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"When Someone's Behavior Affects Me, What Can I Do?"

By Dr. Margaret Paul
March 09, 2015

When someone's behavior is affecting you, what can you do, other than blame them?

We Are Not Separate

Some authors suggest that, when we are healthy enough, we will not be affected by others' unloving verbal behavior. We will rise above it and not take their words personally – that "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."

I strongly disagree.

Of course we are affected by others. Even a mean look can shoot through you like a poison dart. This is because on the soul level, we are not separate. On the soul level, we are One.

A helpful analogy is your body. If you hurt one cell of your body, it affects your whole body. Think of each cell in your body as a person; all the cells together that make up your body are like all of us who make up Spirit. We are each a part of a giant puzzle that makes up Spirit. If one piece of the puzzle is missing or damaged, this affects all the other pieces.

When someone is unloving, their unloving energy is felt in our heart. Our heart hurts and if we are conscious of this hurt – rather than getting angry and blaming, we may feel lonely, heartbroken and helpless over the other person being unloving. Just as it's very sad when one cell harms other cells, as in cancer, it's very sad when one person harms another person – either physically or emotionally. 

What To Do?

What do you do when you are emotionally hurt by another? If your intent is to control, then you might blame them by getting angry at them, or lecturing them, or telling them your feelings with the implication that they need to change for you to be okay.

What happens when you do this?

Do you end up feeling even more hurt by their reaction? Does the conflict spiral deeper and get worse? Does anything get resolved?

What Else Can You Do?

When your intent is to take responsibility for your feelings and to love yourself, you can do one of two things:

  • You can state your feelings and move into an intent to learn with the other person to try to understand what is going on.
  • If they are not open to learning with you, you can state your feelings and then lovingly disengage, taking your inner child out of range of the hurtful behavior.

If you disengage, then you can do an Inner Bonding process. If you feel angry or scared, you can explore what you are telling yourself and how you are treating yourself that is causing these feelings.

If you are feeling lonely, heartbroken and/or helpless over them, be very compassionate with yourself as you receive the information that this isn't about you – that this person being hurtful has nothing to do with you, and you need to take loving care of yourself in the face of it.

While we can't control others' unloving behavior, we do have control over whether we ignore our painful feelings, or judge ourselves, or give ourselves up, or get angry and blame them - or take loving care of our hurt. If you tell yourself that you shouldn't be so affected by their behavior, that if you were healthier their behavior wouldn't hurt you, you will end up feeling even worse.

My heart hurts even when I witness someone being mean to someone else. I feel very sad when I see a human being hurting another living thing… because we are all One.

Just as we can't harm a cell of our body without harming the rest of our body, we cannot hurt another without hurting ourselves. If everyone knew this, we would have a very different world.


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