There is a direct correlation between relationship conflict and negative emotions. We were designed for love and intimacy. Sadly, many of us were not given healthy forms of love. So we enter relationships with baggage full of skewed love systems and unmet needs expecting the other person to meet our emotional needs. However, since unhealthy people tend to attract unhealthy individuals into their lives who enter the relationship with their own emotional baggage – unmet needs and skewed forms of love expecting us to love them as they think they should be loved, it’s a great recipe for emotional pain and conflict. People enter relationships with all kinds of learned negative patterns of behavior for dealing with relationship conflict.
A deep wound, a broken heart, disappointments, bitterness and unforgiveness can cause the heart to become hardened with time. It causes us to put up walls. Our defenses go up. We self protect and we don’t let anyone in including God.
Self protection leaves us running on reserve and is the cause of intimacy issues and conflict in relationships. It seems that it’s easier to be hard than soft and vulnerable, because we don’t want to get hurt. But you were not created to live that way. God made you to be tender and responsive.
It’s hard to shape stone. As long as your heart remains hard you will miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to give. So let the living God come into your heart, heal your wounds and tear down your self protection and defenses.
The amplified version of Ezekiel 11:19 says “And I will give them one heart, a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within them and I will take the stony, unnatural hardened heart out and give them a heart of flesh, sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.”
Give your hurts to the Lord. Let God shape you. When you do that…He will leave His fingerprints all over your heart.
But constant harsh criticism, the kind that leaves us feeling demeaned, discouraged and devalued can cause emotional wounds, strain relationships, and stunt emotional growth especially when it comes at the hands of those we love and trust the most. We are called to build each other up not tear each other down.
Sadly, those who have a pattern of tearing down may be acting out modeled behavior of harsh criticism from early childhood. Don’t personalize a person’s critical spirit. They are acting out of woundedness causing them to sin against you. Guard your heart against believing lies about yourself, set healthy boundaries to protect yourself, don’t retaliate, hold fast to God’s truth, pray for your offender and release them to Jesus.
You are His precious child. He will lift you up dispelling the lies with the truth of His word. Let the Balm of Gilead bring healing to your heart.