Once more, with feeling...

by Maxime Durocher, September 22, 2013

Why is it that when we have feelings for somebody, we get hurt so easily by their words and actions and instead of reacting cooly, we let our emotions take over? Two years ago, that fucking habit led me to screw up my relationships.

In my mind, it’s quite easy when a friend lashes out at me to take it stoically, breathe deeply, and reply calmly. When a lover of mine emails me something hurtful, not even intentionally and without any insults, I get hurt and slip into the conversation. I recently couldn’t help myself, even though I was able at some point to extricate myself out of it and avoid staying there for long.

It seems that once your attachment for somebody goes over a certain invisible line that we might call love, you can more easily get hurt and it scrambles the logical part of your brain. It’s like a hook in your heart that you don’t feel until it gets jerked, and even slightest of movement makes you feel the barbs.

Ignoring the emotional barbs is very much akin to ignoring physical ones. It takes concentration, endurance, and experience.

The trick is not to get into the conversation, or try to minimize the import of your lover’s words with some of your own, and certainly not to try to justify yourself, the worst of sins. Then what can we do?

If you get into the conversation, you’ll end up in an argument, and feelings are going to get hurt bad. If you try to minimize your lover’s words, you’re insulting her. Even if her statements appear false to you, her feelings are true, and by denying her words, you’re denying her feelings. If you justify yourself, you’re actually saying that what she’s piling on top of you is true and that you are a miscreant. How can she love and respect you after that?

What I’ve been able to do, so far, at best, is to accept the blame, without apologizing (because you’d get into the conversation if you did and just make things worst), and let it die on it’s own. Let me tell you that when I do that, it feels like crap, but it makes the other party feel better if not happier. If the misunderstanding is big enough, it leads to a breakup and heartache.

You’re lost aren’t you?

Let me tell you what I think is the best way to proceed. I’ve been able to do it from time to time, but it’s a very elusive goal. The closer you are to that person, or the more hurtful the words, the more difficult it is to implement.

If your lover comes at you and hurt you, the conversation is not about the litigious items, it’s about feelings. What you need to do, is ask questions, to find a few key things. What are the feelings? Why did they spring up? What is the root cause? Get your lover to talk about it all, go behind the scene and understand what are those accusations hiding.

You left the keys in the wrong place and you’re being accused of not caring. Maybe your lover is feeling overwhelmed and losing control of her life… You’ll be surprised by what you find. When you do, you’ll be able to better understand yourself, your partner, and the relationship you share.

Is it easy? Hell no. Can it be done? Sure.

I know I still have to practice this, and probably will be doing so until the day I die, but I will not give up.

What about you? How do you view these events? When was the last time you couldn’t extricate yourself from a conversation? What mental gymnastic do you use to help you through these difficult events?