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How To Respond When Your Partner Insults You

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How To Respond When Your Partner Insults You

Do you know how to take care of yourself when you are at the receiving end of insults?

[tweetthis]”Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it”- Rene Descartes[/tweetthis]

All of us have projected our own thoughts, feelings, motivations and desires onto others, and have been at the other end of projection. Many of us learned to project onto others as we were growing up, when our parents, siblings or caregivers projected their unconscious feelings, thoughts and motivations onto us.

We might project onto others when we have judged our own feelings, actions, desires and motivations as bad, wrong, shameful or dangerous.

This article is about being at the other end of someone projecting onto you by hurling insults at you.

Projections are very different than someone offering you gifts of valuable information about you. Projections are often angrily hurled as an attack, while valuable information about you is generally offered with kindness.

Projections may create a sense of confusion; they are not about you, but the person projecting is saying something as if it is about you.

For example, Frank is upset and Mary is trying her best to be there for him. Suddenly Frank attacks Mary with, “You have no compassion!”

If Mary takes the bait, she will defend herself, vehemently explaining that she is doing her very best to support Frank. But no matter what she says, it does no good. In fact, it gets worse, as more insults are hurled her way.

Mary needs to understand that Frank is projecting. The real message behind “You have no compassion,” is “I have no compassion for myself or for you. I feel ashamed of myself for something I feel, want or have done. I don’t have the courage to face myself, so I’m defending against it by attacking you.”

What is the best thing to do in this situation? Often, the best thing is to say something like, “This is not about me,” and then lovingly disengage – keeping your heart open, in case the other person decides to open to themselves and with you. Be very compassionate toward yourself, as it is lonely and heartbreaking to be attacked about something that has nothing to do with you. We all want to be seen and understood by the important people in our lives, and it’s painful when they project their own issues onto us.

Common projections are:

  • “You’re selfish.” Translation: I’m being selfish and I don’t want to admit it or deal with it.
  • “You’re judgmental.” Translation: I’m judging myself and I feel ashamed of this, so it’s easier to blame you instead.
  • “You’re angry.” Translation: I’m angry, but I judge myself for being angry so I won’t admit it.
  • “Everything is about you.” Translation: I’m being narcissistic and I don’t want to know this.
  • “You’re crazy.” Translation: I’m feeling or acting out of control and I can’t let myself know this.
  • “You’re abusive.” Translation: I’m being abusive and I refuse to deal with myself.

The thing NOT to do when you are at the other end of projection is to take the bait. If the person projecting can get you to take the bait, he or she is off the hook. As soon as you try to discuss, explain, defend, argue, teach, cry, attack back, give yourself up, project back, or any number of other ways of protecting against the projection, the person projecting can now do exactly what they want to do – which is to focus on what you are doing rather than on themselves.

The worse they feel about what they have done, want, or feel, the more attacking they may be. It’s a crazy-making situation, so generally the only thing you can do is remove yourself from the arena.

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]

 

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CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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