In my last post I went over what happens to hurts…on the inside. In an almost formulaic fashion I detailed the progression of painful steps the hurt takes as it bubbles to the top of our awareness and action. Today, we will look at a couple of examples of how this works.
Micro – one hurt in a specific moment in time.
A woman is walking through the mall with her man. She has a need for affection and thus reaches out to hold his hand. As it touches his he pulls away and says, “ugh, not here honey…c’mon!” Ouch. Not only did she not get her cozy hand hold, she was reprimanded. She is now lacking in affection and is very much less secure in her relationship. She is “hurt”. She becomes angry, “Who is he to not hold MY hand? All I wanted was to hold his hand! Screw him!” Later that night he goes to kiss her goodnight or goodbye. She turns away and says nothing….still angry. The next day she meets him for lunch. She wants to hug him. “But wait” she thinks “what if he pulls away again?” Fear has set in. “What if he doesn’t really care for me anymore? Is he cheating on me?” Yes. Fear is here.
She begins to think. “Why did I not kiss him last night? Why do I get so mad? I need to understand him better. That’s not who he is why would I even try to hold his hand?” I guess, in a way, it was all my fault.” Yes, she is experiencing some serious guilt.
“Come to think of it. No one has ever really wanted to hold my hand let alone hold me. My parents never really hugged me. I’ve never had a boyfriend that wanted to cuddle. I hug everyone I meet and most of them are less than excited about it. I guess I’m just not worth attention and love.” She feels unworthy of affection. She is condemning herself.
Later that day she has the opportunity to apply for a new job. She would love it. Yet, she doesn’t even apply. She thinks “Someone else will get it. There are so many people better than me. I’ll just do what I do and be fine with it.”
Macro – a series of hurts over an extended period of time.
A little boy has his mother move away from home. His parents have divorced and she is gone. For awhile she pops back in but after a while she is just gone. Dad remarries but his “new mom” doesn’t pay much attention to him and treats him differently than her kids. His dad gets a couple of new jobs and they move before he enters school, in 3rd and in 6th grade. Each time he is “the new kid” and gets made fun of quite a bit. His first girlfriend breaks up with him after only 2 weeks. He works hard at his part time job but never gets a promotion as he never really talks and just keeps to himself. Now, he is in college and has a steady girlfriend. She cheats on him while at a party, drunk out of her mind. He was in another room just watching the game on t.v.
What has all of this hurt done? He used to be angry…quite a bit in fact. He used to be afraid of getting close to people but now anytime someone gets close to him he ignores them…”they’ll just leave or hurt me” he thinks…or feels. “I guess I was a handful as a kid, my mom didn’t even want me. My 2nd mom didn’t even want to get to know me. Maybe I pushed them all away (guilt). Nobody ever really wanted to be my friend. Sure I moved a lot but other kids moved and got friends. Now, my first real girlfriend cheats on me? I guess it make sense. Who would love me? I’m not much of a person. I just sit here. No one has ever really cared. I’m pretty much worthless. Can’t say I blame them for what they do (self condemnation).” He completely shuts down. He just goes through the motions in life. He thinks of committing suicide but figures he would probably screw that up too. He struggles with obesity and depression for most of his life.
In both examples there is a hurt, the hurt turns quickly to anger, anger to fear, fear to guilt, guilt to self condemnation, self condemnation to negative outward behavior. In both circumstances, there is no room for positive emotions. Does it always go this way? Not at all. More often you have a greater tendency to dwell in one of the repercussions of hurt. What negative outward outcome varies greatly from person to person but the overall model holds true. All because we don’t know what to do when our feelings get…hurt.
So what to do? Where is the hope? Well, it’s not hope we need, it’s healing. That will be covered in the next couple of posts.