So Many Arrows

By Greg Baer M.D.

May 24, 2017

Charlotte and Sam sat in front of me while they eloquently and energetically described how inconsiderate and unloving the other person was. After a particularly bitter comment from Charlotte, I asked Sam, “How did that feel?”


“Charlotte just said that you’ve never made any effort whatever to listen to her or care about her. How did it feel to hear that?”

He indicated that it was very hurtful, and I said, “That probably hurt you about as much as you hurt her when you said that you feel no attraction for her.”

He was speechless while his facial expression indicated that he was mystified by what I’d said.

In many relationships, if not most, we’re quite good at shooting arrows of accusation at our partner—all well-deserved, of course. We truly do not feel the pain of the arrows we shoot. Try it sometime. Stab an arrowhead into somebody’s leg and see how much it hurts YOUR leg. Doesn’t hurt at all. But we do feel acutely the pain of any arrow that pierces OUR skin.

It’s little wonder, then, that Sam felt hurt by Charlotte’s arrows but was mystified by my saying he was shooting just as many, and that they hurt just as much as the ones buried in his flesh.

Not only do we feel our own pain far better than the pain of others, but our own pain tends to blind us to even SEEING the pain of others. Once conflict begins, and arrows are flying, pain is everywhere, and we have no idea about the truth of who is doing what to whom.

The solution, delightfully, is easy. When arrows fill the sky, people always suffer and die. We don’t have to analyze who shot the most or biggest arrows. All we need to do is stop shooting. We need to ask the question, “What can I do to bring love into this interaction?” And then the healing begins, as opposed to the endless wounding and blaming.

Real Love in Marriage

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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