Posted on February 22, 2013 | No Comments
by Linda Herman, LMHC
I hear this question with some frequency in my office. A woman may say that to her husband, or a child may say the same thing to his parent. Once uttered, conversations sometimes come to a halt. A feeling has been hurt; now what? For some, that rises to the level of a major offense.
In today’s culture, feelings have become front and center in the national dialogue. It seems that it is no longer okay to be offended or uncomfortable. This attitude is not healthy. If we are restricted in our communication to only saying what won’t “make someone uncomfortable”, then true communication is not occurring.
One of our tasks as parents is to help our children cope with what life dishes out to them. That includes handling the minor affronts that inevitably come in relationships with friends, siblings, and even Mom and Dad. It will be crippling to children to see themselves as victims every time their feelings are hurt.
Let’s teach children (and remind ourselves) that sometimes they (and we) are going to be uncomfortable. We can do that by acknowledging their feelings, and then helping them move forward. In our adult relationships, we can consider the validity of the comment made by the other person. If it is someone with whom we are close, perhaps he may have our best interest at heart. Or, he just may be angry because his feelings were hurt.
If you are invested emotionally in the relationship, don’t let the conversation stop. Talk with the person to understand what is going on. (Do, however, distinguish between minor affronts and verbal abuse. The latter is never okay and requires a different approach.)
And a final note: if you have any negative comments about this piece, please keep them to yourself. Don’t hurt my feelings.