Dealing with injuries that have occurred in your relationship
Choose a peaceful time and place to carry out this exercise. Perform the exercise by taking turns to take the role of the injured and injuring partner.
Please note: If you can’t yet talk about injuries without arguing or blaming each other, stop the exercise.
1. Describe a situation when you felt your partner injured you in such a way that it became harder than before for you to trust him or her or to feel safe. Big, vague hurts are difficult to address. That’s why you should try to express yourself as precisely as possible. Try to tell your partner about your feelings of being injured as clearly as you can.
2. If you are the injuring partner, try to listen to your partner with sympathy. Try to get a clear picture of how he or she feels. You can ask questions: What did the situation feel like to the injured partner? What would she or he have needed? What would she or he have liked you to understand? Then try to examine your reactions honestly and openly. Try to help your partner understand how your reaction came about in that situation. The purpose here is not to defend or make excuses for your behavior. Be careful to avoid sounding defensive or minimizing your partner’s hurt. Instead, your task is to help your partner understand your behavior in that situation. This will also help him or her to anticipate your behavior in the future.
3. If you can, reassure your partner that you take the pain you have inflicted seriously. Express your regret and apologize as genuinely as feels true to you. Share the feelings the event brings up in you. Most of us are sad and maybe ashamed to hear we have hurt our loved ones. If you find it difficult to apologize, examine why you feel that way and talk about it with your partner.
4. If you are the injured party, try to accept your partner’s apology. Ask your partner to approach the matter in the way you need right now. Tell your mate what might reduce your feeling of having been injured. What would you have wanted from them in the situation when you were injured? What could help you feel that your partner truly wants to fix the situation?
5. If you are the injuring party, try to meet your partner’s request.
If there have been no big injuries in your relationship, consider together ways you could help each other deal with injuries that may occur in your relationship later.