80% of women use silence to express hurt (anger/pain). You know she’s truly hurt (anger/in pain) when she chooses to ignore you. (OR STUFFS IT DOWN!)
I saw this quote on social media, and it hit me. I wasn’t able to find the origin, but it rings true. In fact, the number may be higher. What I have found is an event can seem not even close in scale but inflicts the same measure of pain depending on the individual. But because the perceived scale is out of balance, she disregards the pain and stuffs it down.
I used to internalize and medicate my hurt and pain away. If I were hurt, I would instantly transform it into anger which felt more powerful. So, when I got mad (hurt) especially at someone close to me such as my spouse, sister, friend, or boss, I would dumb it down with alcohol and reason; it doesn’t matter; it’s not that big of a deal; they don’t care anyway. And one of the most common stuff down comments I hear, “It won’t change anything.” How the hell would you know?
I’ve learned this is like swallowing poison. It may be that it doesn’t matter. How you can tell if it doesn’t matter is if you can truly let it go and never speak of it again – to anyone! That means no talking about it to someone else. If it bothers you enough to talk about it (other than a coach or counselor), then you probably need to work through it to really let it go. I’ll share some of the ways I handle hurt and pain healthfully.
Now, when I am angry, I pause to process.
What am I feeling? Hurt, scared, insecure
Identify the charge? Betrayed, lied to, disrespected
And how can I have peace (not always easy)? Have a complicated conversation, end a relationship
For instance, when my husband does something that pisses me off (hurts me) I will do one of two things depending on the level of pissedness I am. If I’m pissed, but still calm enough and able to think rationally, I can usually admit that I am hurt (not angry). Next, I will identify the charge – was I offended, insulted, or felt disrespected. Then I speak the truth, “Hey, that didn’t feel good. Is that what you meant?” What I know for sure is my husband loves me and doesn’t want to hurt me. But we are human, and we say things in the heat of the moment. When I respond in this manner, it’s like the grip of anger releases, and we can get to what’s really going on.
Grace always wins the day!
Now if I’m steaming mad I will remove myself from the situation and have several scenarios of conversation with myself usually dropping a lot if F-bombs. But this way I get to say, think and feel everything I want without massive destruction. Face it gals, we can cut deep with our words, and that’s never good. Grace always wins the day. And I usually find I can see things clearer once I’ve been removed. But this takes being real grown up and being honest instead of right.
Which brings me to my final point – learn to get clear about what you want from this event. Do you want to be right, understood, respected, loved, or feel cared for? Or do you want to hurt, embarrass, or disrespect them? What’s the motivation for how you respond?
Whatever you do don’t stuff down the hurt and anger and think it simply goes away. Unresolved hurt (anger) seethes inside and changes you. The more you ignore it, drink it away, the more alcohol you’re going to need. It’s a cycle that took me twenty years to identify and break. I don’t know what came first the hurt, anger, pain or the alcohol. I do know they fed each other. The more pain, the more alcohol; the more alcohol, the more painful choices and consequences; the more pain, the more alcohol to soothe.
Take charge of your hurt. Identify it as such and not simply anger. Speak the truth, “I hurt, and this is why.” Get clear about what will give you peace around it. Don’t numb it out or dumb it down with alcohol. When you do, you are fermenting the rage inside.
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Teresa Rodden is the founder and owner of Pink Cloud Coaching, Author of Wholly Sober, creator of 28 Day Resolve, and of several woman based groups and organizations that recognize the unique needs and challenges of women.
She’s passionate about helping women identify their personal power and break the need to misuse life-sucking vices robbing women of their one and only precious life experience. Living Wholly Sober is not recovery! Click here to talk.