Is It Necessary to Feel a lot of Pain?
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” — Albus Dumbledore, The Goblet of Fire
Pain is a two-way street; it includes those inflicting it and those who receive it. Those who inflict pain, especially when that pain in a compulsion that will affect their spouse, tend to hide this from their loved ones because they know how much pain it will cause them once it has been revealed. Most of the time, this causes the inflictor to dive deeper into their compulsion because it is how they cope with not wanting to hurt others. While this may ease the pain temporarily, it will ultimately cause their loved one more pain and anguish because the compulsion has lasted that much longer. This is where pain can become tricky for some relationships.
The receiver of this pain will also try to number their newly found pain. This numbing usually results in lashing out and blaming the inflictor every chance they get. “You did this to us… If you didn’t have this problem, we would be happier… why should I believe you…” While all of these are very reasonable statements, what they do is mask the fear of the unknown. When your partner lashes out like this, they do not do it because they are angry, they are fearful of what this might mean.
What will happen to this life we built? Should you try and work through this? How can you ever trust this person again? What about the love we share? These fearful questions are what is under all the anger that is being displayed. Having your world crash down around you by an honest conversation is a terrifying thing. Naturally, our first reaction is to put our guard up and be angry (fearful).
This fear is where the blame game begins, for both sides. The receiver starts to blame the inflictor for their behavior which makes the inflictor sad and upset, which leads the inflictor back to their compulsive behavior and pain. They again try to have an open dialogue with their partner, but the inflictor typically ends up blaming the receiver for their compulsive behavior because of how they reacted the last time they tried to open up. This vicious cycle needs to stop. This stopping can be accomplished through love, compassion, and empowerment.
There is not a single couple that I have met that wants to feel this pain within their relationship constantly. Instead of being fearful of the future, we should be optimistic and encouraged by it! The fact that your spouse or loved one came to you with this pain they have been carrying for however long should make you hopeful. Instead of carrying around their guilt and shame, they decided to be entirely vulnerable to those they love and ask for their forgiveness, support, and encouragement.
While it may be difficult at first to forgive your partner; showing compassion towards them and their struggles is a step in the right direction. It is empowering to both individuals when this compassion is shown. This process will be painful, but in the end, it has the enormous possibility of bringing the relationship closer together in a way that both never thought possible.