Relationship Truths: Emotions Aren’t Attacks


Your partner is allowed to have, and express, emotions. If your partner is sad or angry or hurt or lonely or any other emotion, they have a right to have those emotions and they should be able to tell you about them. Telling you about difficult emotions, even if they are in response to you, is not an attack.

How they do it may be an attack. I’m not talking about accusations or personal attacks. I’m talking about honestly and respectfully expressing emotions. “When you act this way, it makes me feel hurt or angry or unloved.”

You don’t have to agree but you also can’t tell the other person they are wrong. They aren’t. That is the way they feel. They may not have all of the information or may not see it from your perspective, yet they still are having those emotions. Invalidating them or using them to attack back is not an acceptable response.

Hearing that something you are doing hurts your partner may be hard to hear, but it isn’t an attack. It is honest, open communication. If you love your partner you should be interested in their feelings and emotions. They are an integral part of who your partner is. And, if you are doing something that makes your partner feel bad, even if it is unintentional or you don’t understand why, you should want to know so you can change the situation.

Claiming your partner is attacking you when they express their emotions is an attack on your partner. You are saying that their feelings don’t matter and accusing them of trying to hurt you instead of being open to hearing how your actions may be impacting them. It is you avoiding the responsibility of your actions and being unwilling to see that your actions might have negative impact on your partner. Mostly, it is away to justify behaving any way you want.

Emotions are important. They are valid. Real connection with a partner means being willing to share the hard things along with the good. It is not your partners job to make you happy. It is their job to be open and honest and connected. You’ll be happy if you love the person they are.


photo credit: Robert Scales via photopin cc


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