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Are You and Your Partner Hurting Each Other?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
March 07, 2011

You and your partner might be hurting each other without realizing how and why you are doing this.

Are you aware of how you may be hurting your partner?

Are you aware of how your partner may be hurting you?

Are you aware of the painful feelings of loneliness, heartache and heartbreak you likely feel when you are disconnected from your loved one and unable to share love?

The sharing of love is the most wonderful experience in life. You connect and share love when you are open hearted with your partner - kind, caring, gentle, tender, understanding and compassionate. You connect and share love when you are open to learning - listening well and caring about your own and your partner's feelings, even if your partner is upset about how you might have hurt him or her.

Do you Care About Hurting your Partner? Does your Partner Care About Hurting you?

In close relationships, we are very sensitive to each other's energy. Closed, protective, controlling energy - energy that is harsh, dismissive, defensive, resistant, shut down, judgmental, blaming or angry - creates a disconnection between partners. So does complaining and being a victim. While you might cover up the pain of the loneliness and heartache of this disconnection with your own closed, protective, controlling energy, inside you are hurting and not attending to your pain.

When you haven't learned to compassionately connect with your own painful feelings relative to your partner's disconnected energy, and attend to your loneliness and heartache with deep kindness and tenderness, you will have a hard time caring about your partner's hurt. You want your partner to care about how he or she is hurting you, and your partner wants the same thing, but if neither of you are caring about yourselves, then it is likely that you are not caring about each other either. When you disconnect from yourself by closing down from feeling your loneliness and heartache, and your partner does the same, there is no way of connecting with each other. You have created a disconnected protective circle where both of you are hurting.

Healing the Disconnection

The beginning of healing this disconnection is to be willing to feel your loneliness and heartache with compassion toward yourself. This awareness about your own feelings will enable you to gently speak up to your partner, saying something like, "What you are saying right now is hurting me," or "Your judgmental tone is hurtful to me." When you can gently tell your partner what he or she is doing that is hurtful to you, and your partner can do the same, you can each learn much about yourselves and each other.

When you react with anger, judgment or withdrawal, your partner may not know what he or she did or said that was hurtful to you. Most of us are not very aware of our own protective controlling behavior, but when you are open to learning about it with your partner, you can learn much that will bring you closer to each other.

Relationships are fertile ground for learning about ourselves - about our unloving behavior that creates the very disconnection we don't want, and about the loving behavior that brings aliveness, joy and passion to our relationship. The key here is to stay open to learning with yourself and your partner about your feelings and behavior. By staying open to learning about your painful feelings and your partner's feelings, you can both learn to be kinder, gentler, more connected and more loving with each other.

Isn't this what we all want - the sweet tender moments and the alive passionate moments that occur when we are loving and connected with each other? You will be able to have more and more of these moments as you learn how to take loving care of your own feelings so that you don't disconnect from your partner with your protective, controlling behavior.


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