Bev’s Corner – The Ouch Factor: How to Tell A Loved One That Their Words are Hurtful
Ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of hurt? As if the person you love more than anyone in the world cannot stop putting you down?
Though BALMing was created to help families help their loved ones recover and stay in recovery from use disorders, it is also a communication process that can be applied in any situation that requires difficult conversations.
BALMing is a practice of being in the moment and sharing the facts of what you see and hear honestly in a loving way. BALM conversations are brief, loving, and factual. And they have a tendency to be freeing for the person initiating them.
There is, of course, no guarantee that the other person will change, only that if you follow this loving path, you will increase the peace in your life and, often, in your relationship.
Briefly, here is how it works:
- Become still inside
- Objectively observe the behavior that is irritating you
- Become aware of your own inner emotions without judgment
- Document the behaviors you see and the words you hear – just the facts
- Script a loving conversation
- Have the loving conversation at the right time and place
- Set a boundary if necessary
Often, BALMers report that when they practice these steps, positive energy begins to return to other aspects of their life together, without the gray cloud of unspoken words sitting between them and the person they have had the BALM conversation with.
Often, the other person becomes more aware and wakes up to the possibility of wanting to change their behavior. Though of course, there is no guarantee they will decide to change.
If they don’t, you may decide to set a boundary around what you are and are not willing to tolerate in your life.
There are a couple of caveats to be aware of if this is your first time hearing about BALMing and you are thinking of taking it on:
- BALM conversations must be delivered in a calm and loving tone. To achieve this when upset can be difficult. So there is work to be done to achieve the inner peace and repose to do this well.
- Don’t set a boundary until you are determined to stick with it. Setting a boundary and then breaking it when the other pressures you to do so gives a message that you are not a person to be taken seriously. This preparation can take inner work.
Perhaps you are someone who can read an article and practice BALM successfully. If you could benefit from additional help, check out my book here.
You don’t have to go it alone!