Don’t complain to me
It’s your own fault
What is a relationship injury?
A relationship injury can occur for many reasons. Some reasons for relationship injury are when one or more individuals experience something in the relationship that leaves them with a perception of being hurt, uneasy, disrespected, powerless, fearful, attacked, unfairly dealt with, isolated, or that a boundary has been crossed. Relationship injuries can involve a physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional interaction or event.
When a relationship injury occurs, people often present the injury for healing. When an injury is presented for healing there are ways of responding that are more likely to lead to healing, and ways of responding that are less likely to lead to healing. Today we are looking at ways of responding that are less likely to lead to healing. Some well-known unhelpful responses are justification, minimization, and blaming.
Unhelpful Responses to Relationship Injuries
Justification is when the injury is explained as being reasonable. For example “I had to do that or you wouldn’t let me speak”.
Minimization is when the impact of the injury is downplayed. For example, “I only said it once; it isn’t that big a deal”. The injured person does not need to be told how they were impacted by the injury.
Blaming shifts accountability for the injury to someone or something else. An example of blame could be “If you hadn’t said that, then this wouldn’t have happened”
In some relationships, there is a clear understanding of who has contributed to an injury in a relationship, and who has been injured. In other relationships, there is fuzziness around accountability for injuries. The fuzziness can be confusing. In some instances, the fuzziness might be connected to physical or psychological abuse. A 2005 study found that, amongst those convicted for domestic violence, blame for injuries was more likely to be allocated to others, rather than the offender holding accountability for the injury. The study also found that the impact of the injuries was minimized (Henning, Jones, & Holdford, 2005).
When injured parties are blamed for the injury and injuries are minimized, the injured party may start to believe they are responsible for the abuse, and lose their sense of self. Where accountability may initially have seemed clear, things might start to look fuzzy. The injured party may also adapt their behaviour to evade the reactions of the abuser (Halley, 2016).
If you have noticed unhelpful responses to relationship injuries, please contact me, Jenny to meet with me in a session.
If you feel unsafe please dial 111 If it is not safe to talk when you call 111, push 55 and your call will go to the Police.
For support with abuse: Shine domestic abuse services free call 0508 744 633