When you meet a new person, you don't know everything
about each other. It is not possible.
As you get to know one another, you begin to reveal
pieces and parts of yourself. You reveal your history.
You reveal your weaknesses, your insecurities. You
get comfortable, and the other person gets to see the
That can be the beautiful thing about expressing yourself,
and getting to know another. There is something quite
wonderful and freeing about being able to express
yourself, without your guard up.
What isn't so beautiful is when you in that moment of
trust confide something about yourself or your history
only to have the other person come back at a later time
and use it as ammo when they see an opportunity.
Even worse, is when the other person uses the
knowledge in a way that s/he might even claim as
helpful or beneficial to you - often by seemingly
kicking you while you are down. More times than not
the LAST thing we need to hear is another's assessment
of us in what is likely already an argument or disagreement.
How often is someone likely to mention something that
is seemingly "wrong" with you when everything is going OK?
The next time you are upset about something, and are
tempted to "use" some information about the other consider
1. Are you being defensive? Are you "pointing" at them as
a way of not looking at yourself?
2. Do you really think the person will "hear" what you are
saying if you point to something sensitive for or about them
when you are in the midst of a heated conversation?
3. Are you looking to hurt someone because you feel hurt?
4. Do you really think you are being helpful? Then consider
if there might be a better - less charged - time to address
5. Do you really think you are being helpful? Does this
person want to hear what you have to say? Have they
"invited" you to address this issue? If not, odds may be
pretty good s/he will not be in a position to appreciate
what you have to say.
Arguments are bad enough without the additional stress
and heartache of the pain of feeling a betrayal of trust that
addressing sensitivities at the wrong time/in the wrong
way can bring.
Consider that you may think you know why a person is
acting as they are, but also consider that you haven't got
a clue. Many times what we think the issue at hand is
has nothing to do with what is really going on.
The world is a much better place when we have people that
we can trust and confide in, and when someone does that
with us, the best thing we can do for them is appreciate
the gift they've given us and respect them and the
If you suspect the issue might be the issue, consider that
you can give them what they might need in the moment
as a result of the issue. For instance, maybe there is a
certain reaction because the person feels a lack of love.
Pointing out that they react that way, or that they feel a
lack of love is potentially unhelpful. What could be helpful
is to find a way to have that person feeling loved in that
If you find yourself on the receiving end of this type of
action, the best thing you can do is step back and see if
this might be what is happening.
If it is, then it might be helpful to let the other person
know that what s/he is doing is UNhelpful to you at that
time. If you really want to be generous, you can
acknowledge them for wanting to be helpful, but let
them know that you aren't in a place to appreciate it
at the moment.
I would truly like to think that most people don't set
out to hurt another, but that their own hurts and
defensiveness is what is speaking when they lash out.
When we love and trust another, it is a risk we take.
If we can recognize each other's humanity in moments
like this, it could make all the difference when it comes
to the outcome.
I am a great believer in expression. However, it would
be wise to consider what you say before you say it.
While words only take on the meaning that the receiver
brings to them, you can't take the result of their being
Sometimes it is wise to step back, and evaluate so you
can ACT vs. REACT. It is helpful to know when to walk
away. This is not to say to avoid the conversation, but
rather allow it time to breathe, so that the conversation
can be more productive. It is important to consider what
your goal is for the moment/for the conversation, and
where you are coming from. Is it a place of love? Or
somewhere more spiteful/hurtful?
In the heat of the moment we often are going to wind up
defensive (and defensively attacking), while the real issue
is standing in the corner watching and, as a result, remain
unaddressed and unresolved ready to appear another day.