When we are angry or hurt, we often become so overwhelmed by emotions that we cannot work through the situation. In these instances, we might say or do something hurtful in return. We often become unable to communicate effectively with the other person. If the other person is a loved one, we could even damage our relationship if we are unable to forgive and move on.
Here at Long Island Psychology, and in couples counseling in general, we emphasize understanding a person’s intentions. Thinking about what motivated the person’s actions or words can help soften our anger and hurt. This is the first step to working towards forgiveness.
How to Consider Your Partner’s Intentions
It’s easy to let emotions overtake us when a person hurts us. In these moments, you might be able to diffuse your anger by recognizing that person’s intentions. Instead of giving into your emotions, start by asking yourself, “Did he/she do this TO me? OR Did he/she do this FOR me?”
These questions help you see the perspective of the other person. Take some time to see the situation as they did. Perhaps they meant their actions differently than you interpreted them. Maybe their words sounded judgemental when in fact they were offering help or advice. Truthful critiques can often be difficult to hear, even when they come from someone who has our best interests at heart.
Focusing on Forgiveness in Your Relationship
After one member of a relationship feels hurt or angered by the other, those emotions can become resentment. If the couple does not work through it, that resentment could linger. The relationship will likely weaken over time if the couple does not find ways to forgive and move on.
Emotionally fraught moments can be the hardest to forget. Additionally, discussions while either person is emotional are generally less productive and run the risk of bringing out additional hurtful words. Working to understand the other person’s intentions helps us set aside the emotions and begin the process of forgiveness.
Once we understand the intentions of the person who hurt us, we might recognize that we overreacted in the moment. Alternatively, we could discuss the anger and misunderstanding we experienced with our partner. This discussion can help both partners forgive and move forward while hopefully preventing similar upsets in the future.
For additional support, our Long Island couples therapists can help you improve communication and understanding in your relationships. Contact us to get started.