Why Do I Feel Pain When Another Claims I Have Hurt Them?

By Chris Jones

When you know you have upset someone the pain you feel does not so much come from the fact that you have upset them, although there is an element of this. It comes instead from the thought that the person you have hurt thinks you have set out to hurt them on purpose, when you know this to be untrue. After all, if you had truly set out to hurt them you would be indifferent, or even pleased at the result. They will tell you what your feelings and motivations were, or at least what they themselves perceive them to be. The pain is from what the person thinks of you, and the separation between you this causes.

It is a sensitivity to this pain that causes people to take on the responsibility and blame for other people’s feelings, leading them to strive to secure everyone else’s happiness at the expense of their own. If you do not do this, people say that you are cold and heartless. The irony is, the more upset the other person appears to be, the more you strive to please them.

Many people learn that they can manipulate people by claiming to be hurt, and they play on this and use emotional blackmail to get what they want. Sometimes people do this unconsciously out of desperation because they have not succeeded in getting what they believe they need using other methods.

The problem is that when a person declares that they have been hurt by another and succeeds in causing the one who is being accused pain, the one that is accused often puts up an emotional barrier. It can feel draining to live in this type of environment on a constant basis, and they respond by protecting themselves. The person claiming to be hurt will then see this as confirmation that their original assumptions about the feelings and motivations of the accused were right, and the accused becomes numb and distant or uncaring. They may try to increase they own pain as a reminder to themselves not to let themselves get so close emotionally next time. Eventually, if this continues, the relationship will either fail or will become abusive.

So what can we do when accused of hurting someone? First of all we must remember that in the same way we cannot change someone to be what we want them to be, neither can we be responsible for another’s feelings, if they want to feel better this is something they must do for themselves. We can however work to temper our own feelings, thus avoiding an escalation of the situation. We can also work with the one who has been hurt to understand the true motivations and feelings that have led each of us to this situation. By understanding ourselves we can realise that contrary to appearances, there never was anything other than love.

©2012 Chris Jones

Permission is given to share this article in full or in part as long as nothing has been changed or altered in any way, credit is given to the writer, and a link to the writer’s website is included.


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