We’ve all been there. We’re in the middle of a fight with our partner and we bring up something from the past that we know will hurt them.
It’s a low blow, and it’s usually a sign that we’re losing the argument.
But why do we do it?
There are two reasons, I think. First, because we can’t think of anything else to say in the moment. And second, because we know it will hurt them.
The first reason is understandable. In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to think straight. But the second reason is more insidious. We know that bringing up something from the past will hurt our partner because we’re still angry about it ourselves.
It’s a way of punishing them for something that they may have long since forgiven or forgotten. It’s a way of lashing out, of hurting them because we’re hurt.
The next time you find yourself tempted to bring up the past in an argument, ask yourself why you really want to do it. Is it because you genuinely think it’s relevant to the issue at hand? Or is it because you’re just looking for a way to hurt your partner?