Why Saying “Ouch” Might Heal Your Relationships

Carolyn Rexius's picture

Why Saying "Ouch" Might  Heal Your RelationshipsI've had the privilege of working as a therapist for over twenty years and if there’s one thing I've learned about relationships, it’s that we’re going to hurt one another. It’s not a matter of if but when. There are things that we say, or do or don’t do that can have a way of inadvertently disappointing, hurting, embarrassing or even damaging our partner. It’s going to happen. That’s not the issue, the issue is how are we going to respond? After our feelings have been hurt, are we going to say nothing and let anger and resentment build up until we experience a meltdown? You've probably done that a few times and like me you realize that’s not going to work.

Will you lash out immediately and forcefully until, like a nuclear war, things continue to escalate creating more tension, anger and anxiety?

In my own life, I’m learning a new way to deal with hurt. If someone says something that might sting and my first tendency is to strike back and shout “You jerk!” I stop and say “Ouch” instead. That lets my friend know that they just hurt me without me lashing out and attacking them personally. Most of the time they didn't mean to hurt me, so when I say “Ouch” I’m letting them know that what they just said stung me. By saying “Ouch,” instead of “You Jerk!” I can make my point without escalating the problem into a full scale war. The Bible says “A gentle answer turns away (or deescalates) wrath,” I know I've seen this in my life.I encourage you to try it in yours.