“I want him to suffer for what he’s done.” “His sex addiction and porn addiction hurt me and I want him to know what this pain feels like.” “He has to pay for what he’s done.”
Do these sound familiar?
I want to share a very interesting question that’s come up a lot lately. It involves making someone else “pay”, feel “bad” or be “punished” when their actions hurt us, the spouses and significant others.
We are hurting so bad and therefore we need them to truly feel like shit after what they have done to us! RIGHT? I’m sure many women out there are nodding their heads in agreement with that statement right now! Let me know if you connect with this in the comments below.
This is a very common feeling and I believe that in the long run these feelings are not healthy. It really is confusing the concept of EMPATHY with SHAMEFULNESS.I believe that emotion of wanting someone to feel shameful, or be hurt, when we are hurting is because when we get hurt it feels good to us to have the other person hurt as well. If we feel like shit, so they should feel even shittier. It’s actually a place where we perceive that we are in control. We feel like they took our power away by hurting us and THEREFORE if he can understand how it feels to be hurt and feel horrible about it … well then we THINK we have gained control back! And we believe that is the way for them to learn how it feels to be hurt, to learn our hurt and to make sure they NEVER, EVER do it again! We learn our lessons through punishments, right???
Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work long term. The truth is that most of us want our men to have EMPATHY for our pain….. We want them to understand and truly feel how we have been hurt. Understanding our pain and feeling a connection to our pain and that they were a part of creating that is the piece of empathy to focus on. Connecting to our pain and understanding that they CAN do something about it changes the perspective to an empowering one. Bringing feelings of shame into it creates a lot of negativity … and feelings of shame make them feel sorry for themselves. This is the piece (shame, I’m a piece of shit, etc.) that truly feeds addictive behaviors and not positive change.
That does nothing to help us move forward and learn from our mistakes. It maintains the feeling of shameful, not being good enough, sucking as a human being, etc. Instead, it’s better to understand what happens, how the other person was affected by it and when you can connect to that without feeling bad for yourself you start putting yourself in the other person shoes and understanding the situation a lot better. Empathy is connecting to how another person feels ….. It’s better to empower someone to change because they can truly understand how something has hurt you and they recognize that they can positively CHOOSE another behavior …. instead of feeding their shame cycle …. Shame just never works long-term.
So, when Craig does something that hurts my feelings or hurts me (and yes, shockingly it does happen occasionally) I focus on communicating with him in a way where I am able to explain my side and hopefully get him to understand and connect with how I’m feeling, why I am feeling that way. That brings me closer to my ultimate goal of having him change his behavior and ultimately get what I want. Bringing shame into it feeds negativity; and I want to empower him, my relationship and myself towards positivity. That is the path toward working together as a team and respecting each other’s emotions. It’s the path to true long term love.
Do you want your man to suffer? I know this feeling well. Share it in the comments below. What do you think of this approach? It’s more empowering isn’t it?