Hurt Me and I Hurt You
What do you do when you feel you have been wronged?
Sometimes we need to cut people off in our lives just to keep our sanity, our self-esteem intact, and our lives happy and fulfilling. We all may have toxic people in our lives. Sometimes these toxic people are close and personal and sometimes it may be some outside of our close network but still in our lives. So the toxic person at work is easy to deal with because we can ignore them and at the very least we know we don’t have to take them home with us. They should take the least out of us emotionally, though I know that is not always the case. We know we have to deal with them on a professional level but you definitely don’t have to deal with them outside of that.
Then there is the person in the drive through. They have an attitude with you for no apparent reason. Don’t take this personal. Actually, at the end of the day, regardless of the relationship you cannot take any of it personal. I know this is hard because toxic people can actually rub off on you. One person makes you feel responsible for their hurt and now here you are pulling off out the drive through and yelling at the person that accidentally cut you off. Then when you get to work someone doesn’t smile at you or say good morning and you internalize that. Then you scoff at the next person for some minor transgression.
Then there are family members, usually in your close knit circle of people. As we know people closest to us tend to hurt us the most with the slightest of transgressions. Sometimes they hurt us the most with the most serious transgressions as well. These are the people we tend to cut off and cut out of our lives. Please do not misunderstand me; we often need to cut toxic people out of our lives. However, it does not mean that every time someone hurts you in some minor way do you need to cut them out of your life or out of your support circle. You will notice that your support circle will no longer exist if you continue to do so. We are human and we have feelings and when our feelings are hurt we tend to do one or more of these things: we slash out, we cutoff, we cut out, or we internalize.
When we slash out we hurt someone either knowingly or unknowingly and usually not the person that hurt you, misdirected anger. When we cutoff we decide I will not deal with the person anymore so any dealings with that person becomes superficial, phony, distant, eventually non-existent. When we cut out, which usually comes from a deep hurt, we no longer deal with that person at all. We try to act like they never existed. This may be necessary at the time but eventually you have to find a way to resolve the hurt within you. If you find you cut people out of your life often revisit why and see if the reason makes sense. If you don’t remember why then it probably wasn’t that deep that you should have cut that person out of your life. You may also need to look in the mirror and examine yourself.
Then there is internalization which is probably the most destructive of them all because it is us attacking us, blaming us, and shaming ourselves. If you find yourself internalizing the hurt that someone else is causing you then you should seek help. Internalization is a self-destructive way of coping with your hurts. It is a way of really not dealing with the problem at all and making yourself the problem. This is where our depression comes from, our suicidality, our drug use, our promiscuity, our self -loathing, and self-hatred comes from us hurting us. If someone is making you feel this way then you must cut them off until you are able to deal with the problem. Internalization is often how toxic people become toxic. They have no way to express their own hurts except through their general contempt for life, i.e. people in general. When you internalize their hurt you become them.
So what do you? First, and foremost, you should try to talk to the person that hurt you directly, without internalizing what they did.
True Scenario: I had a person send me a very hurtful letter. This was someone in my closest of close circles. I didn’t even know why or what I had done for this person to send something so hurtful. I responded by sending a letter of my own back to the person. The letter I sent was not a letter of retaliation, quite the contrary. Among other things it suggested the person get help for whatever pain or distress they may be feeling. Now had I received this letter when I was 16 years old I might have internalized it and become really messed up behind it; however, I received this letter at a time in my life where I was emotionally healthy, pretty self-assured and at a point where I would not allow others to dictate who I am or who I will become. So although the letter hurt me deeply, made me angry, and caused me some emotional turmoil it did not cause me to slash out, cut off, cut out, or internalize. Eventually, I did cut that person out of my life because when they realized they could not affect me they began to enlist others on their toxic band wagon. I was then faced with the choice of cutting off all those that joined on the band wagon; however I chose not to. Slowly, but surely, some of those people are coming back around and I allow; key word “allow” them, to be part of my outer circle. I have no need or desire to cut them out completely. It would serve me no purpose. It would only make my circle nonexistent which would lead to isolation, loneliness, regret, and eventually that stuff you start to internalize. You will start say things like “I wonder what is wrong with me”, “why doesn’t anyone like me”. The person that sent the nasty letter would win. I won’t allow that to happen!
Secondly, and most importantly, if you do feel for your own sanity and self-esteem that you need to cut someone out or off then don’t allow the collateral damage. If the person is a problem, just as you realized it others will soon realize it as well, especially as they began to grow as individuals. People can only be under a spell for so long.
Third, but not least, the best way to deal with someone who has hurt you or who is trying to hurt you is to enjoy life, move on, move outward, move upward, and prosper. They will decide to either join you or stay stuck in the mud. Just don’t get down in the mud with them.