections from someone who cannot love without hurt, you will have a necessarily distorted and inaccurate view of yourself.
The instinct to believe the information about the self that loved ones reflect weakens somewhat as we grow older, but it remains active throughout life. You would probably laugh—or at least not get angry
—at a stranger who implied that you have green hair, but if your husband or wife says it, you're likely to run to a mirror. The default assumption is, if your partner is displeased, there must be something wrong with you, and you need anger or resentment for protection.
No matter how much we argue with loved ones about their criticisms and put-downs, we are likely to believe them, at least unconsciously. We might not agree with the particular flaw pointed out,
but on some deep level, we'll perceive a defect that must be defended. Some part of us buys into the "blemishes" reflected in the mirror of love, even when we know intellectually that our loved one is distorting who we are.
This hidden pressure explains why successful and powerful people are just as vulnerable as anyone else to the many forms of betrayal in their love relationships.
Of course, the mirror of love can also reflect good news. If you learn how lovable you are and how valuable your love is from compassionate caretakers, you will naturally have a more realistic view of yourself in love relationships. You'll be disappointed and saddened sometimes, but you will hardly ever feel inadequate, unworthy, or unlovable.Just as important, when you feel sad or disappointed, you will know that you can do something to improve your emotional state, if not your situation.
Your sadness will be short-lived—you may feel bad for a while, but then regroup and do something that will make you feel valuable once again. The mirror of love generates energy when it reflects value and depletes energy when it doesn't
The Betrayer’s Rationale: Blaming the Mirror
A distressed or misbehaving child can make us feel like failures as parents and thoroughly inadequate. A raging or rejecting parent can make a child feel powerless, inadequate, and unlovable.
A distracted, demanding, or hostile lover can make us feel disregarded, devalued, and rejected. After working for thousands of hours with people trying to overcome painful relationship problems
, I'm convinced that we use resentment and anger to punish loved ones, not so much for their behavior as for our painful reflections in the mirror of love. We want to attack the mirror because we don't like the reflection.
The only way out this morass is to stop viewing emotional pain as a punishment inflicted by someone else and learn to act on it as an internal motivation to heal, correct, and improve.
This will lead to a deeper self-compassion and put us more in touch with our deepest values, which will, in turn, inspire more compassion for one another. You can love without hurt, but only if you use pain as a signal to heal and improve rather than punish.
All forms of intimate betrayal share a common fundamental motivation, whether the betrayer cheats, lies, abuses, steals, stonewalls, yells, or criticizes. That motivation, usually unconscious, is to gain a momentary feeling of empowerment from the adrenaline rush of violating deeper values like caring about the emotional well-being of loved ones.
The rush makes them feel more alive, but only for as long as the adrenaline lasts. As the rush diminishes, self-doubt and depression emerge, creating an urge for more of the stimulant. Like all forms of stimulation, more and more of it is needed to produce the same effect. Betrayal, whatever form it takes, will likely increase in frequency and intensity over time, without intervention.
The way out—for betrayers and betrayed alike—is for each person to create more value and meaning in life. This is utterly necessary, whether or not a couple afflicted with betrayal decides to repair the damaged relationship.
Trying to repair the relationship with open wounds of betrayal—or to build a new life apart from the relationship—is fruitless and ultimately dispiriting. If you feel betrayed, healing and growth begins with the realization that you are not damaged, but your relationship is. You must heal first and, if you so choose, attempt repair later
Why Do We Hurt the One We Love?
One of the most common (and most frustrating) relationship dynamics that we hear about is couples who feel emotionally wounded by each other on a regular basis.
They both love each other, and want to stay together, yet they keep hurting each other through verbal abuse, physical rejection, taking each other for granted, betraying emotional trust, or bringing up the most vulnerable topics from their partner’s past.
This is a such a common phenomenon that it became the focus of the famous 1944 song by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher, “You Always Hurt the One You Love”, with this bizarre last line: “So if I broke your heart last night, it’s because I love you most of all.” Huh? That’s clearly not love.
1) Unconscious re-creation of emotional trauma – we all experience various degrees of emotional hurt and trauma growing up. Unfortunately, we form part of our identities around whatever we experience, be it love, distance, drama, or verbal or physical abuse.
As adults, we may feel most alive or most like ourselves when we are feeling the same way we did as children, and so we may do things unconsciously to get our partner to trigger those feelings. For example, a person who grew up with a lot of distance may feel uncomfortable with closeness, and may sabotage it by picking fights or avoiding intimacy.
Or a person who grew up in a chaotic, dramatic home may be uncomfortable with harmony and quiet and always seem to trigger chaos or drama in their relationships.
Also, as adults, our fantasy is that we will find a person who will finally give us the love we never got as children. If we can’t get the love from our original parent or caretaker, the next best thing is to get the love from someone who has a very similar personality to the person we originally feel wounded by.
We’ll generally feel a lot of attraction, chemistry and intensity in our love with such adult partners, due to the interlocking nature of our emotional baggage.
But what we may not realize though, is that this person that we fall in love has the perfect tools and personality to emotionally re-create our childhood hurts.
After the initial infatuation wears off and we are in a deeper, committed relationship, their fears (and ours) often get activated. And when they get afraid, they will strike out in exactly the same way that our parents or caretakers did.
The result? We get wounded again. Only now it’s worse, because the very person who we hoped could give us the love we never got, is hurting us. Not because they ‘love us most of all’, but because they are unaware of their own unconscious defenses.
2) We lack the knowledge and skills of how to communicate our feelings constructively – many people may realize how they hurt their partners, and feel like they want to change that behavior, but simply not know how to change, or how to communicate what they are feeling in a constructive manner.
Our culture does very little to teach us how to relate to our own feelings, and how to communicate those feelings to others in a safe, healthy way. Men especially may feel uncomfortable dealing with feelings of fear or vulnerability and may feel safer expressing anger or control when they are really scared.
So what can we do to stop hurting the one we love? We all have to take responsibility for getting clear and resolving our own emotional hurts from the past. We need to learn how to make it safe for our partners to express how they feel. We need to learn how to create a loving presence where we genuinely listen and validate our partners’ experience.
We need to learn how to express feelings in ways that bring us closer, not in ways that create more distance and hurt. We may need to do some work together to understand how and why we trigger each other to lash out in hurtful and destructive ways.
We need to respect the fact that in an intimate committed relationship, we have access to the most private and vulnerable aspects of each other’s lives. We need to treat that as a sacred privilege that we relate to with the utmost respect, not as an entitlement to trample upon for our own ego gratification.
We are all on a journey of awakening, and intimate relationships provide us with a powerful opportunity to see ourselves and our psychological and spiritual lessons more clearly.
We can hide from ourselves, from our therapists, from our bodies, from our spiritual teachers and from our friends, but we cannot hide from the one we love and who loves us. All of our stuff will eventually come to light through this mysterious and wonderful process we call love. And when it does, we can choose to defend, judge, attack and run away.
Or we can choose to be present, to look inside with acceptance and love for ourselves, and to feel gratitude that this aspect of ourselves has revealed itself.
Then can we clearly see that any part of ourselves that hurts others is simply a part of ourselves that needs more love. From this perspective, we hurt the one we love so that we can learn to love ourselves and others more unconditionally, more deeply, and more completely.
And by loving and healing ourselves, we ultimately heal our partners’ wounds as well, because we make it safer for them to fully be who they are, and to experience the deeper Oneness and magic that only love can bring to our lives.
Some Reasons Why The People Who Love Us Hurt Us The Most
We may have gone over this thought in our head every time we had that break up. Every time our friend crushed us by back stabbing. Every time we forgave our jilted lover only to be cheated again.
So many times yet we learn nothing. Why? Because we never have a Dialogue with ourselves Asking WHY does someone who love Us hurt us?
Let’s go back to when we were young, vibrant and waiting to experience Life. We made that One Best Friend who we thought will love us through thick and thin.
And then, One fine day something happens and Snap – your Friendship is Over. You don’t know what you might have said or done that could be so agonising that years built on trust, faith and innocence took only a second to break. You were the same Best friend who had always been there no matter what. Then, what changed?Nothing. Period.
All the while you thought that the foundation of your friendship was being built and this was the best friend you could fall back on – you were in fact, falling in the scheme of things. Someone who his/her parents loved,
someone who would always be there to help with the homework, someone who would always give a listening ear, someone who was adored by the boyfriend/girlfriend, and lastly someone who Always kept the SECRETS.
Always. So, either one day or gradually, your BF figured that you were no longer falling in the scheme of things, it was time to Move on. Without a word.
It may not seem a real reason but when you analyse your situation and look deeper, you surprisingly have the answers you never thought of. If your best friend had lost his/her parents while it was still time to hit the playground with Dad or accompany Mom to the grocery store – you can think ahead and assess that THAT was not a normal childhood.
Given such circumstances, either your best friend had to shoulder a lot of responsibilities from a young age only to become a serious & mature person before time or didn’t care a damn about anything or anyone.
So, we come back to the same point – that while you thought you were undeniably the bestest of people this person has met, You were merely a source of joy. What your best friend had seen, toughened him/her up up to the point of either being Unbreakable or Breaking at the drop of a hat. Either case, you suffer the Aftermath.
Love from the opposite sex. Unconditional, Passionate and Sizzling LOVE. For as long as you’ve known, everyone falls in and out of Love. Its time you experience it too.
So, you meet someone you’re attracted to, start dating, fall in Love and are crazy about each other. And then one day, you get to know that your lover Cheated on you. You ask yourself all sorts of questions like Why me? Was I a sucker in bed? Was I bad looking? Yet, you don’t Ask yourself the real reasons.
Real reasons like the above ones. Real reasons like the below ones:
You’ve just met this person and you are already dreaming of marrying him/her. You jump the gun, try everything to impress this person and when you’re cheated on – you feel miserable. Look back at the start and you know that your expectations right from the beginning were unrealistic.
When it was time to take it slow, you kept craving and begging for more. When it was time to understand what he/she is saying, you were building love castles in the air. When it was time to step back a little, you were suffocating this person with Love.Love.Love.
And then before you know it – you received a smack in the face when he/she went around to have some fun. C’mon! What were you thinking?
More often than not, when you find THE ONE, your world revolves around this person. Little do you realise that this person eventually feels like he/she is going out with a finer version of the self. You think by doing this, you display the Ultimate selflessness and beat Romeo & Juliet at Love. But, think about it.
Would you love someone who had no Identity except for Being Mr. X’s Love/Ms. X’s love? No. Being individualistic, strong, independent and opinionated makes you desirable. Not frolicking around your Love as if you are a Pet.
Whether it’s your BF or lover- you have got to communicate your feelings. When we open the door of a dialogue – we open our hearts. Carrying the burden of unspoken words can take a toll on you.
Instead of always telling this person you love them – why, how, always will and so on..Tell this person what you feel. Feel when you are rejected. Feel about your ambitions. Feel about your environment
It is amazing to see how friendships and Love can be unsurmountable only by letting your feelings out. But, we rarely do this. So when we are close to that break up – we bleed from inside but still don’t say how we feel.
Next time when you are hurting from a break up, think about these reasons rather than – Why me? Here is the powerful opportunity for you see your past relationships in a different light. Dont give up. Take the cue and move forward. To new Best friends. To New Love
M I Ro