04: Hurt People

For a long time I’ve seen this as symbolic of where © and I are, but this morning, as I searched for an image to reflect where I am today, I realized this image I took is also symbolic of my relationship to Pain.

Me: “Just because she doesn’t love me doesn’t mean I have to stop loving her.”

Doctor Deb: “Just because she doesn’t speak to you doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. She’s shown you repeatedly over seven years, she doesn’t speak up. Stop telling youself stories.”

Hurt people hurt people

When you deeply hurt someone that loves you, it is difficult to find a place of perspective. 

Hurt people hurt people, while true, is no excuse to hurt them back. I deeply hurt someone that passionately loves me, someone, I deeply love. 

Our pain is real. 

In ©’s acute pain she reacted in ways that hurt me based on her pain, based on a lifetime of conditioning. It was no more intentional than the horse that kicks when startled or the snake that bites when trampled or the child that screams when their fingers are closed in the car door. 

I wish I knew sooner what I know now, and responded better. Instead, in the face of her hurt I ran around flailing my arms trying to fix something I broke – and like a frightened bull I pursued again and again through a shop full of emotional China. 

In guessing how to take responsibility and fix ©, I made my pain and fear more important than hers and in the process hurt her again…and again. 

And like the Distancer she is, she fell into the role she knows, and stepped aside striking my flank again and again like a Matador.

Except in our case, neither of Us was trying to hurt the other, those were simply consequences, but rather each of Us was responding to our hurt the best way we know. What we really were trying to avoid was our own pain and we confused what was happening Outside with what was happening Inside.

Both well-intentioned and malicious Outsiders hijacked our pain making it worse, isolating Us further from Our broken hearts, and the vulnerability that would allow Us to heal — together or apart.

Dangerous and emotionally-ill Splitters, with their own damage, isolated Us further from one another forcing Us to both carry the unmet and healthy need to face traumas we don’t understand. As these people know nothing but the most superficial aspects of my behavior or details of our relationship, as such they resort to creating elaborate and imagined narratives based on their own experiences and project them into Us.

Foreshadowing? Halloween 2016.

Heroes repeatedly stepped forward playing to a Damsel perpetuating ©’s role as a Damsel and themselves as Knights. As a result, she was further isolated, so that ten months later, when given the opportunity to face me, © ran, again, and another Broken Knight stepped forward refueling a Drama Triangle they imagine exists.

And this cycle plays out for months and months. The cycle stopped for me when I started inward instead of outward for a solution. It was only when I sat and waited with my pain and stopped responding did things begin to change. Only when I started treating my pain as a friend could I sit and listen to what It was saying.

Of course, the difficulty is the damage is so deep, so ingrained into the taproot of the relationship, so infused with Outsider poisons, the experience becomes about self-serving storytelling and not working to heal the wounds.

I am sorry for the wounds I inflicted on © but I cannot unring the bell…all I can do is not ring it again and instead strike a new bell. 

Which is how I’m trying to live my life now, not motivated by humiliation and shame (because that is not living) but with a radical acceptance (Psychology Today) this moment IS my life and with an awareness of the impermanence (The Center for Mindfulness Studies) of even this moment…

In reality, I care deeply, passionately, and unconditionally for this woman but I cannot heal her wound (or her for mine) or be responsible for her well-being (or her for mine), all I can do, if she would let me is hold her hand and listen to her pain sing…but it is clear © won’t let me.

But when someone betrays you so fundamentally, as I did her, the last thing you want is for that person to offer comfort. The horse, the snake, and the child don’t mean to hurt you, they are simply reacting to their fear and pain and verbalizing it the only way they know how.

That isn’t personal, that is conditioning.

can be the greatest fireman in the world but all is lost if I’m also the one that started the fire.

If I were her I wouldn’t take me back either as it was, and knowing this I hurt…but it is my hurt and not hers…and so now I don’t lash back. 

Instead, I buy my Pain a cup of tea and try to listen, and give it a voice.

And still eleven months later, the Pain still has something to say.


Untranslatable Words: Mono No Aware, and the Aesthetics of Impermanence

SIDEBAR: I’ve been spending a lot of energy focusing on impermanence. This morning, in researching an reflecting on the impermanence and the gifts attached to my experience with C, I found this understanding: Mono no aware.

If you are interested at all, this is the best description I have found.

I’ll write about my experience with this concept soon.

“This is where mono no aware comes in. With this mood, acceptance of impermanence and insubstantiality is elevated into an aesthetic sensibility, a state of mind that actually appreciates this ephemerality. This does not mean impermanence is welcomed or celebrated. There is still sadness present in mono no aware, a sorrow at this transiency, of the loss of people and things that are precious to us. However, this melancholy is suffused with a quiet rejoicing in the fact that we had the chance to witness the beauty of life at all, however fleetingly. We are sighing rather than weeping.”