Ghosts of the Past:
A hurt needs to be heard before it will be healed.
© 2000 Bill Nodrick PhD and Bev Nodrick RSW
The following exercise may bring forth highly charged emotions. If you decide to complete it, we recommend that you do so with the assistance of a counselling professional.
breakdown typically occurs after a long list of very hurtful experiences.
These experiences often leave sensitivities that can influence the way we
act and react in a subsequent relationship; and can be very damaging to the new
In private, you both need to prepare a list of the most distressing,
vexing, and/or hurtful experiences that occurred in your previous relationship(s).
Reserve uninterrupted, private, couple time (or times) to complete the
Decide who will begin, and then take turns as you work your way through
your lists, item by item.
For each item on your list:
5) Listen carefully while your partner presents the above information. When your partner indicates that they are through, say: “This is what I heard:” … then provide them with a summary of what they have just said which includes:
When your summary is finished, say to your partner:
“Did I hear you correctly?”
The hurt: The ring incident.
I awoke to find John’s wedding band on the night table with a short note saying that he had decided to leave the relationship and that he would be gone, for good, by the time I awoke. I was devastated—no explanation; no farewell; no nothing. I felt so abandoned—just like when my dad left home. Each time we argue, and you stomp off, I’m worried sick that you’ve left me for good too. (Maybe that’s why I’ve been so clingy lately.) During times like that I’d feel so much better if you were to touch me and say: “I’ve got to cool down. I’ll be back in a while. I still love you.”
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