I am going to describe a scenario and ask a question.
All you need to do is think honestly about the answer - imagine the entire scenario, all the feelings and emotions within... and answer yourself honestly. You don't have to tell anyone. Just ask yourself this ... write down your response to look at it later if you wish... I hope we all learn a little something about ourselves. Above all - for this to work... *BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF*
Remember - you're not telling anyone. This is just for you. Don't sit there and lie to yourself saying "Well, I'd immediately apologize and give that person a hug and talk about it" if you KNOW that is not what you would really do. Nothing is gained by lying. Don't 'edit' things like "Well, I'm sure ... in the past I just... calmly and neutrally questioned them and was supportive of their needs"... did you really? Would you really? Think. Carefully.
A couple (best friends, gf/bf, spouses, etc.) is having a disagreement - you are half of that couple.
Tensions are high, both parties are thinking that the other one has overstepped his/her boundaries and now you're both angry and terse.
Your partner writes you an email (because speaking is too emotional and you can't get the words out) - the email basically says "I'm hurt, I'm feeling vulnerable, and your actions have elicited feelings of worthlessness in me".
Remember... you're also angry - you think s/he's been a jerk, you don't see anything wrong with what you've said.
Here's the question:
What is your response?
**ed note: I see a few variables within the possible answer(s) - as following one of these scenarios
a.) You are shocked but upset that you have hurt your partner/friend, and you go and apologize for hurting them whilst explaining that you're also hurting - so you talk. It is a very uncomfortable option - no one likes to admit they're wrong or that they've hurt someone... but it is an option. Both will be a little raw in the end... but who knows where it goes from there?
b.) You immediately get on the defensive, and figure you're going to attack him/her before s/he attacks you MORE... because this is how you see it. You see this person's vulnerability and hurt as an attack on YOU. So you're going to attack attack attack attack attack attack until they are broken and you WIN.
c.) You are now angry. How dare this person DREAM of accusing YOU... of being in the wrong? How DARE they be so arrogant as to think that YOU could have done something to hurt THEM... implying that YOU have done something incorrect and hurtful? Well, you're going to show them. They're not thinking of YOU - so you're going to MAKE them think of you. YOU are going to show them that YOU are hurting and THAT is what really matters. The fact that they've told you that you hurt them is just pure GARBAGE - so you're going to just ignore that and MAKE THEM SEE... that in fact it is THEY who have hurt you and THAT is the real focus here - how this has affected YOU. You then proceed to barrage and attack them with every instance you have felt slighted or hurt by them until they are broken... and you WIN.
Note well, if b or c are your options, it is wholly unreasonable to expect the recipient of the beating to spring back to life and be cheery again... maybe not for a long time, maybe never.
If you do not like the outcome of your beating, it will take a LOT of work and self reflection to glue that vase back together. You cannot just 'give it a box', chuck the pieces in there,
say "good enough" and expect it to be all pristine like you liked it before. You broke it, you fix it. Unfortunately for you, this might involve you admitting that you were wrong in
the first place to break it.