Its not what you said...
The hardest part of being human is communicating. Even with the best intentions, we hurt each other. I often envy some of our animal friends that we share this earth with. Lacking the human vocabulary they often depend on tones, vibrations or body movements to talk; fewer options means less confusion, right? Turtles, for instance, use low-frequency tones. And like many other animals, they are more focused on survival than matters of the heart. I don't think Mr. Turtle ever had to go sleep under a different rock because Mrs. Trutle thought he called her shell ugly.
But, however envious I may be, we are not turtles we are humans blessed and cursed with a developed mind. Minds that can create great cities and beautiful works of art, but also minds that are filled with emotions and memories. The latter changes the way we talk and the way we hear what others have to say. No matter what is said, we hear it through a filter of our past. A phrase as beautiful as "I love you", can be petrifying to someone who has had their heart broken. A simple "knock-knock joke" can be offensive to another who was abused. All of this unbeknownst to the person saying it.
Even in a close relationship, spouse or friend, when you try to express that those words or actions hurt you in some way, they are hearing it through their own filter. And you can open up an old wound for them. Without even knowing it we begin to ride this merry-go-round of pain. Spinning faster and faster and faster until someone is thrown off, and by the time that happens we are too bloodied and bruised to get back on and try again.
So how do we stop it? How do we stop spinning for long enough to look each other in the eye and remember that we are coming from a place of love? That there is no malice or intent to pour salt in wounds, just different filters, different tones.
The answer is to open your heart and let down your walls. It's scary, but until you do you will always be fighting for emotional survival. And everyone knows there are no true winners in war, each party suffers losses that can't be recovered. Remember, you will always have your filter, and you are always entitled to your emotions, but so is everyone else. So speak from your soul and listen with your heart. Know that your loved one is just as fragile as you no matter how many bricks they have stacked up to protect them. The best relationships are built on acceptance and understanding, are you doing your part?