Why Do We Hurt The Ones We Love?

Veera is a published Author (‘Endured’ and ‘#LoveBitesLifeHacks’) and Columnist; a passionate Educator and Counsellor; Poet and Philosopher… but most of all, a lover of all things literary. 

An age-old question we’ve all often asked ourselves – why do we hurt the people we love the most? It’s uncanny how we operate on various levels of inflicting and receiving hurt, with most cases defying simple logic. Our relationships are often formed over years of intimacy and trust. Yet, it’s always the closest and most intimate relationships with spouses, family and close friends which get most inflicted with pain on both sides. Whether the aggression meted out is direct or passive, it usually boils down to some form of betrayal.

Most often, betrayal in intimate relationships occurs when a partner lies, cheats, chronically criticises, stonewalls, yells or abuses the other. Each act violates the implicit trust and love you had placed on the other person. There is no excuse good enough for it to happen repeatedly. It’s sort of hard to believe that it’s such a common phenomenon. We are all flawed creatures, reacting out of impulsive emotions. It’s a vent or an emotional release from pent up frustrations that may have little or nothing to do with you.

Truth is – life and relationships are hardly ever simple or neatly tied. Sometimes we have a choice to behave better or restrain ourselves, other times, a situation may just get so out of hand and overwhelming that one cannot but act from a place of primal emotion. You could be hurt, afraid or just angry, firing off on all cylinders at the people you love because they’re the closest and therefore, most taken for granted. We tend to let our guard down with them and so, invariably, they get the lion’s share of those unfiltered emotions and reactions. In instances like these, you need to check your emotional intelligence and conflict resolution tactics. Observe your own emotional state and get yourself to a point where you are not unfairly lashing out at your loved ones.

To keep our relationships healthy, we need to keep our conflicts healthy too. To do that, we need to assess some of the reasons for our patterns

Associating Conflict With Love… Many relationships misperceive conflict as love. They view it as a healthy expression of love, especially when one has grown up in a home where abuse and conflict was commonplace. They use conflict to demonstrate where their boundaries are and how they are enforced. To an extent, conflict is healthy in any relationship but the act of arguing or fighting with a loved one as a way of demonstrating passion or care about the person to engage in conflict with them, is a wrong stretch.

Getting ‘Too’ Comfortable: When you meet new people, you generally tend to introduce the most polished version of yourself. You want people to be perceived as affable and sociable. We tend to downplay our negative aspects. No one wants their shortcoming flaunted for all to see. Its only when a level of comfort is reached’, that invariably the mask slips. Once you find it easier to express yourself, those boundaries tend to blur. You no longer feel the need to avoid arguments or stifle your genuine sentiments about a situation. If there is a hot button issue you disagree on, you generally tend to succumb to anger and spew words at your loved one, causing irretrievable damage to the relationship. Apologising later can only go so far. Developing mindfulness is an excellent way to sustain a relationship, rather than resorting to repair it.

Tendency To Protect And Retaliate… In intimate relationships, there’s is a tendency to protect and retaliate. To gain control, as protection or reciprocation, is pretty normal. Alternatively, we may hurt the other because they hurt us first, so we can regain our sense of control by reciprocating the hurt and getting even, through retaliation. If this happens to become part of an established dynamic in your relationship, it will morph into a toxic pattern and further nurture the mental and emotional abuse. Violating deeper values, disrespecting boundaries and being uncaring towards the emotional well-being of your loved one -all lead to a detrimental slide in any relationship.

Passion And Pain… Whether we accept it or not, there’s an undeniable link between Passion and Pain -across all areas in life. Man is nothing if not a creature of deep passion and feelings. The greater the love or connect, the higher the expectations… thus leading to heightened disappointment, disillusionments and let-downs. The more intense the passion, far worse and deeper is the pain.

Resolve now to stop hurting the ones you love the most! Practice sensitivity and vulnerability in all your relationships. While you need to feel safe, secure and loved, remember at all times, the feeling is mutual. Try to be the safe haven or shore where your loved one has the confidence to park and port. Practise empathy in every situation and relationship. Use your energy to connect with your partner and develop a sense of self-worth. Stop trying to prioritise your fears or insecurities over your partner’s happiness. Stop trying to destroy your partners confidence, lift them up, instead. Their confidence and achievements may surprise you as well and have you standing ten feet taller. Remember, when you hurt the one you love, you land up hurting yourself as well.

It is ironic, isn’t it, that we invariably ignore the ones who adore us, adore the ones who ignore us, love the ones who hurt us and hurt the ones who love us!

Veera Shroff Sanjana
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