Communicating Through the Hurt

There are ways to have conversations about disagreements. In my experience,  when in pain, we mostly focus on being right and discharging the wave of emotions that have been triggered. Especially, if we have other stressors, which we all seem to have. A few of you may not have said anything the first time you were upset because you felt it was petty or unintentional. That can cause things to slowly add up and end up with explosive arguments.  Others, hold no bars and express anger it as it happens. In the past, I was a “go for the jugular” kind of arguer, I would immediately respond from a place of fear and insecurity. Then I incorporated the Safety Stop:

The 3 minute 5-meter (15 feet) safety stop.  I believe that had I enforced this rule in life prior to being here, many arguments would not have happened, many issues would have been diffused and life would have probably been a lot easier. Let me explain, on the ascent we make a safety stop that is 3 minutes long and we have to stay 15 feet from the surface. If in life we did this when we felt a passionate outcry due to anger, fear or hurt. I think it would give us time to process our emotions. Mind you, each step is important- one has to stay quiet, 15 feet away and hold tight for three minutes to process the emotion. – Goodbyes, Mooring Lines & Required Safety Stops

The Safety Stop gave me space to mediate my emotions, but it didn’t give me a language to tackle what was to follow, a conversation about my hurt and where it came from and how to mend it. I tend to be in a hurry to get over things, to move past the pain, to get back to balance. The reality is that the pace changes in conversations because it is necessary for the receiver to process the conversation as well. In order to properly communicate I have a cheat sheet! Literally!  I won’t even attempt to argue from a place of hurt without it. It is a variant of Non-Violent Communication, a philosophy taught at alternative schools so that children can communicate from a place of compassion.

Here is my cheat sheet with an example of how I wished a recent argument with my sister would have gone. The safety stop was silence for three minutes and we were in a car so I couldn’t move 15 feet away. lol 

NVC Cheat Sheet

After a Safety Stop 

What I want to do:

What I do when I have my cheat sheet:

Place blame for how I feel and criticise the actions of the person with whom I am upset.

“You treat me like the things I do not matter”

Place blame


Stating what is observed

Calmly state what I observed happened (what I saw, what I heard)

“When I was talking to you about my goals, I observed that you acted dismissively and changed the topic”

Cry or scream (or both) because I am hurt and I don’t want to feel this way.

“You think your life is more important than mine and that I am nothing “

Act on the reaction to the emotion


Communicate what the reaction to emotions feel like

I say how what emotion or sensation I feel, literally, not what I think I feel.

“It makes me feel hurt and small when I observe you this way”

Feel vulnerable and shut down.  

Walk away


Communicating your needs and the explanation of why

Communicate a specific action I need or would value and why.

“I need to feel you are invested because I value your opinion because you are a role model for success in my life.”

Unresolved hurt and resentment

Ignore the situation


Coming full circle

Make a request for what I would like to happen without demanding them.

“Would you be willing to listen to be more supportive when I tell you about my goals?”

Truth is, you can’t control the other person’s actions, but you can stay steadfast to the cheat sheet so you have no regrets.  This may not resolve the hurt immediately, but at least it doesn’t let the conversation escalate to a point where insults are happening and communication is not. I need to constantly remind myself that the other person can be right about the way they experienced a situation too.


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Thank you for reading! If you feel this will help someone you care about, please share!

If you try it! Let me know how it goes 🙂



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