Chapter 3: Buried Hurts Create Land Mines
Principle #3: Buried Hurts, Create "Land Mines" of Destruction in our Hearts
If you've ever been in a situation where you said something, or did something, and the person you were talking to, went "totally ballistic" on you, and you didn't see it coming. Then you looked at them and thought to yourself "this person is Coo-coo"! If this has happened to you, you might have accidentally stepped on "A Land Mine of the Heart".
A Land Mine of the Heart is an old wound that gets buried deep inside a person as they attempt to "bury" their hurtful feelings of frustration, rejection and anger. It's a hurt that starts to simmer and fester the moment you're offended, and when you don't do what it takes to work things out, that wound eventually gets forgotten (so you think). And once it is successfully buried (or swept under the carpet), that old wound becomes what I call "A Category 1 Land Mine". If the same thing happens again, and you are hurt in the same sort of way, and you don't work things out, and instead you try to forget the offense (bury it under the carpet), that hurt will become a "Category 2 Land Mine", then a Category 3, then 4, then 5 and so on.
All of the hurtful emotions from each "Small Hurt", get stored inside you, as the Land Mine gets more and more powerful in your life. Then one day, it becomes more than you can hold inside, and in the blink of an eye someone steps on your Land Mine (usually a somewhat innocent person that is close to you), and they trigger your "Category 10 Land Mine", and all of a sudden "Kaboom", it goes off, and you blow up, on them!
NOTE: When a Land Mine of the Heart goes off, it usually results in a "Defensive Move + A Counter Attack", it's a Natural Knee Jerk Reaction ... We Defend, then we Counter Attack.
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Personal Story about Divorce
Growing up, as a kid, I had a pretty good childhood. My Mom, Dad and three siblings (two sisters and one brother), lived the life of an Army Family, traveling around the world from country to country, and state to state. Then as we moved from Korea, my Father retired from the military and moved our family to a place called Sacramento California, and I humbly started my High School career as a freshmen at Bella Vista High School.
One day, a couple years later, our parents called us into our living room for a "Family Meeting". My Mom and Dad wanted us kids to know that they had decided that it was best for them to divorce each other, and that my Mother was going to be moving out, and that we were going to stay living with my Dad in our home in Folsom
(I was in the 11th grade at the time). Now this would have been the perfect time to deal with my somewhat
"small hurt" (as a result of my parents’ divorce), but instead I took my hurt feelings and I swept them under
"the carpet of my heart", and let me it become a "Category 1 Land Mine". Little did I know it, but I was going to become quite the "ditch digger (burying land mines)", and over the next few years, I ended up taking all kinds of "little hurts", and did "my best" to sweep them all "under the carpet of my heart", in my measly attempts to "Forget about the pain, and Move on to the future".
But I didn't move on to the future, in reality I was really living in "the Past Hurts of Yesterday", and eventually I had so much "hurt" buried deep inside my heart, that I turned to using drugs and alcohol, just to "mask the buried pain". Layer upon layer, hurt upon hurt, I became a walking time bomb, just looking for opportunities to blow up on someone. Looking back on my years as a "Wild and Crazy Hurt and Angry Person", I must have gotten in about 30 "blow to blow" fist fights. If only I would have learned at a young age, how to deal with, and how to work through the little hurts that came my way, how my life would have been so different.
Forks in the Road
After learning this principle later in life, I made a decision to go back to my parents and let them know about the hurt feelings that I had buried deep in my heart as a result of their divorce. Little by little I communicated my feelings of hurt, frustration and rejection in a transparent non-blaming way. After about a year of both "talking and listening" to them, I found myself moving from the feeling of "walking on eggshells", to the feeling of "walking on air", as I peeled the layers of hurt, from my heart.
In this book (FreeMarriageTest.com), my prayer is that you will be impacted as a result of applying these principles to your life and relationships, and that Marriages and relationships will be restored and made stronger. Please know that I do not say this lightly ... but with great emphasis ... "learning to deal with the little hurts that come your way, can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having a fulfilling and rewarding life". If there is nothing else that you get out of this book, please take this away, and learn how to deal with the "small hurts", as they come.
Each and every one of these Relationship Principles, can completely change the course of your life, it can be your "fork in the road" ... "If" you make the commitment to "make the change". Holding on to old hurts will inevitably end up creating Land Mines in your heart, Land Mines that will one day EXPLODE, and send destruction to everything and everyone that gets in the way (including yourself).
In Chapter 5 of this book, you will learn in greater detail about the Vowels of Conflict Resolution, which is a five step process that I developed years ago to help couples deal with the "Little Hurts in life", that come their way, so that they don't become "Land Mines of Destruction". Here are the five principles that make up the Vowels of Conflict Resolution. Each step is a principle in it's own and will bring positive change in your life as you learn to make them become a part of your natural "Learned Behaviors".
The Vowels of Conflict Resolution
A = Ask permission to share your hurt (this helps you avoid the "AMBUSH").
E = Express Your Feelings, using "I Felt", instead of using Blame Words.
I = Inquire Why they did what they did (Get both sides of story).
O = Take Ownership of Your "Own Wrong" in the Matter (this De-Escalates things).
U = Understand how to do things differently next time (come up with a plan together).
Your homework for chapter three is to "set aside time" so that you and your spouse or significant other can ...
1. Talk about the importance of agreeing on a "future plan", for dealing with the "Little Hurts in life", so that they don't end up becoming "Category 10 Land Mines" of Destruction.
2. Go over each of the Vowels of Conflict Resolution. Take turns reading a Vowel, then each of you should grade "yourself", using a scale of 1 to 10. This will help you understand how the other person "thinks" they are doing in that area. Example: When it comes to taking ownership in our fights I am a 3, I usually don't take much time to confess my own wrong in the matter, I am usually more focused on blaming you.
3. Don't dig into old hurts from the past "just yet", because you'll need to get some practice using your Vowels, with your current hurts. So for now, cut and paste the Vowels of Conflict Resolution into an email, then email them to both you and your spouse. Then tag the email in your phone so that you can pull it up the next time they do something "small" to offend you.
Most Importantly: Both of you need to take full ownership in the decision to use Your Vowels of Conflict Resolution, when an Offense comes your way (as was discussed in chapter 2 about making We Decisions). If only one of you is on board with the Vowels, the other person will think that you are using manipulation to get your way, this will result in a backfire. It is always best to do the work necessary to agree on plans "Together".