Have you ever been hurt, no crushed, emotionally? If I had to guess, it was “by the one person that you never expected.” Or a family member who has always had your back.
I want to talk to you about how to let the situation go, and how to begin rebuilding trust. These are skills that we all need!
There are a couple key points to know:
1 - "To rebuild trust, it takes time with no incidents."
2 - Guilt is the conduit to change behavior."
3 - There is a difference between honesty and transparency. Honesty is telling the truth when asked; transparency is sharing the truth without being asked."
4 - I won’t be able to cover everything in one post, you’ll have to come back for more. This is a HUGE topic and will be threaded throughout a lot of my posts.
Ok, let’s dive in. When someone hurts you, we react in all sorts of ways. We can distance ourselves, we can seek revenge, we can pretend it never happened, we can call a friend and overshare (which tends to make us feel even more vulnerable!), and many more! There are a lot of ways to react when someone hurts us. Some pain goes away after an apology, some hangs out for a couple months or even years. I’m addressing the latter in this post.
When you feel pain, your brain can rewire itself to actually emotionally distance yourself from those around you, especially the person that hurt you. It’s a defense mechanism and is completely normal. We appreciate this after being bitten by a snake, we’re then afraid of snakes and we’re cautious when we’re outside or in the woods. This is a good, healthy reaction. But, with people, it’s different. This is the foundation (or the root!); being aware that this can happen is really important - now we can move on.
After feeling pain, you have to manage your thoughts and your feelings to keep things in perspective. Not all situations will “forever change your life” and we can’t give them that power. My Pastor always says “choices lead, feelings follow” and I couldn’t agree more. This is what I say to myself when I really want to act like an immature child: choices lead - make the mature choice and show kindness (or keep my words to myself, ha!), and feelings follow - the angry feelings will subside and peace will come because of the decision I’ve made. This takes a lot of practice, but I tell you from experience, when you can master this, it changes your life.
Ok, if it’s been months since someone has hurt you - I would imagine you are experiencing some distance, poor communication (if any at all), and tension in this relationship. A few things have to happen. One, you must change your thought pattern. Something has to change to break the cycle, and it starts with you. If you think that person did or said it on purpose, of course you’ll distance yourself. Who wants to be near someone who intentionally hurts us? Flip the script, and consider that the person wasn’t aware of how it would make you feel, or the fact that the person thought he/she was doing what was best! This is normally the case - people usually don’t walk around hurting people on purpose (and if they do, please, please run the other direction!) - instead, they are doing what they think is best for you, for themselves or their family, or by instinct. All of these are forgivable!
Next, you have to sort out your feelings about it. This is where you truly let it go, and it’s important to spend as much time in this step as you need. Write your feelings down. Type them out. Whatever it takes to get them out of your head. It’s much easier to address this pain when the thoughts are on paper or on a note on your phone rather than being overwhelmed with the constant thoughts throughout day. I journal. I have since I was a teenager so this comes naturally to me. (Message me if you have no idea how to get started, I’ll help!) I write down exactly what I’m thinking, no matter how mean, harsh, or ugly my thoughts might be. It’s really important to get this out - otherwise it will stay bottled up and it’ll keep you stunted or trapped. Eventually, my writing changes - I become more understanding it and possible reasons why he/she could’ve made that choice. Finally, it brings me to peace because I can usually relate to something that I’ve done or a choice I’ve made to protect myself, my family, or even my opinion or belief.
Finally, you have a choice to make - is the relationship worth saving? This is key. Not all relationships should be repaired and restored. God places people in our lives for a purpose - whether that’s a season or lifetime, it’s still a purpose. Reflect on whether this is a relationship for a season or a lifetime. This will help you determine what happens next. If it’s a season, you can thank God for placing this person in your life and for the good times you’ve shared and the lessons you’ve received. Sometimes, people who are letting go of a relationship do want to write an email or have a phone call just to end on good terms. More power to you, and I can help you with that if this is speaking to you! If it’s a relationship for lifetime, you absolutely need to talk about it. How? I write down my main points, I try to keep it brief, and I focus on myself. “I was hurt when you said this…, here’s why it hurt me. I don’t blame you, but I wanted you to be aware.” This opens the door for he/she to respond - sometimes they’ll explain why they did it, or they won’t even remember doing it! The goal here is to express that you’re past it, but that the relationship is important to you to rebuild.
I do want to say - sometimes the person doesn’t apologize. You have to be ok with this. In my opinion, an apology doesn’t equal healing - it BEGINS the healing process. The true healing comes from rebuilding trust and being intentional about doing that. It could be awkward at first, no one likes being told they hurt someone or a flaw was exposed. You have to be gentle and extend grace for the first few interactions. How will you know it’s working? You’ll see changed behavior and feel that they genuinely care about you.
Making it Personal.
Most of my pain has been caused by words, but a few real winners have been by others’ actions. I allowed pain and feelings to cloud my perspective of others and myself for far too long. In the 7th grade, a friend of mine died riding a bike. She was crossing the street and she was hit by a car. She was an absolutely beautiful person, and she made everyone feel like they were the most special person on the planet. A few weeks later, we were talking about her in class and I got upset. My teacher came over and asked me why I was upset because “you two weren’t even friends.” I immediately quit crying and hid my feelings FOR YEARS. I didn’t learn how to grieve properly for another 11 years. And don’t get me wrong, I experienced loss (of people and of relationships) in those 11 years. I just handled them poorly. I want better for you.
As I said, there are many times that I’ve experienced this, both as the one hurt, and the one who did the hurting. In either situation, it takes some maturing as you have to admit mistakes that have hurt others and refuse to let shame in. Or you have to learn to let go of the grudge that feels so good to hold on to. Trust me, peace feels even better. I’ve found these 3 steps (and the truths sprinkled throughout) are really what it takes to heal, to make a person feel valued and to rebuild the relationship. I hope this helps you. Please use the “message me” feature if you need help navigating this process. I’m truly honored to walk alongside you to sort this out. We were built for community, so when you’re struggling with this, it’s easy to feel alone. Hear me: you are not alone.
Additional Resource: Article: Ways to Manage Emotions: https://www.mhanational.org/helpful-vs-harmful-ways-manage-emotions.