Why Do We Say Hurtful Things to the Ones That We Love? | anger | Blog | Better Marriages | Educating Couples - Building Relationships

Why Do We Say Hurtful Things to the Ones That We Love?

by Perky Parkie

I tried to find a way to sugarcoat this title. Because for me, this one sentence, brings a flash of all the hurtful things that people have said to me, and all the whoppers that I’ve shot back… (Hey, I never said I was perfect! Ok, so maybe I am, but don’t hold that against me). Then I had an epiphany; there is no way to dial this sentence down, because it screams the truth.

I am standing at the line at Starbuck’s. A gingerbread latte is calling my name and I am not one just to ignore its requests.   In front of me, I notice a couple that is reviewing the menu selection. I can hear the woman saying, “Just pick a drink!” The man snaps back, “I am, can I have a minute to make up my own mind?” And with that, he mumbles something under his breath. I look back to the woman who is standing with her arms crossed, tapping her foot.

A minute later a chipper blonde girl, wearing an apron bounces up to the counter and says, “Hi, are you two ready to order?” The woman rolls her eyes and replies, “Well I am.” After placing her coffee order, she turns her back to the man, and starts a conversation with the barista about the status of her Christmas shopping. She is laughing and smiling with a stranger, but had her back turned to her partner. This is happening everyday, all around us. We show more kindness to the stranger behind the counter than we do to our loved ones.

Why is this? Is this due to our belief that they will always be there for us? Always forgiving our hurtful emissions? Or maybe we blame others for our unhappiness. “If he would only do what I want him to do, I would be happy.” Then again, it might be our reaction to the hurt or anger we are experiencing internally. “If only they could hurt like I do, they would realize their actions and change.”   Or it could just be as simple as, we are comfortable enough with our loved ones that we can let our guard down and show who we really are… the raw, unfiltered self.

Sometimes we take each other for granted and expect the other person to forgive and forget that we are behaving like a jackass. But when do we need to stop and hold ourselves accountable for our actions? Superficial conversations with those behind the counter are going on all around us, but those don’t matter. It is how we treat our families and our friends that defines us as a person. So maybe if we could slow down and realize that even though they are just words, those hurtful comments can cause damage that even time can’t erase.