Monday, 27 January 2014

Ow, that hurts

I'm quite susceptible to little hurts. A dozen times a day I feel hurt that I've been rejected, or ignored, or slighted, or not appreciated, or not understood, or treated brusquely.

But they're only little hurts, a bit like nettle stings or pinpricks. They only last a minute or two and then they're forgotten. I'm too resilient to dwell on them for long. I don't magnify every little hurt into a tearful melodrama. I shrug them off as a trivial part of daily life, just a sign of the rough and tumble of a hectic world.

The big hurts are a different story. The sort of hurt when a long-time friend suddenly snubs me, or my professional competence is doubted, or someone questions my sincerity or integrity. That goes deeper, like a thorn in my flesh. It pierces through the usual resilience and lodges somewhere, constantly resurfacing in bursts of bewildered pain.

That's the sort of hurt that can't just be shrugged off, though I'm still able to see it philosophically as an unfortunate but inevitable part of being human. I'm not the type of person who deals with serious hurt by getting bitter and vengeful, trying to cause as much hurt as was done to me.

I know some people would say that's a cop-out, that I'm bottling up my feelings and it's far healthier to ease the hurt by flinging it back where it came from. But that's not the way I see it. I want to drain the hurt, not add to it. So I keep it to myself and let it run its natural course.

Then again there's the biggest hurt of all, which is grief. Luckily up till now I've never experienced major, all-consuming grief, and I hope I never have to. I can only imagine how I might cope with it. Very well? Very badly? Probably the latter. Such excruciating hurt would knock me for six.

23 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

This condition is called "human", Nick and shows we're alive. Very normal for caring, compassionate people.

I carry the deeper ones with me always. Baffling estrangements particularly. (what on earth did I do to cause such offence?)

And death hurts. I'm dealing with one at the moment.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: I've had a few very baffling estrangements in my time. As you say, what on earth did I do?

Bijoux said...

"A dozen times a day . . ."? It sounds like you need to find better people to spend your time with!

Nick said...

Bijoux: Well, I am talking about little hurts. Just all those small ways in which other people treat you too casually and make you feel a bit irrelevant or inferior. Not good friends obviously. I'm thinking more of strangers and acquaintances and work colleagues.

Grannymar said...

Little hurts, like a piece of grit in a shoe - irritating but not life threatening.

John Gray said...

Grief is a strange one
I have grieved MORE ( outwardly) about a dog.......than ever I did for my parents
.............

Nick said...

Grannymar: Oh, not at all life-threatening. But more than irritating - like having your knuckles rapped with a ruler, perhaps.

John: That's very common, I think. I know a lot of people who've been devastated by the death of a pet. Whereas a parent you never got on with - there's not a lot to grieve over.

Cheerful Monk said...

I was lucky by being dumped by my best friend when I was 13. I figured it was my fault until several years later when we became friends again. It turns out she was jealous of me because I had a family and she didn't. Her mother had died and her father was fairly old. He was a hard-working Italian immigrant but didn't relate very well to his daughter. Lesson learned. It's not always about me. People get hurt in life and hurt one another. It's sad, but we don't have to pass it on.

Helen Devries said...

My husband and I were the subjects of malicious gossip when living in France...from the local Britpack.
I still don't know why...but it was very hurtful.
I'm quite good at forgiving...but not at forgetting.

Jenny Woolf said...

Unfairness can be very hurtful too, but I suppose the only thing to do is try to get over it, banal though that sounds. There just isn't another way....

Nick said...

Jean: Indeed, it's not always about ourselves, which is a good reason for not dwelling on the hurt. And yes, we all hurt each other from time to time, intentionally or otherwise. It can't be avoided.

Helen: Luckily I don't think I've ever been the object of malicious gossip. The odd snide remark is about all I get. A coordinated gossip campaign must be a nasty experience.

Nick said...

Jenny: I agree, unfairness is also hurtful. And it's easy to obsess on the unfairnesses and forget the ways in which we've been surprisingly lucky.

Cheerful Monk said...

About little things sometimes being harder to deal with than big ones. As the saying goes, you can sit on a mountain, but you can't sit on a tack.

Nick said...

Jean: Very true! And it's the accumulated effect of all those little hurts that can get to you sometimes.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Seriously a dozen little hurts a day? I can go days without even a hint of a little hurt.

As for the big hurts, it is absolutely NOT healthier to fling it back. Practicing anger or unkind behavior simply magnifies it and leads to more of the same. The research on it supports this, so it's not just my opinion. Assertively speaking up is a better option when that might produce some change, or just allowing yourself to be sad or angry and then getting on with your life.

Nick said...

Agent: Well, maybe a dozen is more like a really bad day, but they do stack up. Just this morning for instance, I got an apparent rejection from someone I valued, which stung a little.

Glad you agree flinging the hurt back is not at all healthy.

Keith said...

You have my sympathy. I know exactly how you feel. It's an old cliché I know, but it's true. For a long time I looked after two people who were ill and housebound and did everything I could for them; shopping, chauffeuring, odd jobs etc. They are up and about again.

Now I'm crippled with arthritis. Now I look around and think 'Where are the people who said I was so good to them, where have they gone?'

Yes, it hurts.

susie said...

I'm thin-skinned. My son was very upset about his haircut today, and I was hurting for him. No one bothered me today, though.

I have a new blog. Got tired of the old one. Click on Susie is you want to. One sad little post.

Nick said...

Keith: Oh, that's hurtful indeed. As the cliché goes, when you need support you discover who your real friends are. I hope at least you have some family to lean on.

Susie: I don't usually hurt for other people, though I do very much empathise. Funny how traumatic a bad haircut can be, even when you know it'll grow out again in a week or two.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Yes, it's part of being human; the crappy part. I'm with you. The little pinpricks are hurtful but not wounding. The things that make you question your self-worth, those really hurt. Betrayal by friends, suggestions that you are incompetent, unkind, mendacious, dishonest - those things can challenge your whole view of yourself in the world and that is extremely unsettling.

While it's good to question yourself from time to time, it's YOU who should be doing the questioning. Don't let other people's baggage weigh you down. We should do an honest assessment ('could there be any truth in this?') and then shrug it off.

Easier to say than to do, however. I suffer greatly from these things and find it very, very hard to shrug them off.

Grief? Ah, that is another thing entirely. It makes you feel so helpless.

Nick said...

Jay: True, anything that questions self-worth is especially wounding. And I can't help wondering whether there's a grain of truth in what was said. But on the whole I bounce back pretty quickly and I don't beat myself up over other people's criticisms.

Rummuser said...

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Nick said...

Ramana: I don't think that's entirely true, whatever the great man said. Yes, to some extent I can choose whether to feel hurt or whether to feel indifferent. But sometimes hurt just throbs away in the background despite my conscious wish to dissolve it.