How to help hurting people
Are you are easily hurt? Do you hurt other people without intending to? Three things cause that:
(1) We speak out of our own hurt. German poet Hermann Hesse wrote: ‘If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.’ It helps to remember that people often lash out in response to what’s happening inside themselves.
(2) When we’re hurting, we get touchy. Let’s say you ignore a splinter in your finger, and it gets infected. Someone brushes up against it, and you yelp with pain, ‘You hurt me!’ However, the real problem is the splinter you haven’t sorted out. Hurting people overreact, over-exaggerate, and overprotect. They also over-influence. Counsellors who deal with couples in crisis say that emotionally one spouse ‘throws up’, and the other ‘cleans up’. Usually the one with the most pain does the most damage.
(3) Getting over our hurt takes time. Quick fixes don’t work. The kindest thing you can do when someone’s hurting is to show them you care. And if they’re willing, to help them work through their issues and get beyond the pain. Good things can come from bad situations. A cleaning company working on a sewer line under a city street found 61 diamond rings, numerous vintage coins, and silverware. It was an unpleasant job—but the workers were allowed to keep the valuables they found. You may have to deal with some pretty nasty stuff but, in the process, you may discover some treasures you didn’t know existed and, after all your hard work, end up with a great relationship.