Counter Attacks

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When I feel hurt by something my partner says or does or does not do, I want to be alert as  to how I respond.  Too often in the past, I found myself wanting to counter-attack, to  hurt him back.

I can be quite subtle in how I choose to hurt him; so subtle, in fact, that I can easily deceive myself.  For example, I may ask a seemingly harmless question, such as, “Are you sure you want to do that that way?”  Or, I may lapse into a stone cold silence without even being aware that I’m really wanting to shut him out.  Or I can give him a leaf-curling look with intent to wilt even the strongest psyche.  Another favorite attack is the disapproving sigh.

These subtle attacks can be harder for me to detect than overt words of attack, such as name-calling, slamming doors, and other tactics. There are many ways to attack another.  Knowing my individual styles is important to catching myself so I can choose a healthier response.

Attacking my partner may give me a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but it will leave scars on our relationship that can take time to heal. Is this what I really want? And, do I really want to hurt him?

Of course, looking at my response doesn’t mean I ignore the fact that I feel hurt.  It’s important to acknowledge my feelings.  However, responding from a place of anger without addressing it in a healthy way first can lead to destructive results in our  relationship.  It may require a period of waiting until both my spouse and I are calmer.  Speaking calmly and directly about my feelings without resorting to covert actions can bring happier results.  It is not what happens to me, but how I respond that is important in keeping our relationship happy.

How do I respond when I am hurt?

 

Written October 15, 2010

 

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