Friday, 9 August 2013
Childhood bullying, a vile-tempered father, failed friendships, failed romances, tyrannical bosses, nasty betrayals and rejections. Painful at the time and still painful many years later.
Those glib phrases "Get over it", "Deal with it", "Put it all behind you" are easy enough to say, not so easy to practise. Hurt isn't something you can just put in a rubbish bag and throw in the trash. It lingers, it loiters, it refuses to die.
You can come to terms with it. You can suppress it. You can take it to a therapist. You can pretend it's nothing much. You can take it out on other people. But at the end of the day it's still there, it's something you actually felt in all its raw intensity, and that has to leave a scar of some kind, a psychic wound. It happened and it's not going to unhappen. Somehow it has to be dealt with.
I have a bad memory. I'll forget the vicious words that someone used, the brutal look on their face, the clinical phrases in a redundancy letter. But I don't forget the cold way I was treated, the unkindness, the harshness.
I'm a forgiving person. But even when I can put myself in the other person's shoes, even when I can half-understand why they did what they did, what their motives were, what the catalyst was, it doesn't take away the pain.
Pain can cut you to the quick. It can break your heart. It can tear you to pieces. If I let it all out in its sheer extremity, I would be a jibbering lunatic. Like everyone else, I find ways of subduing it, of damping it down, of keeping it safely tucked away somewhere deep in my being.
Pain is the hidden shadow in everyone's identity. They may smile and chirp for other people's benefit, but who knows what they're keeping under wraps?