Hurt People do not have to Hurt PeopleAuthor: L.G. Fuller
It is true that most people that live with pain that they cannot let go of for whatever reason; engage in behavior that is hurtful to others. While this is true there is another choice or perception for those that have experienced significant pain is possible. Pain can be so significant that it inhibits a person's ability to be healthy or have healthy relationships. Doctor Faustus was a popular play written by Christopher Marlowe. The most remembered and quoted line in that play translates in English to "Misery Loves Company"; if there was no truth in that statement then it would have been long since forgotten.
Most people believe that mean, hurtful, vindictive, manipulative, or abusive people choose to hurt others because they enjoy it. That may be true in some cases involving people with antisocial or psychopathic personality disorders but for the most part it is a misconception. People that have been hurt and are unable or unwilling to let go of the way they perceive their painful experience(s) often hurt others because hurting others and getting hurt is all they know. I realize that may be difficult for some people to understand but that does not make it any less true. Many people that live with pain that inhibits their health do so because they have never been taught or have never learned to process their pain in a healthy way that allows them to live happy, healthy, productive lives.
People that have been abused as children and or people witnessed and or experienced domestic violence or abuse, or have been so traumatized they become brain washed by their experience. They never learn or forget how to be healthy. People that have been traumatized or indoctrinated by abuse and or violence begin to perceive that as their normal and they lose touch with societal norms. They believe they must gain and maintain power and control over everything and everyone around them in order to survive and or thrive. If you are hurting other people then they will not be in any position to hurt you. Many abusive people think that if they can gain power and use that power to control others they can never be the victim of abuse. As you can imagine this is a very destructive way to perceive life and it always yields negative outcomes.
Some people learn this behavior from witnessing from their own abuser(s). Some people grow up with or around abusive people and people that have a need to play a passive role to an aggressor. These people grow up and as adults surround themselves with people that are also abusive or those they feel can be easily abused. This prevents them from experiencing healthy high functioning members of society, thus validating the belief that abusing others or being abuse is just a normal part of life. Most people do what they know; they often do not have the knowhow or resources to make different choices so the cycle of abuse continues for generations.
People that hurt and express that pain by hurting others often feel bad about their behavior because on some level they realize it is wrong to hurt people. The cycle can never end unless someone has the intelligence, tenacity and strength of character to find another way. When pain is the norm, a life without pain seems impossible. Nothing is impossible, but change is hard. Habituating new patterns of behavior removes you from your comfort zone and being uncomfortable to some is just another type of pain further, validating that person's belief that life is pain causing further angst and despair. Change is scary because you are traveling into the unknown. That can be terrifying especially to someone that is already hurt and afraid. Life can be unfair, you cannot control your circumstances and sometimes bad things happen to good people.
You can, however, control how you perceive the curve balls life inevitably throws at your face. Maya Angelo says "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." That isalso true of memories of past experiences. You cannot chance the past but you can change how you feel about it. Learning to appreciate life for all that it has to offer is not only liberating but it is healthy as well. We live in an information age surrounded by billions of other people, there is always another way to perceive life and the experiences that is has provided. People may not realize it but there is a wealth of resources for anyone that wants to make a commitment to making positive changes in their lives. There is always hope you just have to be willing to learn the lessons and feel the feelings associated with them without regressing back to familiar unhealthy patterns of behavior. Again, this is not easy but it is worth it.
Do not let go of your commitment to change because it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar, anything of great value cannot be obtained easily. To quote my mother, "the truth isn't always pretty and life's not all sunshine and butterflies."That said, I can assure that feeling the pain or unpleasantness associated with the lessons that are apparently essential to your growth and development is never as bad as the time you spend paralyzed with fear avoiding it. Growing pains are associated with growth for a reason, it hurts. People have to make choice, they can get hurt and find comfort in the victim role or the role of the abuser and find themselves stuck in patterns of behavior that facilitates the same old problems with no end in sight. Or people can learn that pain can be a necessary tool to learn and grow. Once that realization is made many people choose to experience the temporary pain associated with growth rather than the permanent pain associated with resisting the pain in life's lessons. You can chose to remain stagnant in pain and do everything possible to bestow as much pain as possible on others contributing to the misery of others. Those choices will only hurt you and everyone around you and that is a tragically unnecessary negative outcomes.
Life is all about choices it is time to make yours. There will always be bad days but don't let those bad days consume you. You can stop living in fear of the storm enjoy dancing to the beats provided by the thunder. One of my best and oldest friends is an amazing caregiver and healthcare professional. Her career choice was a direct result of a tragic loss she experienced as a young child that destroyed her family. That tragic loss resulted in an enormous amount of adversity but instead of letting life beat her down she rose up in spite of her circumstances. She became a nurse, then charge nurse, and so on until she successfully ran one of the best Cardiac Critical Care units in the Country for more than a decade. This is just one example of a person rising above their circumstances and choosing to learn how to make help people during their times of tragedy. Her actions helped prevent countless others from having to experience the same kind of pain she did.
Change it not easy but with an open mind, willingness to get uncomfortable you can ensure you can learn and grow every day. Break the cycle abuse because you can. You will not only feel better and have a healthier life but you could save countless others from suffering the same fate that caused you so much pain.
I am a happily married working wife and mother. I am an advocate for children as well as survivors of domestic violence/abuse. I have enjoyed helping people in the healthcare industry for more than 10 years now.I have finally decided to take Joseph Campbell's advice and follow my bliss, which is being of service to others.