How to Let Him Know That You Are Hurt Without Playing the Victim
I used to be that girl… the one who ran to the bathroom to cry her eyes out in hopes that he (or anyone) would just feel my pain and come running to my side to comfort me or make me feel better. I would make my emotions audible in the form of a slamming door or loud sniffles to make sure he was aware that I was hurt and that he was to blame for it.
It was all good for dramatics, but didn’t always work for my relationship. He was quick to point out the fact that I was “playing the victim” and it led to a continuing circle of non resolution. How was I playing the victim, when he really did hurt me? No resolutions lead to resentment and a decline in the quality of our relationship because when one person seems like an asshole and the other person is a cry baby there is little room for adoration and love.
when one person seems like an asshole and the other person is a cry baby there is little room for adoration and love
We had to figure it out.
Stop Playing the Victim and Start Adapting Self
(Disclaimer: If you are with someone whose deliberate goal is to hurt you and cause you harm. Stop reading and go pack your bags. He not the one girl and you really are a victim. Seek help to get out… now. But if you are dealing with an emotional human being who, like you, is flawed, has trouble communicating but is ultimately committed to a healthy relationship continue on …. )
I learned, with the help of relationship therapy and my happily married friends, that any improvement in a relationship has to start with self. You can’t be so quick to play the blame game. He did this to me or He didn’t do this or He Said this or He Hurt me… While it may very well true that he did do certain things, please know that you are not and cannot be responsible for another person’s actions, behavior, or non-action. When you stop trying to change another person and start focusing on the part that you played in the situation or your reaction to the situation, that is when you will notice a change even if that change is simply inner peace with knowing you were the best version of yourself. Instead of focusing on what he did ask yourself these questions:
- What did I do to cause this situation to escalate to this level? I’ve found that many times it was me simply not being honest with my thoughts being the reason the fight got to a point of no return. Almost as if I wanted him to read my mind. If I would’ve just told him how I really felt instead of pretending it was okay, maybe things would’ve turned out different… maybe not but maybe. Other times it was me trying to make him react, or feel, or do things the way I would then getting mad (or hurt) when he didn’t. I am not excusing his negative behavior I am just looking for the role that I might have played in an escalated fight. Sometimes, just not participating in the arguing part of an argument is the solution.
- What didn’t I do to prevent this from happening? Many women are guilty of letting situations “slide” that really bothers them for the sake of not having an argument and the anger builds up inside. Like, “I could’ve just told him how much it bothers me that he uses a different glass every time he got something to drink which causes me to spend hours doing dishes. Instead I usually just do the dishes with an attitude” .. recipe for resentment. I am all for picking your battles but if something really really bothers you, don’t ignore it. Be verbal….without the drama
- Has his behavior changed or has my acceptance of the behavior changed? If he has never shown you public affection or been a romantic one, you’re pretty much the psycho one if you wake up one day and get mad at him for not doing what he has never done. Maybe you shouldn’t have gotten this far with a person who is not romantic if you are the hopeless romantic. Maybe, he wasn’t the one for you. Maybe you should have expressed the importance of a certain behavior in the beginning. It’s okay to make mistakes, choose to walk away or begin expressing your wants without the negative emotions and be okay if there is a learning curve involved.
- What can I do to make this better? Instead of waiting for the apology or the reaction, take the lead and issue the apology with a positive reaction. Even if it’s not your fault. My favorite line is…. “Hey babe, it really wasn’t my intention to make you angry. I was hurt because of A B and C but I should have approached it differently, will you accept my apology.” and then I walk away because he still owes me an apology for being a JERK but I know I can’t change him. At this point give it some time and let it go. With time he will issue an apology or he might not but know that the apology you made was for you. The saying “do all that you can do, then give the rest to God” fits perfectly here. You can’t force anybody to apologize. You might have to accept the apology that was never given and hope to lead by example. If you never see a shift in the behavior, you might want to start making your exit plan but make your exit plan with confidence in knowing that he is just not the one for you. Don’t let a person control your emotions. No one should have that much power.
Trust me, taking this approach is not always the easiest. There has been plenty of times when I’ve been extremely hurt and I didn’t understand why I had to be the bigger person. I was tired of being the “fix it” partner in the relationship. It helped me to sit down and ask myself, “is this relationship something I want? Do I want to keep investing in this? Can I see myself here for the long term?” and after I decided that the answers to those questions were yes, yes, and yes, I could stop viewing this solution as a me sacrificing my feelings to viewing it as me contributing our family unit and ultimate growth.
So what, maybe I had to teach him a few things about empathy but in that same sense, I had a lot of learning to do as well.
What I had to realize is that a relationship is made of two people from two completely different backgrounds. He isn’t a cryer. I am. He would rather bottle his frustrations, hurt and pain instead of talking. I don’t, I want to talk and talk now. He is uncomfortable with confrontation so when forced to talk he shuts down, goes off, or storms out. I am the exact opposite.. I just cry. We are completely different
If both parties can start to see each other as teammates instead of being AGAINST each other they will most likely win. If both parties can agree that ultimately you want the same end goals; happy, healthy, vibrant family then there is a place of compromise. When you stop trying to make your way right and the other person’s way wrong by working together to serve each other you can find a solution to anything.
If both parties can start to see each other as teammates instead of being AGAINST each other they will most likely win.
How to let your partner know you are hurt (or upset) without playing the victim
- Leave the extra emotions out of it and have a conversation.
I always thought I was the better partner because I only cried when I was angry or hurt and he would yell or storm out or punch a wall or whatever. All that violence seemed way worse than crying. right? … not so much. It took me years to realize people express emotions differently and him lashing out was an expression of emotion just like me crying. We had to figure out how to come to each other without the extra emotion and just have a conversation. He wasn’t a bad guy. I knew that, but I would make him feel that way by belittling his expression and not seeing the flaws in mine. He would call me immature and a cry baby. I would call him heartless asshole and say he was incapable of love.
Neither were true. We were both hurt humans.
The Anti-Victim Conversation
After some soul searching I was able to approach him with a plan. That conversation went like this…
“Babe, we have to figure out a better way to disagree with each other and you have to know that even in our disagreements… I still love you. I choose you. It hurts me when you disregard my hurt by calling me a baby or say that I am too emotional and in that same sense I realize that it hurts you or bothers you when I call you an asshole because you don’t express your pain and frustrations in the same way as me. So I have a proposal… If I promise to leave my tears, sobbing and dramatics out of our arguments can you do me that same favor and leave the yelling, storming or lashing out, out of it. I am not you. You are not me. We are not going to agree on everything. There are somethings that you do that I strongly disagree with and will never agree with and I am sure the same is true for you about me but THAT IS OKAY. Can we just talk or if we can’t, can we agree to disagree then take some time to regroup and come back later to find a middle ground? …”
We shook hands and kissed on it. With that small promise and a desire to make it work, our arguments have never been the same.
After that vow to each other, when we felt an argument getting heated one of us had to step in to press pause. “I see this is escalating, I need a few minutes”
I’ve had to call a girlfriend to cry my eyes out or maybe take some time alone to cry and get it all out so that I can get to a place where I can approach him about my concerns without being a victim. I am not saying I don’t let him see me cry, I do. I am an emotional person and I am not trying to change that about me. I just can’t reason well when I am in that state of mind neither can I open heartedly view the situation from his vantage point. He sees my tears many times. It’s only when I feel myself using my tears as a weapon to attack him and paint him as a villain that’s when I have to step back, take a moment and regroup. I need to be in a place where I can communicate to him my hurt and work with him to find a solution or compromise.
He has to take moments to regroup in order to keep our promise as well. I notice he might go for a run when he is angry or take some time to call one of his friends or play video games, or take a nap but so far he has kept his promise to me that when we come together to find a resolution we will leave all the extra drama out and simply have a conversation because….
…We are both on the same team. We have the same end goal.
Try it but only if you both are absolutely sure that the relationship is what you want. My approach to stop playing the victim may not be exactly what you need to do but you do need to control your own emotions and be strong enough not to allow one person to cause you to lose that control.