When He Says Something Mean, Try These 3 Things
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
It's almost inevitable. At some point or another, people that are very close can end up saying things that hurt each other's feelings. This is especially true in long term relationships and marriages. Sometimes it may be by accident, sometimes it may come in the form of a not-so-well disguised criticism, and sometimes it may be a flat out low blow out of spite. Being on the receiving end of your husband’s criticisms, distasteful jokes, harsh tone of voice, or mean-spirited words is extremely painful. This is the man who swore to love and protect you after all. If you find yourself here, try these 3 things. There may just be an opportunity for restored connection.
When my husband says something I don’t like, my first instinct is usually to get defensive. I want to stand up for myself, of course! The downside is it can be a slippery slope leading to a fight or cold war. One thing I’ve found is that beneath my defensiveness and anger is always hurt. Admitting my hurt is much more difficult and vulnerable than being reactive and defensive. Exposing my softer side, especially after being dealt a low verbal blow seems totally counter-intuitive and crazy. It is a risk. But it also can be an opportunity for intimacy.
Is There a Heart Message?
I can think of countless times I have said something hurtful to people I love. Most of the time, there were words hidden deep underneath that I was incapable of expressing in a kinder way just then- when I was not my best self. Then before I knew it, my angry attacks spurted out in a way I would later regret. My mean words reflected more how I felt about myself than the person I was saying them to.
Those deep, unexpressed words are the heart message. For example, when I snapped at my husband that the “place is a dump, why am I the only one that ever cleans”, what I really meant to say (my heart message) was that I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and that I would love some order around me. The difference is that the first is a hurtful criticism while the second is a vulnerable plea for help. I appreciate when my husband can see past my terse words and straight to my heart message. The grace he has extended to me in those moments is my biggest reminder of the woman I want to be. Of course in this example, I am the mean one.
Could there be a deeply buried heart message hidden in your husband’s mean words?
Soothe Your Spirit
Being kind to yourself everyday is essential. This is never more true than when you are feeling lonely and sad. So be your own light in darkness. What can you do to bring yourself some joy? Do you read, paint, pray, exercise, or have friends you love to see? Whatever it is that brings warmth to your heart- now is the time to indulge more than ever. If your mind is going blank and you don’t have a “go-to” way to soothe your spirit, then it is time to figure it out! What did you used to enjoy years ago when you had more time? What's a hobby you always said you would try? Grab a pen and paper and write anything that comes to mind that sounds fun, calming, and loving to you.
I am sending you a big hug along with these written words.
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Standing for you always,