Why Do I Hurt Girls Who Fall In Love With Me?
Are you repeatedly falling into a pattern of treating the women who love you badly? Do you hurt your partner’s feelings in relationships and feel guilty afterward? Understanding why this pattern continues can help you break the cycle of hurtful behavior.
Many people learn unhealthy relationship models early in life and act them out because it’s all they know. Freeing yourself from these patterns may require recognizing where they originated and learning more constructive habits.
This article will explore common reasons people treat others badly in relationships and suggest ways to overcome this behavior.
Could insecure attachment be affecting your relationships?
One potential reason for destructive relationship behaviors is an unhealthy attachment style. This psychological term refers to a person’s deep-rooted attitudes toward connections with other people. Attachment theory, first developed by developmental psychologist John Bowlby, suggests that children’s early relationships with their caregivers can affect their emotional security later in life. Those who learn they can count on affection and care from the adults around them typically have a secure attachment style.
On the other hand, children whose parents are inattentive, withholding, or inconsistent may develop various types of insecure attachment styles. Because they can’t rely on their caregivers, they may have difficulty trusting that affection from others will be real or lasting. Research suggests that attachment styles in childhood can affect adult romantic relationships.
You may tend to hurt people who fall in love with you because you have an avoidant attachment style. This can happen if you perceived that you were on your own as a child and never got fully comfortable bonding with others. As an adult, it can make you uncomfortable moving toward greater intimacy. If so, an avoidant attachment style could be part of the problem. Studies suggest that avoidant attachment is typically more common in men than women, though it can occur in individuals of any gender.
This emotional style is also sometimes known as anxious-ambivalent attachment. It may be related to a pattern in early childhood in which your caregivers demonstrated inconsistent, conditional affection. This can create the sense that you constantly have to work for positive attention from others.
If you’ve ever wondered why your romantic partners stick with you and tries to make you happy even when you’re unkind to them, one possibility is that you’re attracting people who have an anxious attachment style. Because struggling for affection seems familiar to them, they may take a long time to recognize it as unhealthy.
An anxious attachment style could also be at the root of hurtful behavior on your part. It could lead you to try to micromanage the relationship or control your partners. In extreme cases, a person with this attachment style might turn to spying, stalking, or abuse to maintain a connection.
Another reason many people hurt those close to them is that they have feelings they’re refusing to address. Do you tend to blow up at your partner or retreat into a sulk over something that seems insignificant when you think back on it? You may let negative emotions such as resentment, fear, sadness, or anger build up under the surface for a long time. You may not acknowledge these feelings' strength until you can’t contain them anymore.
This can happen when you internalize that expressing negative emotions is hostile, disruptive, or unsafe. It may also result from a desire to avoid the unpleasant sensations that come with those feelings. But research on this topic suggests that accepting painful emotions without judgment does more to defuse them than pushing them away.
Holding on to shame
Some people who exhibit cruelty toward their partners may be trying to deflect from their own feelings of shame. Do you sometimes sense that you’re a bad person? Do you wonder why any good woman would love you? That could be the voice of shame talking.
Studies show that men are more likely to express feelings of shame through anger. You might be turning your negative feelings about yourself outward, hurting your partner’s feelings to turn their attention away from the things you dislike about yourself.
Thinking about these actions later may make you feel even worse, reinforcing your shame even more. You might even believe that you’ll never be able to avoid causing pain to those who love you. If this is the case, addressing your feelings of shame can be helpful.
Instead of feeding into negative thoughts or berating yourself for not being perfect, acknowledge that everyone has flaws and treat yourself with kindness. Acknowledging your feelings of shame and taking steps to manage them will help you build a healthier relationship with yourself, leading to healthier relationships with others.
The American Psychological Association identifies certain persistent patterns of thought and behavior as personality disorders. These long-term mental health disorders can interfere with a person’s ability to have stable and successful relationships. Some personality disorders could increase your likelihood of behaving badly toward relationship partners:
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can involve unstable emotions that may make a person seem“hot and cold, alternating between pushing someone away and craving their attention.
- Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may include an inflated and unrealistic self-image that can prompt manipulative, attention-seeking, or callous behavior.
- Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) often involves an intense craving for attention that can lead people to paint themselves as victims and overreact to minor events.
- Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is characterized by a lack of guilt or shame and a disregard for the feelings of others, along with impulsivity and aggression.
How can you learn to treat the people you love better?
Several strategies can help you improve your approach to relationships. Here are a few techniques you can try:
Keeping a journal
Sometimes keeping a record of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions can help you change them. If you can look back at what was happening in your mind and your world when you behaved badly toward your partner, you may better identify what’s behind your hurtful actions. Studies suggest journaling can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety by helping you process negative emotions.
Mindfulness meditation, in which you pay attention to your emotions and thoughts without judgment, could also help you release negative emotional patterns. There is evidence that mindfulness has positive effects on changing certain behaviors. Meditation may help you get past feelings of shame that make you believe that improvement is impossible.
Talking with your romantic partner about your feelings can be an important part of learning to treat them better. You may act in a hurtful way if you feel unable to communicate your negative feelings. Openly telling your thoughts and emotions to your partner can help build a stronger bond and open the possibility of finding solutions to problems together.
Are you treating your girlfriend poorly because you take her for granted? Reminding yourself why you’re grateful to be with her may help you become a better partner. Consider taking a few minutes daily to reflect and feel thankful for the positive things she brings to your life.
A trained mental health professional may be able to help you change your negative relationship habits. It may be difficult to imagine discussing your hurtful actions with someone else, particularly if you are ashamed. In that case, online counseling may be a good option. Talking with an online therapist can feel more intimate, helping you feel more comfortable discussing difficult topics.
Studies show that internet-based treatment is as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy for many conditions. Your therapist can help you identify the causes of your toxic behavior patterns and work with you to develop healthier habits. Online treatment can often remove barriers to treatment for some people, such as transportation and scheduling issues. You can connect with a therapist from the comfort of your home or wherever you have internet.
How do we stop hurting the ones we love?
Often, when we hurt the ones we love, whether in platonic or intimate relationships, it happens as a result of unresolved problems of our own. Going to therapy and working through any underlying issues can be an effective way to identify unhealthy patterns and learn how to communicate with your loved ones in a more constructive way.
It can also be vital to apologize to your loved ones and ask them how they would like to move forward when you’re wondering how to stop hurting those you love. Hurt feelings can take time to heal, so it can be helpful to practice patience and focus on your own healing in the meantime.
Can you love someone and still want to hurt them?
It can be possible to want to hurt someone you love, but this is generally not a healthy dynamic. It’s usually crucial to respect your loved ones and avoid intentionally hurting them. Sometimes, people may deeply desire attention or love, and they may cause conflict or hurt the people they care about in hopes of getting that love or attention. In some cases, this may not be a conscious action, and you may unintentionally hurt the people you love. However, unintentional hurt can still leave scars.
Why can't I stop hurting the people I love?
If you can’t stop hurting the people you love, it’s possible you may have a pattern of self-sabotage. Alternatively, you might be projecting your own shame or self-loathing onto your loved ones. It could also be the case that you have an avoidant attachment style and prefer to keep an emotional distance between yourself and others. Often, this begins at an early age due to adverse childhood experiences and can lead to self-destructive behaviors in relationships.
No matter the reason behind your unhealthy relationship patterns, it can be very important to seek professional help so that you can learn healthier ways to relate to others and experience personal growth. You and your loved ones deserve to have healthy relationships, and going to therapy is likely to have many positive outcomes. Although the beginning stages of healing can be challenging, they are usually worth it.
How is it possible to love someone so much it hurts?
Sometimes, chemical changes in the brain may contribute to the feeling of loving someone so much that it hurts. In the case of unrequited love, the social pain of rejection is usually processed in the same area of the brain as physical pain. When love hurts, it can be wise to practice self-care and lean on your support system.
How is it possible to love someone who hurt you?
Just because someone hurts you doesn’t necessarily mean your love for them will disappear. Your happy memories won’t typically fade away after conflict or emotional pain. However, please know that abuse in relationships is not okay.
If you or a loved one is witnessing or experiencing any form of abuse, please know that help is available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
What can happen if you love someone too much?
Loving someone too much may result in codependency. Regardless of how much you love another person, it’s usually important to maintain a sense of independence and personal identity.
What should you do when someone hurts you and doesn't care?
It can be imperative to care for yourself and prioritize your emotional well-being during this time. Depending on your relationship with this person, you may wish to distance yourself and set appropriate boundaries.
Why do I still care for someone who hurt me?
When people hurt us, we usually don’t automatically lose all positive feelings toward them. It can be normal to still care about someone who hurt you emotionally and consider that person’s feelings.
How do you take care of someone you hurt?
Be sure to apologize to them and respect their wishes. For example, if they tell you that they’d like some space, it is generally best to respect their boundaries. Try to keep the other person’s feelings in mind rather than focusing on what you want.
How do you care for someone who is hurting?
It can be helpful to actively listen to them without trying to tell stories about your own pain, ask them how you can help, and show them that you’re there.
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