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Dealing With Love Hurts: Shared And Unshared Pain

Know that there is great value and importance in sharing your love related hurts.  When you share any of your feelings you share an important part of yourself.  This is especially true of anything that involves your hurt, and also your joy.  When hurt is shared the people in a relationship can join together to work against the harm that the hurt is trying to lead you away from.  (Remember, hurt’s purpose is to help you avoid harm – see blog entry “Dealing with Love Hurts: Pain’s Crucial Guidance”).

Hurt shared also can lead to stronger, more loving, intimate connection, thus, strengthening a love relationship.  Hurt handled alone usually takes longer to get past and may be unnecessarily worse.  Shared hurt has cathartic or ‘venting’ value and with the right loving people gives you a chance to replace it with an input of love.

Too many people try to hide their love relationship hurt and handle it secretly on their own.  Of course, it can be satisfying and individually strengthening to know that you handled it on your own.  However, that may not do much for your relationships and it may be harder to deal with on your own.  Lots of people want to tough it out and avoid the shame or embarrassment of failing at love, or be seen as weak and love-needy.  Toughing it out can be done but it’s ever so much slower, and often less curative of love hurts than when they are shared with caring others.

Sharing your hurt with friends and family, carrying counselors, clerics, therapists and helping professionals of many types, along with one’s higher power all can be marvelously assistive.  It’s important to know that frequently it is not so much their advice but the receiving of a sense of loving care coming your way that makes the difference.  Loving listening (see blog entry “Listening with Love”) can be the great healing medicine for love related hurt.  This is especially true when hurt is intense.  Knowledge and suggestions, however, can come more and more into play as the hurt reduces.  That’s where counselors, therapists and the lore master’s of love can be ever so helpful in assisting you not to repeat the actions that lead to love related hurt and to possible harm.

So, if you’re hurting because of a love relationship situation going poorly, or badly, or one that is over, think about who are you going to share your hurt with.  Probably it will be whoever you feel closest to.  Perhaps you will hear a message in your head that you don’t want to burden anyone with your hurts.  If that’s the case be sure to offer to do the same caring listening for whomever you share your hurt with if they are hurting some day.  I’m prejudiced but I like to suggest that the very best person to share your pain with maybe an empathetic, love-wise counselor or therapist.  That way you also probably can learn what you need to learn from the hurt.  A very love-centered cleric, teacher, physician or other helping professional, and those wise people who do seem to know more about love also may do quite well.

When you share your love related hurt with someone that you see as the cause of your hurt there are special things to be aware of and special things to do.  First, be aware that a person you think has caused your hurt is likely to hear what you are saying as an attack, full of blame and accusation.  They then may respond with defensiveness which will come across to you as offensive.  A fight may then erupt.  You may be able to avoid all that by starting your statements with “I feel…”, “I’m experiencing…”, “I want…” and other “I” statements instead of “You did…”, “You should have…”, “You should not have…” and other “you” statements”.

Also avoiding angry blaming looks and sounds helps sharing a love hurt to go better.  You also likely would do well to acknowledge that you probably helped or played a part in the causation of your hurt.  The way you caught, interpreted, perhaps misunderstood, and otherwise processed what the person you’re talking to said or did possibly has as much to do with your hurt as does the actions or words of the other person.  Here’s another thing to be aware of.  As you share your hurt the person you are talking to may feel guilty, inadequate, unworthy and in other ways simply bad.  None of that may help them help you with your hurt.

To get the help you want from them you may have to ask them exactly for what you want.  Do you want to ‘blow off steam’ and have them just listen with care?  Do you want a hug?  Do you want them to express empathy that you hurt?  Whatever it is, its best if you ask them clearly.  Otherwise you may not get what you desire to help with your hurt.  It usually helps a lot to say something like “I just want you to listen to me express my hurt, and I want you to show me you really care that I hurt by saying you care, and give me a hug, and not do anything else, like give me advice.  And I don’t want you to have any problems with what I’m saying if you can – OK?”.  Sharing your hurt with someone who helped create the hurt, when done well, can lead to improved loving, a closer relationship, better understanding, and an avoidance of similar hurts in the future.

The trick, of course, is doing it well.  It is important not to think a loved one who helped create your hurt will know what to do to help you get over the hurt.  It’s your hurt, you own it, and you are the one most likely to know what to do to make it better, while you’re loved one just may be confused.  It’s a mistake to think that because they love you they’ll know what to do.  So, at least guess what will help you and then request that as clearly as you can.  If you completely don’t know what will help either try saying something like “Give me a break until I figure it out” or “I want to see a caring look on your face, hear caring sounds and words, and feel loving, caring touch” because those things usually do help soothe love related hurts and help them diminish.

As always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question If and when you are baffled or overwhelmed by your hurt in a difficult love relationship situation how easy is it for you to share your hurt and seek help from the loved one(s) involved in the situation, or a friend, family member, or helping professional?

Dealing With Love Hurts Series
Dealing with Love Hurts: A Dozen Love Hurts to Know and Grow From
Dealing With Love Hurts: First Aid Tips
Dealing With Love Hurts: Pain's Crucial Guidance
Dealing With Love Hurts: Shared And Unshared Pain

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