Hurt People, Hurt People

Not many people know how to fight fair.  People have a tendency to lash out, and that comes from a place of hurt.  My tendency to react to a hurt manifests in withdrawing, being cold, and saying hurtful things that I know will return at least a little bit of the sting I’ve felt – even if those words are coated in honey and wrapped up in a pretty bow.

I know how much words hurt, and I make a conscious effort to be deliberate in my speech for that very reason.  But I also know how to be spiteful and deliberately craft a message that stings, purposely touching that raw, exposed wound.

I wrote a letter to my father before my college graduation. I felt extremely justified in writing it.  There were feelings and hurts in that letter that had never been communicated.  But in order to drive my point home, I went for sensitive points that I knew would hurt – namely, “outside of conception there was nothing you have done to support me in getting to this point, so I don’t want you here celebrating my accomplishment as if you did”.

When I wrote it I knew exactly the kind of effect it would have.  I was hurt, and I lashed out in pain.  Instead of claiming my hurt, acknowledging that I was hurting because I didn’t have the pleasure of having my father in my life as part of my support system – I turned it into an attack.  I was hurt, so I hurt.  I could have just as easily have just asked him not to come.  I could have had a conversation about my feelings.  I could have done a lot of things differently.  But I wasn’t acting from a rational place, but from an extremely raw emotional place.  And to be quite honest, I wasn’t interested in preserving the relationship…so I wasn’t concerned about the damage those words would do.

We need to be mindful of the words that we speak to one another, because they cannot be taken back once they’ve been spoken.  A seed of negativity gets planted, and I don’t know if that’s a hurt you ever fully recover from.  That’s not healthy, nor is it conducive to building and nurturing any kind of healthy relationship.

Many don’t know how to be hurt, vulnerable, and angry – feeling and validating all those emotions – yet being able to express them constructively.  The first instinct is to straight to the weapon in your arsenal you know will cause the most damage.  But then what…?  You’re both left damaged and hurting, the battle is over, but the war is far from done.

I know it’s something I’m still working on – being transparent and emotionally available, always tempering my words with love, and learning to fight fair.

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