“Hurt people hurt people” is one of those silly phrases I was told long ago in the rooms of recovery, but I never quite understood what it meant until I let go of a life of resentment and saw all the damage I had done to others.
When a person is angry and lives with resentments more than not, they definitely are hurting inside and usually can’t see beyond it. They are kind of like a wild animal as well, who regularly lashes out at everyone around them, especially those who are close and try to help.
For years, I was that type of person, living with so many resentments, like towards my parents, or the guy who molested when I was a kid, or the bullies that dominated me in grammar school, or even towards all the people who seemed like they were far happier in life than I.
You see, hurt people don’t like seeing others happy or even content in life, because they aren’t happy or content inside. This in turn generally causes them to try to make those who are happy and content totally miserable, because if they succeed, then they won’t have to see anymore the very thing that’s lacking in them, that being happiness.
To accomplish this, hurt people hurt people by pointing out the flaws and imperfections of others, by giving people guilt trips, by living in self-made pity parties that tend to make plenty feel sad and sorrowful for them, and even at times by cutting off contact to the very people who love and care about them, almost as a way to punish them, sometimes with the hopes that it will drive the other person to do more to show they care. Unfortunately, if they succeed in any of these negative tactics, and the person they hurt becomes hurt as well, they tend to only push them away and never even own the damage they are causing and just move on to doing it to someone else.
That was me…for far too long.
I despised seeing people happy in life, especially during all my addiction-laden years, because I wasn’t happy inside and was carrying around so much anger and hatred towards the world for what I felt it had done to me or from what it had that I didn’t. I rarely fully forgave anyone and resentment became my best friend. It kept people away from growing close to me and in turn, only left me in a perpetual state of being hurt, doing the very same lashing out behaviors over and over again.
To escape this vicious cycle, I had to leave my past behind and had to accept my present circumstances. I had to forgive and let go. And I had to get in touch with that little kid inside me who was so hurt, who had closed his heart off long ago.
While I do still hurt in my life today, with the ongoing health issues I’m doing my best to accept and work through, I have forgiven everyone and everything from my past and I continue to draw closer to God every day to keep my heart open. Because I know that as soon as I move away from my daily practices of drawing closer to my Higher Power, I immediately start to feel anger and resentment building up within me all over again, and that wall forming around my heart once more. And that’s definitely not the direction I ever want to go in again in life.
Sadly, I know of a number of people who still live like this, who walk around with a ton of hurt, who are totally unaware of the damage they continue to cause themselves and to those who care about them. Unfortunately, I’ve been on the receiving end of this at times, but thankfully, I now understand how it feels, which has helped me to have a lot more compassion.
I’m sure you know people like this, people who harbor anger and resentment, who hurt so badly inside, they end up hurting others because of it. I wish I could say there was something you could do to help them, but believe me, there isn’t. All you can do is pray they begin to go within and find forgiveness. They need to be the ones who wake up and finally see the damage they are causing themselves and others by holding onto all that hurt. And of course, they need to be the ones to do something about it.
It took a steady stream of physical pain to ultimately make me see this for myself, but thank God for that pain, because at least now I’m aware of what I did and at least now I don’t want to do it to anyone else ever again. And on those days when I have let my pain get the best of me and have fallen back into the old pattern of hurting others because of it, I immediately seek forgiveness and own it.
The bottom line is that I don’t want to be a hurt person who hurts others. I don’t want to be a wild beast anymore that is regularly negative, angry, and resentful. Rather, I want to be someone who does his best to remain positive, to be uplifting, and unconditionally loving to everyone. The only way I know how to do this is to keep forgiving and keep drawing closer to the One who helped me finally see it.
So, I pray for all those out there who are really hurting inside, for whatever the reason. I know how it feels. Trust me, I get it. But, please know it’s not helping you to hold onto it and remain in that pain, no matter what’s it about. It’s only going to keep causing you more hurt and more than likely, going to cause you to hurt others as well. Let go and let your Higher Power guide you out of the darkness. Because once you do, and once you see the hurt you’ve caused yourself and others, I’m sure you won’t want to be one of those “hurt people hurt people” anymore in life…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson