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Author Topic: Should You Tell Someone if They Have Hurt You?  (Read 4120 times)
penelope
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« on: September 02, 2006, 02:29:25 PM »

This is something I struggle with.  I don't know that it's necessary for healing/getting over it, and of course there is a right way to tell someone they have hurt you...but how and why have you found it necessary to tell 1) ex or current spouses   2) family members  3) your N   4) current or former employers/bosses   5) any other significant people in your life, that they've hurt you?

Please expound if you can.  I'm interested in hearing all the details (thoughts/feelings/rationalizations/things you've read or heard from a T), even if they seem trivial.

thanks,
pb
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Stormchild
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2006, 03:26:29 PM »

So much depends on whether it's a setting in which referring to hurt feelings is seen as appropriate -
so much depends on whether it's a person in whom you have confidence of good faith -
so much depends on whether it's an issue re which hurt feelings are in and of themselves "appropriate" to bring up.

For instance - in the movie 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid' - Steve Martin's character goes bananas when someone says 'cleaning woman'. That's more about him, than about the person who says the words... Wink

But on the opposite side... in my workplace, a woman made a racist remark. I called her on it; very explicitly. Yes, that says something about me, but it's something I'm not at all ashamed of.

Normally, I guess, I try not to refer to my feelings, in discussing processes and transactions, except with people whom I can legitimately expect to care about them. I will, though, refer to boorish or abusive behavior. I use terms like 'unprofessional', 'inappropriate', or 'counterproductive', because that's true and it takes the focus off my emotions. And if those words are too mild to get the point across, I have no problem with the words boorish, or abusive. Wink.

hope this helps.
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Hopalong
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2006, 07:48:22 PM »

If they don't care how I feel, I am learning not to tell them.
The worst time was telling my D, and being "punished" for it with rejection.
But after about a month...she came back, behaving respectfully.

No direct apology, but I think she can't do that yet.
I don't know why but I think it's because if she owns it, she's disabled with shame because she doesn't yet have the perspective to forgive herself (so can't admit openly to wrong).

Very complicated. But in her case, I do believe she loves me. Hope so anyway.

I guess I don't see the point in telling someone if you know they could care less or you'll never see them again. I think there's short-term satisfaction in saying how you feel, and perhaps the hope of planting a seed....but my experience with Ns is that it doesn't usually do anything to them but it may damage my dignity. Then again...there have been some times when I've spoken my pain to someone whom I knew didn't care because my conviction about speaking it was stronger than my concern for my pride/dignity. So maybe sometimes there might be a deeper dignity in being truthfully hurt when I'm hurt. Sort of about me speaking for myself, whether or not a person who hurt me is listening.

Mostly though, I think when I tell people of hurt, it's more likely going to be in a story, poem, sermon...maybe to help someone I don't know reflect, if they want to. And I do feel if I've been gratuitously hurt by someone I feel is untrustworthy and I see someone else in their sights then I will warn that person if I can.

I've heard it said that poets have a tendency sometimes to be more emotionally naked. It can be difficult but it can also feel like a different sort of strength. Depends...it can backfire, or inspire.

Rambling on (doubt this is much use to you, Pb, but I hope to learn.)

Thanks, Pb, for another thoughtful topic.
Hops
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penelope
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 08:00:54 PM »

hey, it's all useful to me.  Thanks for all these thoughtful posts everyone...

hops, I was thinking about if you find you're depressed thinking about some specific incident, where someone has hurt you and you know you should have stuck up for yourself at the time, but didn't have the strength.  So kind of going back to "make amends" or whatever.  Telling that person:  you know, that thing you did really hurt me.  I just got back from a T appointment and my T said - bean, "you have a hard time telling people what you think they won't want to hear, don't you?"  and I said Yes!!!  she said:  what are you afraid of?  I said, their disapproval...

But sometimes, perhaps it is the person's disapproval that should be welcomed? 

I don't know if I'm making sense or not.  In other words, if there's a high risk they will hurt others, like hops said, you can warn Them about what they've done to you, not just others...
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Hopalong
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2006, 08:44:29 PM »

Good point, PB.
AFTER I get a new job and am safely gone,
it will be very tempting to write a note to the two psychologist bosses I had here, and explain to them what a shock it was to find the research environment was so cold, uncaring, even ruthless. How I told them my strengths and limitations with scrupulous honesty when I was interviewed, and they later blamed me for not being someone I never said I was. (While sucking up my writing and editing ability for their million+ grants with great persistence.) Whew, I've never felt quite so used, professionally.

I'm not sure I'll want to then...but you're right PB, there are times when it might wake someone up.

Hops
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Certain Hope
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2006, 11:38:53 PM »

Hi Pb,

  The ex who was so very NPD and psycho and schizoid all rolled into one hairy package.... yes, I tried to tell him when I was hurt. He was always hurt worse, of course. The idea that I would dare to feel pain in his glorious presence was inconceivable to him and wounded him deeply. One of his very favorite lines: "It was not my intention...."   

   I would have given up on telling anyone how I feel about anything if it weren't for my current husband, who has been an enabler in the very best sense of the term. Imagine that... some enabling is good! ( Cool Jac ).  He invites me to talk not just about thoughts and facts but about how I feel ... and I'm not even sure how he does it, just that I know it's safe. He can tell me of his good intentions and I know they really were good!

   Still, I would be very, very selective about sharing hurts. And really... I have a sense of it being only those to whom we are the closest who can create such wounds in our being in the first place. ooo... horrible sentence structure there, but I hope you'll get it.  You know what I think is one of the most painful wounds of all... is being misunderstood. That doesn't hurt nearly so much when it's a stranger who has taken us amiss, I don't think. But when an intimate doesn't "get" us, that hurts. All the more reason to be open and transparent with those closest... because the original wound is nothing like the one which will fester if we don't reach out in trust to express our true feelings.

   You're going places, Pb. I can just feel it  Smile

Love,
Hope
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reallyME
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2006, 08:38:14 AM »

I definitely told Jodi that she hurt me.  Why?  I am the type of person who will let ya know how I feel.  I think holding in feelings is denial and it aggravates me when people do that.

When I told Jodi "when you ignored me for 5 weeks during my visit to your house, I felt very hurt,"  her response was, "I never meant to hurt you, Laura.  That's just not my heart."  From there it went to, "I can't BELIEVE you don't know me better than that, than to think my heart was to hurt you."  Finally, it turned into, "Well, since I just hurt everyone I'm around, I'm better off just stepping away from all of you."  (this was all in the same first minutes of a convo, and she responds this way with ANYONE who points out something she did wrong to them)

Jodi can NOT handle the feeling of GUILT for something she has done wrong.  If a convo gets into anything about how someone was hurt by her, she will go through the above response and then finally say, "ok, let's change the topic because this is not fruitful."  (of course, if she has someone that hurt HER, different story entirely)

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WRITE
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2006, 09:48:00 AM »

I thought about this for a few days before responding, it's not as simple as it seems from all the different answers but my thoughts are

*in general people can only own their behaviour and not someone else's response to it.

When someone hurts me it's for a complex set of reasons most of which are not to do with them.

In some cases it's really clear cut say the guys who assaulted my friend- but most times people aren't even aware of how their words or actions have hurt us because they didn't intend them to or they saw things differently.

*I think it's fine to acknowledge to ourselves the effect of someone's behaviour on us, to write a letter and get out our anger- but not send it. Wait.

Most times I have been really angry by how someone's behaviour made me feel it has taken me some time to get some perspective on it.

I see now situations in which I felt disempowered or vulnerable and I attached much more importance- gave much more power to- people around me.

Sometimes they hurt me by simply refusing that responsibility- such as the neighbours who didn't help when I was sick.

And other situations, like work, I've found time vindicates because the person who maligned or undermined me goes on to demonstrate a pattern of behaviours over time that no one could see at first except the one on the receiving end.

*my ex uses a phrase: the mileage test

I have found it very useful over the years comparing desired outcomes to possible outcomes to likely outcome...and if they are all very different it doesn't pass the mileage test.

*some situations we just have to get out of and move on ourselves. It just keeps me stuck if I stay angry with someone, I get a lot of physical symptoms- aches and pains, high blood pressure, mental illness.

I'm terrible at letting go something but I'm learning that it's better to deal with the sadness of 'that didn't work out' than try to hold onto something unsatisfactory and painful, or try to make people accountable.

*and on making people accountable- even if someone apologises or makes restitution very often it's not enough because secretly what we want is for the relationship or situation to be what it seemed before or to have the potential it had before...and it can't.

Remember the Wendy Cope poem:

Defining the Problem

I can't forgive you. Even if I could,

You wouldn't pardon me for seeing through you

And yet I cannot cure myself of love

For what I thought you were before I knew you.


« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 09:49:54 AM by WRITE » Logged
Stormchild
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2006, 11:03:25 AM »

I've thought about this a bit more and think I can condense my own opinion even further:

If you think they would care that they hurt you, and if you think they are able to admit and regret hurting anyone, then telling them, appropriately, may ultimately strengthen your relationship.

If you think they neither know nor care, and if you are certain that your being hurt is an appropriate response to their actions, then telling them is quite probably not in your best interest, because there is no relationship; there is indifference.

If you think they know and don't care, you may want to tell them just to make sure; but then, be prepared to deal with what you learn, because after that, you won't be able to hide from the fact. In this case, there is not only no relationship, there is hostility where you thought a relationship was.

It amazes me how many supposed friendships are actually quite hostile, underneath, and how many people will go on for years tolerating subtle and not so subtle digs and barbs and other undermining, from people they continue to insist are their friends.

Edit in: OTOH, I guess with all the hostility directed against many of us in our FOOs or in marriages to Ns, a certain background level of hostility comes to feel 'normal'. Thinking back I remember when I first began to be able to detect it, and I was appalled not only at how much of it there was, but at how long I had tolerated and accommodated it, myself.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 11:21:08 AM by Stormchild » Logged

The only way out is through, and the only way to win is not to play.

"... truth is all I can stand to live with." -- Moonlight52

http://galewarnings.blogspot.com

http://strangemercy.blogspot.com

http://potemkinsoffice.blogspot.com
Certain Hope
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2006, 11:50:13 AM »

Stormy:  It amazes me how many supposed friendships are actually quite hostile, underneath, and how many people will go on for years tolerating subtle and not so subtle digs and barbs and other undermining, from people they continue to insist are their friends.

  I've never understood this either, especially in the context of marriage... a husband and wife who are constantly tearing each other down, both publicly and privately, fueling their mutual resentment and bitterness into a raging firestorm... as a matter of course!

  I am coming to the conclusion that some people cannot seem to function in life without at least one antagonistic relationship ~ without another human being on whom to unload all of his/her frustration and anger.  There seems to be a deep seated need to always have someone to blame, to berate, upon whom to fixate all of this misery. Personally, I think the misery is internal and these hostile digs and barbs are only another smokescreen to obscure the path to acceptance of individual responsibility for one's own unhappiness. The digs and barbs don't even have to be verbalized. I've seen in my own life a pattern in which I've internalize my resentments toward another because it's not been socially acceptable in my book to express such things aloud. All this stuff is going to flow someplace, and whether it's aimed outward or inward, the feeling of "you hurt me" is my responsibility... no one else's. I can choose to dwell on it and look for someplace in which to deposit its effects... or I can release it with the understanding that my best protection against further wounding is not to declare each hurt and look for satisfaction, but rather to learn how not to pick up offenses in the first place.

Hope
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Stormchild
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2006, 12:11:41 PM »

Absolutely, Hope.

Sometimes the only way to avoid picking up offenses is not to pick up the offenders in the first place - or to un-pick-them-up as soon as we know what we have on our hands.

You know the fable of the eagle and the snake? The one where the forest is flooding, and the venomous snake begs the eagle to carry it to safety, and the eagle refuses from fear of being bitten? And the snake promises it won't bite, so the eagle does rescue it, and of course, the snake immediately bites the eagle, as soon as they're both on dry land again?

And the eagle asks why, why did the snake do this, how could it do this? And the snake replies:

You knew what I was when you picked me up.

We don't have to hold onto snakes, we can toss them back into the woods. Smile
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The only way out is through, and the only way to win is not to play.

"... truth is all I can stand to live with." -- Moonlight52

http://galewarnings.blogspot.com

http://strangemercy.blogspot.com

http://potemkinsoffice.blogspot.com
Stormchild
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2006, 12:27:25 PM »

Good question tracks.

I hate to say it, but I've seen many and many a professed believer who was abusive, dishonest, etc. I've also seen many quite honest and ethical non-believers. [There are entire congregations, for example, which tacitly support wife-beating, on the hideous grounds that it is necessary to compel the wife's 'submission' to her husband.] So I don't make distinctions based on the faith the individual professes, but rather on the behavior the individual exhibits - the fruits they bear, if you like.

That being said, if I'm dealing with an ethical person who is also a Christian, I will approach them on both ethical and Christian grounds, if I think they care and would accept being approached.

If I'm dealing with an ethical non-Christian, I will approach them on ethical grounds, and if they react positively, especially if they react with surprise as well [at my being reasonable], I may then have an opportunity to share how my faith has clarified this issue for me.

If I'm dealing with people whose behavior has consistently demonstrated or suggested a lack of ethics, a lack of insight, or both, and no empathy, it doesn't matter to me what they claim to believe.

In re the non-believer to believer, I have been approached by non-Christians when I've been thoughtless or slighting towards them. In the cases I'm thinking of, their concerns were valid, and I heard them and apologized and did my best to mend my ways. In one case I was upbraided for slighting someone when I claimed to be a Christian, and I had to agree that the person was absolutely right, I wasn't living up to what I claimed to believe. This person's expression when I admitted this was amazing - clearly they had a chip on their shoulder about Christians, and clearly in the past they had not been heard and responded to... at this point, I think they see me as a 'special case', which is sad, because I just think they have been damaged more by phonies, so their count is off.

I don't know if this helps, but it's where I am on the matter. My bottom line is this: If I'm dealing with people whose behavior has consistently demonstrated or suggested a lack of ethics, a lack of insight, or both, and no empathy, it doesn't matter to me what they claim to believe.

I tend to come down more on the side of C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald, on this. I think God makes prizes of many whose presence in our future life will surprise us [e.g., Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus]... because only God knows the true heart and true beliefs of anyone. We can go by the fruits we see, but that mostly helps us avoid the most obviously dishonest. It doesn't help us determine what the honest may, deep in their hearts, sometimes in a place where they have no words for it, actually believe.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 12:41:33 PM by Stormchild » Logged

The only way out is through, and the only way to win is not to play.

"... truth is all I can stand to live with." -- Moonlight52

http://galewarnings.blogspot.com

http://strangemercy.blogspot.com

http://potemkinsoffice.blogspot.com
Stormchild
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2006, 12:32:13 PM »

oops - I omitted to mention that I make a clear distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation, also. Reconciliation takes both people being honest and making an effort. Forgiveness is unilateral.
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The only way out is through, and the only way to win is not to play.

"... truth is all I can stand to live with." -- Moonlight52

http://galewarnings.blogspot.com

http://strangemercy.blogspot.com

http://potemkinsoffice.blogspot.com
Certain Hope
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2006, 01:00:44 PM »

Hi Teartracks,

  You didn't ask me, but... I believe that every bit of the Bible is the God-breathed, inspired authority by which I am to live.

  Jesus said:   ... watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.    Luke 17:3


 To rebuke is to:    tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely, to admonish or charge sharply

(By the way... Young's Literal Translation uses the word "reform", not repent... clearly meaning an actual change of both heart and behavior.)

Jesus also said in (New Living Translation) Matthew 18:

  15 "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If that person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. If the church decides you are right, but the other person won't accept it, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.

  Pretty clear, I think.

Hope



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teartracks
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2006, 01:20:59 PM »




Certain Hope,

I was hoping you would weigh in. Those are amongst the scriptures that came to mind as I read Storms outline.  No matter the translation, I seem to fall into the category of believer who would believe it if the Bible said Jonah swallowed the Whale!  So there we go!

I truly respect both yours and Storms knowledge of the Bible, as well as some others who post.

teartracks

 
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