Just like with physical injuries, sometimes we need outside help to start the healing process.
Have you ever hurt yourself or been injured and tried to ignore it? A lot of us grew up not going to the doctor or hospital when we were sick or in physical pain. You might have been told, “You’re okay” and “Shake it off” when you had minor injuries, but what about the serious ones? It’s tough to just “shake it off” when you’re truly in pain.
Sometimes when we hear what is supposed to be reassurance, we decide we’re okay even when we’re not. Somewhere along the way we internalize the messages we’re told about physical pain and apply them to emotional pain as well. We feel battered, bruised and broken, but tell ourselves and those around us that we’re “fine” (or any other stock response to end the conversation). Sometimes we know we’ve hurt someone, and we choose to ignore this because we’re uncomfortable. We refuse to acknowledge their pain or apologize because of fear and past hurt. Whether it’s me or someone else that’s hurting, we’re only putting salt in those wounds when we stay silent. It’s especially toxic to do this in your marriage; we can’t allow our emotional injuries to become beyond repair.
So how do you start the healing process when you’re hurt? Just as you would in triage at a hospital, report your symptoms. Tell someone what’s going on for you, especially the person that might have contributed to your pain. Notice I didn’t say “caused”, but contributed, because we have a habit of blaming others for our feelings. They’re not responsible for how we feel, but they are responsible for how they respond to us. If we have opened a wound, then we need to be accountable rather than dismissive or defensive. If that sounds like a real challenge, then it could be time to seek an unbiased third party that can help. Again, just like with physical injuries, sometimes we need outside help to start the healing process. The key word is process, because healing takes time, effort and commitment. Remember, love is always on the move.