The Power of Words
I was hurt, very hurt…no, not physically, emotionally. It was something he said as we were about to enjoy some intimate moments together. He didn’t mean to hurt me, he just didn’t think before he spoke. It wasn’t even so much what he said, but the timing. It took a second to sink in, what he’d just said, and then it hit me. Everything stopped. I was so upset.
He didn’t realize how what he’d said would affect me. A thought had just come into his mind, he’d remembered something, and he blurted it out without thinking. I don’t think he understood why I was so upset at first. And I left him clueless for a few minutes. It was an immediate meltdown kind of situation. I had no words to say, only tears to shed.
When I found some words I started to tell him how I felt, how what he’d said and the timing of it had affected me. I sounded angry…but I wasn’t really, I was just hurt. In order to talk to him, to look at him even, I had put up a wall. And from behind a wall, hurt comes out as anger. I said what I needed to say, the only way I could say it right then, and I apologized for not being able to convey it differently. I started crying again and left the room.
It was a few minutes before he came looking for me. I think he was digesting what I’d said. He found me in the bathroom, in tears, the tissue box handy. I don’t think he was sure what to do or say. By now he felt horrible. He wanted to take back those words; he wished he’d never spoken them. But that’s the thing with words, you can’t take them back, not really. He rubbed my back and started apologizing. I listened, but I wasn’t ready to really hear what he was saying. After a few minutes he took my chin in his hand and turned my face upward, toward his. He wanted me to look him in the eyes. He said he had something important to say and that he wanted me to see that he meant it with all his heart. I tried, but I just couldn’t. There were tears still running down my cheeks; I wasn’t ready. He said what he needed to say anyway, what I needed to hear. He told me how sorry he was and that he hadn’t meant it in the way that I had taken it. He said that it was his fault, that his timing had been horrible. I had thrown some questions at him before and he answered them. I listened and really heard what he was saying. And I knew that he was beating himself up over this, that he felt terrible.
But then I needed him to step up, something that I imagine is hard to do when you know you were wrong, when you know that you were the cause of the hurt. It seemed like he needed my help to get out of his own head, to stop beating himself up for what had happened. So I told him I was going out. I asked when he needed to leave for work so that I would be back home by then. That got his attention and he went into protector mode. I was headed to get my purse and coat when he threw his arms around me, enveloping me. I pushed against him a little, not really resisting, but needing to feel his strength. He held on tight. There was no way I was going anywhere. *sigh* Good. I didn’t want to go anyway. I just needed him to resume his role, so that I knew everything would be ok. We stood there like that for a few minutes, talking a little, me pushing against him every now and then, him not budging. Finally I let my head drop onto his chest. I was done resisting. I was ready to let the wall come down. He laid his head on mine and held me even closer and there we stood. After a few minutes like that we went up to bed. He pulled the covers over us and pulled me close, not wanting to let me go. I snuggled into him, wishing he didn’t have to leave for work in a few hours.
This morning I slept in late, really late. I’d forgotten to set my alarm clock and couldn’t believe what time it was when I woke up. I texted him to say good morning and he texted me back. He said that he hoped I’d gotten some sleep. I told him that I’d just woken up. He said he was jealous. He apologized for last night and I told him that I was ok. He told me how much he loved me and I told him that I loved him too.
Words are powerful. That saying, sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me…it’s not true. Words can hurt, sometimes so much more than sticks and stones. Often we’re not as careful in choosing our words as we should be. I know there have been plenty of times in my life that I’ve wished that I could take back something I’ve said. But, the reality of it is, while I can apologize, I can’t really take it back. While words have the capacity to hurt, they can have healing power too. A kind word can mean so much to someone. I know there have been times when something someone has said to me has completely changed my outlook or just made my day. And someone’s words can stick with us for a long time, for better or for worse. Do actions speak louder than words? Yes, I certainly think that’s true at times. But that doesn’t diminish the power that words have. We can use them to lift one another up or put each other down. We can tear each other apart with our words or we can convey to someone just how much we love and care about them. What if you don’t have anything nice to say? Should you say nothing at all? Perhaps. Silence can be powerful too. A lack of words can speak volumes…sparing someone’s feelings or hurting them more than any words could.
Michael and I, we’re ok today. We hit a rough patch and we worked through it…together. I’m so thankful to have him in my life. I truly love him more than any words could ever convey.