Discover more from LovingU by Hannah Taylor
Hurt So Good
I can't trust someone who's unwilling to hurt me
I said, “In order to trust you I need to know that you’re willing to hurt me.”
Some things can go unsaid as I’m developing a new connection, but this part can’t. I need the ones who are closest to me to know that I’m ready and willing to be hurt by them, if their truth diverges from my story about what should happen. I make sure they know I see that possibility and I’m entering anyway. Intimacy, done right, will always produce some form of pain. A fear of hurting someone with your truth is a fear of intimacy.
This is compounded in opposite-sex relationships by the cultural understanding that women are fragile. I know that I am not fragile, not in any way, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past from affecting fragility to emotionally manipulate a partner. If I don’t want to hear something that is hard to hear, I can pout or throw a fit, make accusations, play the victim, and all of his cultural programming stops him in his tracks; the last thing a man wants to be is the monster who hurts women.
This is created by and reinforces the core belief that I can change my partner, that if he knows how hurt I am, if he feels bad enough about how he feels, his truth will change to one that is more desirable to me. Unfortunately, nobody can change the way they feel, especially not through shame and manipulation. The truth forced to hide in the darkness will fester and rot until it can no longer be ignored. The truth brought to the surface can move in any direction and is free to change.
I’m not available to hear painful things in every moment, but I know it’s important to resource myself to hear painful things regularly in order to receive the depth of intimacy that I crave.
Slowness and consent are key to receiving uncomfortable truth. I can always take time and space to fill myself up before I have a hard conversation. I can pause in the middle of a hard conversation and attune to what is alive for me and what I need. I can set and enforce boundaries so that pain does not produce damage.
There is so much nuance to this practice, and I’ve realized as I cultivate it that I can’t have this practice with just anyone. This practice requires that I have done my work and I’m still doing it, and it requires a man who has done his work and is still doing it.
My ability to be in this practice is part of the privilege of relating with me. I’m letting that knowledge sink into my bones and reinforce my understanding of my own value, both as a partner and a practitioner of transformative work. Who I am and how I relate is not for everyone.