You could think of it this way. Imagine you had a friend who went up to an attractive guy or gal and said hi and other things to break the ice, but got back in return, "Buzz off, jerk." You wouldn't say in that moment we learned a great deal about your friend, other than he or she is an outgoing person. We may have learned tons about the other person who issued the hurtful response. But rationally, we would separate the two. We as yet know little about the identity of your friend. Whether his mind cooperates with this negativity or not, identity still exists in all its potential and beauty. It is not limited to how well or poorly the person was treated. Identity or essence is bigger than that. But we seldom see it this clearly from inside the movie. Our minds, unfortunately, usually cooperate with the pattern of the interaction, and then it takes over the show on its own, repeating the message even when we are not intending it. How many times have you found yourself ruminating about hurtful comments or reviewing hurtful interactions inside your head? As anyone who has ever taken a music lesson or learned a sport knows, the unconscious takes over what is repeated. To make matters worse, mind doesn't get the good news that this past event is completed, in fact doesn't exist anymore. Two things are needed. One is an interaction that instills a new message, "My identity is not how I was treated. I'm somehow much more than that. The brokenness in others doesn't say much about me." The second is a radical re-orientation to the present. "Who I really am is still being expressed right here, right now, like every other living thing." Even a tree will get it right despite odd knurls or scars on their bark. The branches go up, the roots go down, everything can still unfold as it was meant to, to its fullest potential. Translating that into daily interactions with a person who self-hates is really tricky but, from a certain viewpoint, can be the creative and exciting part. It can be like a light going on.
If you're struggling with a relationship, think about how it would be to show up in a way that invites a radical attention to what is going on right now and the freedom that comes in realizing we are not how we were treated. If you feel loving you can express that. If you want to share your unfolding potential--the light, creativity, and wisdom within--with someone else, you can do that too. The interaction just may rub off.