Hurt People Hurt People and Why That’s Never Okay

I continue to learn at rocket speed.

Yesterday, in an effort to reframe the shooting at our nation’s capital, I posted a Facebook status update that (not surprisingly) triggered someone I love.

I say ‘not surprisingly’ because I am used to triggering people with my opinions. I come from a long line of intellectual, strong and outspoken people – and so this comes with the territory.


NOTE TO SELF: If you’re going to be brave enough to speak your mind, you have to be realistic enough to understand that not everyone is going to agree with you. Or care. (And might even want to tell you to go fuck yourself.)


This someone who was triggered to comment is in a great deal of pain. This someone is also – like me – entitled to an opinion and the right to comment. But, there’s a difference between opposing opinions and outright raging with slicing jabs when thoughtful explanation fails.

I get it: Hurt people hurt people.

They wear their pain like clothes and deeply feel the injustice of their suffering. They can not help but lash out because it just hurts so fucking bad that the only way to feel a reprieve from the hurt is to inflict it on someone else.

Part of me says, ‘They are suffering, just take it. Allow them to rage. Love them through it and love yourself enough to know they just can’t help it.’

I can do that.
And I will do that.
Because I am of the ‘good woman’ lineage and ‘blood is thicker than water’ belief system.

But there is another part of me – the mother who raised two children through the verbal abuse and parental neglect of an addicted and cruel birth father, and through the repetitive abuse cycles that rule family pain; the woman who has taught her (now almost grown) children that they have permission to refuse to be target of someone else’s pain – wants to scream from the motherfucking rooftops, THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Hurt people hurt people is not a good excuse.
It might be an observation or a straight up fact, but it does not make it okay.

Now, the truth is that I will accept their raging pain because ‘I can take it’ and because ‘they suffer’ and because ‘I am so blessed’ (There the assumption is I have too much joy in my life and therefore deserve to or ‘can take’ hurt). I will NOT refuse their abuse because I choose not to ADD to their pain.

But, while I am telling the truth … my feelings are hurt.

Even more than being a dumping ground for someone’s rage – or being called a hypocrite by someone I love – what hurts the most is the realization that some people think that I sit in a glittery pink fairy boat of fluffy white feelings and eternally sunshiny days, or that I have been bequeathed smooth sailing on life’s waters.

I don’t know of ANYONE who has paid for as much therapy and counselling, healing work, prayer, read as many books, or ran as many miles to process and make sense of their own pain and to battle their demons as I have. I may be a lot of things – including irritating – but I am not a hypocrite.

Just because my challenges aren’t your challenges doesn’t mean that when you lash out, I must take it.

Just because my challenges aren’t your challenges doesn’t mean I am not compassionate to your pain.

Just because I have fewer challenges today than I did 15 years ago, doesn’t mean I do not understand pain, heartache, abandonment, addiction, trauma and misery.

Just because you are in pain right now doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve to enjoy the peace and contentment I currently experience. Or that I should hold back on sharing the joy and fulfillment I currently have in my life. That is as crazy as saying to a comedian, ‘no one should be laughing while I cry.’ 

Our lives are fluid and no one knows what’s around the corner. One day I may suffer so greatly that I just want the rest of the world to hurt, too. Some day, I may have no hope left for the light – I may only see darkness and despair. I fully understand we are each guaranteed this – – – Change appears. Challenge arises. Death knocks.

With this deep understanding, I CHOOSE now,
in each and every moment that I catch a glimpse of it,
to stay grateful.
Hopeful.
Positive.
Irritatingly Polly-Anna-Mary Poppins-Rose-Coloured-Glasses-Fuzzy-Rainbow Farting-Baby-Unicorn happy.

And if me being me grates on your very last nerve – please, PLEASE stay away from me. Because the greatest part of my current state of peace and contentment comes from wholly accepting myself where I am now, in my light and in my dark, for my flaws and for my gifts. I poisoned and sabotaged myself for forty years before I figured out how to let myself be me.

I’m not about to let you pick up where I left off.

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