“If you don’t heal what hurt you,
you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you” – unknown
If we are lucky enough to recognise the events that caused pain in childhood we can work through the issues. This prevents that pattern from being played out in our adult relationships.
But often, the first indicator of this long-held wound, is when a relationship goes wrong and we either experience distress or cause it to the people we are supposed to care about.
Hurt People Hurt People
When my marriage ended 10 years ago, I spent so much time in suffering. I couldn’t understand how my ex-husband could have treated me with so little care and love; how had I come to be betrayed and abandoned.
It was when I began to recognise that “hurt people hurt people” that I relieved myself of being responsible or a victim. I realised that he had numerous unhealed wounds which caused him to do what he did but I wasn’t excusing what happened. Instead, I chose to understand how people who don’t have a deep sense of love for themselves, can blindly cause terrible damage to those they get close to.
My part in this dynamic became clearer too. I had unhealed wounds, which brought me into adulthood desperately needing to give love and have it reciprocated. I ignored red flags and put up with unacceptable behaviour because I did not have a deep enough sense of my own self-worth. Instead of longing for that love from my partner, I really needed to be able to give it to myself.
So, my divorce became a huge lesson. This new awareness led to a process of healing and change. Now I am a person capable of giving immense love, but never again at the expense of myself. I know that I will not accept half-love or wounded love. I only want a relationship where someone loves themselves enough to be able to happily receive the healthy love I am offering.
When you recognise and start to heal the emotional baggage, you no longer cause or accept hurt in your relationships.
Recognising Common Symptoms Of Wounds
Wounded partners need the other person to be a certain way in order to love them.
Healed partners accept the other unconditionally.
Wounded partners over-give to be loved.
Healed partners will only accept a balance of giving and receiving.
Wounded partners struggle to find meaning in their lives and expect the other person to fill that role.
Healed partners have their own sense of inner purpose.
Wounded partners will withdraw love (or stop feeling love) for the other person when external circumstances change or become challenging.
Healed partners will continue to offer love, even when life is difficult.
Wounded partners will stop accepting (or begin to reject) the love from the other person, because they can’t feel it or don’t think they deserve it.
Healed partners believe themselves worthy of the love that is being offered and accept it happily.
Some of the behaviours of wounded partners are so common that they might seem almost a normal part of relationships – but they aren’t. If your marriage contained a lot of these characteristics, you’ll see why remaining together could never be for your highest good.
It’s not necessary to have everything ticked in the “healed partners” category, to create a strong relationship. Awareness of the wounds and a willingness to work on them together can be enough. But a break-up (or a deeply unhappy relationship) becomes inevitable when there is either lack of acknowledgment or an unwillingness to work through the issues.
But it’s over. What’s the point of going through this now?
When you recognise the hurt from your more distant past, you can work out what the impact has been. This learning is where you will change and grow!
What are your wounds? They need not have been hugely traumatic events from childhood though, sadly, they might be. Sometimes it can be a feeling of not being seen, acknowledged or loved in the way we wanted by our parents. Wounds could be caused by an early rejection from peers, or not being seen for our full potential by teachers or other significant adults.
What were your ex-partners wounds? Remember, you are not trying to focus on them or “fix” their issues, but awareness can help you understand the dynamic and your own patterns.
Whatever these wounds are, don’t underestimate the impact of how they shaped you, because this in turn will affect the version of yourselves that you brought into your marriage.
After the intense grief of the break-up, you have a perfect opportunity for exploration and healing your own past issues. You should do this, not to cause yourself pain and regret; not to try to fix the past (because you can’t) but in order to be aware of what needs healing and changing.
You may be happy to do this alone. If the issues are deeper, you may even need the support of a therapist. But when you are willing to break the patterns of the past, you can finally start to show up for yourself as who you truly are – a human being capable of huge love and connection.
With love and support,
Are You Ready to Change How You Feel?
“This book helped me see my divorce in a new way”