Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

We are all bruised.

They’re usually hidden, and often they don’t hurt most of the time, or the pain is so small they’re easy to ignore, but they’re there. They’re waiting to be poked or accidentally bumped. A horrible mark on our hearts, a reminder of pain we’ve experienced, damage done in our past, that are always with us.

In relationships it is so easy to bump these bruises. Say things or do things, react to things or dismiss things, and in that moment poke our loved one smack on the bruise.

The result is they flare up, hurt, frightened or angry, their bruise reminding them of past pain and warning of future hurt. The one who bumped them is then confused, angry even, because the innocence of what they said or did doesn’t warrant this level of reaction and, in turn, one of their bruises may be poked.

Photo credit Fxq

Photo credit Fxq

If you’re lucky you’ll fall into a long term, stable relationship with only a few small bruises. Minimal number of betrayals or cruelties in your life leaving very few marks. If you get to thirty with a clutch of long and short term relationships behind you and at least one failed marriage, you’re going to be covered in them. The Boy and I are basically dalmatians of bruises.

The things that need remembering are these.

1) We are all bruised.

You can’t see them, you don’t always know they’re there, but if you’re bruised you can assume they’re bruised. You know why you over react to things that they do, and you expect patience and understanding when that happens, so offer the same thing back. You might not know why they’re so upset by something seemingly small, but you can assume you reminded them of something big. So be patient. Be loving. Be kind.

2) Poking bruises is accidental.

If you have had a bruise poked, remember they probably didn’t mean to do it. Your partner, if they’re good and true, loves you and would never do anything deliberately to hurt you. Yes you’ll flare up initially, but try to hold in your mind it was an accident. So explain, tell them why it hurt, give an insight into you and your heart and then they’ll be able to remember it and, hopefully, not do it again.

Remember that your reaction may poke their bruise, and they’ll be feeling hurt and confused. They’ll want to reassure you, make sure you understand that it wasn’t deliberate. So tell them you know, explain why it hurt, but that you know it wasn’t deliberate. Nobody wants someone they love to think they’ve deliberately hurt them, and that’s a horrible burden to carry on your heart, so tell them you know so you can begin to move on.

Photo credit Ninocare

Photo credit Ninocare

3) Poked bruises hurt.

You might not understand WHY what you did hurt, but it did, so apologise. You might want to first unburden yourself of the guilt of hurting them, because knowing you did it is a cold stab in your chest, but first tell them you’re sorry for doing it. Not sorry because of these reasons, not sorry but it wasn’t deliberate, just sorry. You’re someone I love, I hurt you, and I’m sorry.

They’ll know you’re sorry, they’ll know it wasn’t intentional, but they need reminding. They’re hurting and emotional, so just be there to apologise and then, when they’re calmed and feeling better, you can talk it through. They can explain why it hurt, and you can assure them it wasn’t deliberate and that you never would hurt them on purpose.


Relationships are a delicate balancing act. Somehow the person we love and depend on above all others is the person we hurt the most. If you spend that much time with someone, and they have access to all of your most vulnerable places and all of your trust, they will at some point hurt you. Not intentionally, but because vulnerability brings with it bruises. And bruises can be bumped.

Take time to understand one another, forgive one another, and be patient with one another. Love is not an easy ride and relationships are complicated.

Be gentle. Be loving. Be kind.

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!


2 responses to “Bruises

  1. I have shared this post with my husband and a couple of friends I think could do with reading it. So well-written and thought-provoking and I totally identify. xxx



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