Vindictiveness – it’s in all of us. Writers and artists have recognized the power of desire for revenge since ancient times – from writing books to making plays and operas about the power of human to get even. It’s a natural inclination for a lover who has been hurt to seek revenge – in order to let the other person know exactly how they feel, and/or to simply get even of the sake of illusory fairness. While ordinarily, hitting back is part of any conflict that can be resolved, hitting below the belt is much more likely to be a lethal blow to your love and your relationship.
What Does Hitting Below The Belt Mean?
Hitting below the belt simply means doing or saying something to you partner that you know they are particularly sensitive about, and something that they opened up to you about. It’s hitting them where you think it will hurt the most, as opposed to simply arguing or name calling which is in the end is a relatively benign show of anger. Imagine your boyfriend shares with you one day that he is a little insecure about not being as tall as he wish he was. Or – if he was raised by a single mother – he wonders what it would be like to have a father around. Then, later, during a fight, you tell him in the heat of anger something like “no wonder you are like this without a daddy” or accusing him of having a short man’s complex. This is very different from yelling at the guy or calling him an asshole. Or, if you are guy – imagine that your girlfriend shares with you that she would love to finish her college work to finally get that degree after all these years, or that she really wishes she could lose 5 lbs and it really bothers her that she can’t, or that she wonders if she should remove a mark on her skin. The last thing you want to do is to mock these things during your arguments.
Why Hitting Below the Belt Will End Your Relationship
When you use the most intimate issues, challenges and insecurities that your partner shared with you against him during a fight, it’s not just another, ordinary fight. You are sending a very strong message: you are cruel and you will go as far as you possible to hurt him. You are not to be taken seriously and you are not to be trusted with the most intimate details, thoughts and fears. And, you will not be on his side when it matters most. If your partner is looking for a serious relationship, he will have to ask himself whether there can be any long-term potential with someone who has the capacity to act that way. He also must conclude that his partner does not really love him. After all, while love and anger, and love and jealousy can and often do go hand in hand, true love and hitting below the belt are mutually exclusive. In other words, if you have the desire and the ability to hit your partner below the belt, chances are quite high that you don’t really love him.
You might be disagreeing with the above and thinking the opposite. You might believe that precisely because your love is so strong, what your partner does to you is so hurtful, and that’s why you won’t spare any weapons to strike back as hard as you can. However, I assure you that the recipient of your less than fair wrath will hardly agree.
Overcoming The Desire to Hit Below the Belt
If you are determined to prove that your love is real and your hitting below the belt is just an element of your overall character and temper that can be worked on, it will take much more than making a promise to yourself and your partner that it won’t happen again. It’ easy to assure your partner that you will never hit him below the belt again, when you are not angry. But, it will be very hard for you to stick to you word when you argue again and when the temptation to do what you know bothers him most is so great. Overcoming this drive will require a conscious effort, and long-term self reflection on how you fight. As you realize that hitting below the belt hurts your own integrity and self respect more than anyone else’s, it will lead you to fighting more “cleanly”.
For now, just think about this – your lover is NOT your enemy. There is no reason to try to hurt him as hard as you can. There is no reason or benefit whatsoever in hitting him below the belt, and doing so will often end the relationships, because some things simply cannot be forgiven or forgotten. But, if there is a chance for forgiveness, coming clean to your partners and to yourself about how damaging your ways of fighting are, is your only hope of trying to make things work.