A reader called the other day to say, “ Every time my husband and I go out to meet new people or to attend a family affair, he inevitable brings up every gory detail my past when I was drinking. Something feels really wrong with this, but I don’t know what it is since I really did do all those things. Help.”
What you are feeling is a breach of boundaries and a dishonoring of the trust between the two of you. Words, language and honorable expression are critical to every successful relationship. Unless you have given your husband permission to speak of these things, he is violating a boundary by divulging information about your personal life without your permission. No matter what you did, or how much he was hurt, speaking with friends about your past is not an honorable way for him to deal with his feelings.
Words are the bridge between thought, manifestation and reality; therefore, they are of great importance. Everything was first thought of – then defined by words – and then made manifest. Miracles, life changes, enlightenment all evolve from words. Words have great power in relationships because they speak of the hearts intent. Your husband’s intent may be to hurt you or get back at you for the pain you have caused him. Words have the ability to destroy a relationship or empower it. They provide safety or erode it. Words can create a healing or a hostile environment. Words can define our relationships as sacred, holy, or ordinary and debased.
The first step in dealing with this issue is to directly ask your husband to examine his motivation for speaking about your past in this way. Then, let him know how hurtful to you this has been. Finally, ask him to stop it. He may need to vent his anger or rage about what has happened in the past so that he can move beyond it. Talk about how he might best do that without further damaging your relationship.
No word is ever lost. Words are energy. Have you ever had anyone say, “Forget I ever said that?” Pretty impossible to do isn’t it? In metaphysics we have learned that words carry great energy and always manifest on some level at some time. Words protect the sanctity and boundaries in a relationship and allow for deeper, more intimate healing. Or, words can break boundaries, reveal secrets, and leave partners feeling betrayed and unsafe. Words have great power to unite or separate – create love or isolation.
Words define our relationships to ourselves and to each other. They tell you whether you have integrity, emotional courage, compassion and understanding. When you abandon or betray your partners you have, in fact, abandoned and betrayed yourselves. Your personal level of integrity is reflected in your words and actions. Any betrayal or abandonment reflects a lack of integrity in us, not in our partners.
With words, we can create information that is derogatory or harmful to another, or we can treat each other with awe and respect. Being in relationship is truly the only opportunity we have to fine hone our skills of honesty in our expression. We demonstrate that skill through the words and actions we choose. Take a minute to go over this checklist of just a few questions and see if your words and actions are aligned with your spirit.
1. Do you ever share information that is derogatory or harmful about your partner in other than a therapeutic setting where these issues are being addressed?
2. Do you ever create a non-safe environment by bringing up issues from the past which you have previously said were forgiven.
3. Do you ever share private or intimate information that your partner has told you without his or her permission?
4. Do you ever share his or her shortcomings or character flaws with others?
5. Are there ways in which you are deliberately inaccurate to prove your point?
6. Do you use shaming or blaming language to enforce your point? (name calling, labels, foul language, derogatory sexual terms, etc.)
7. Do you become verbally abusive, use threats, fear, guilt, control, projection?
8. Do you use passive, non-committal, compliant, indifferent language to manipulate your partner?
9. Do you answer questions with questions?
10. Do you often think things you never say or withhold information about your real feelings?
11. Do you ever make “innocent or critical” remarks that hurt your partner?
12. Do you feel it is unnecessary to apologize?
13. Do you withhold praise and encouragements out of fear that someone might become better or more capable than you?
14. Do you solicit information that your partner has told you he or she is not ready to share?
15. Do you shift the blame to others for your own actions and behavior? Do you feel your excuses are also justifications?
Now perhaps you are beginning to understand the power of your words. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are creating a lack of safety in your relationship. That is what your husband is doing and that is why you feel unsafe. Instead of telling his truth and addressing his issues directly with you, he is choosing to vent his anger inappropriately. He is acting out of fear and not love. Time to have a talk – using loving words to say. – “Enough!”
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013