Once heard an observation about people, “hurting people hurt other people” during a sermon. It is true, bad day happens and we lash out without thinking, hurting those close to you. The reason why we do it, venting internal pressures, however it does not excuse it. Especially when it gets to be a pattern, the unwillingness to control oneself at the expense of others is wrong. It damages trust and relationships, the weapons used coming in many forms: maliciousness, jealousy, manipulation through guilt, etc.
When someone has a relationship with us, we do not kick him or her to the curb at the first offense. You offer them a way back. I have found a three-step method in dealing with those who have hurt us.
- Go to them and show them what they did wrong, just between the two of you. Both of you are on neutral territory and facing each other equally. If it stops the hurtful behavior, then it has finished and life continues.
- If they persist, bring others who can confirm the bad behavior, kind of like an intervention.
- If even in the face of a preponderance of evidence they do not change, bring it to a counselor, or your moral authorities like a church, synagogue, temple, etc.
If the three attempts at repairing the relationship do not work, then end it until they see the light and change their behavior. Do it without maliciousness, forgive so you do not carry that baggage anymore, however do not let them hurt you anymore.
I came across this in Matthew 18: 15-18 when I was looking for a way to deal with an issue close to home. I did not want to burn any bridges as tempting as it is when angry. In addition, I hate the burden of holding grudges, which I am sadly good at doing.