Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hurt By People Who Mean Well

To many times in life, we have those busy bodies who think they are really trying to help us by their comments. I get it all the time in my life from people I know well to others who barely know me. Everyone thinks they have the "right answers" for us to LISTEN to.

Especially when it comes to talking about abuse from those who are survivors of child sexual abuse, the comments range from the following (and by no means is this an exhaustive list).

"Well maybe now you can move on and get past this"

"You just need to stay positive with your life and forget all of this bad stuff"

"You just need to let go of these things and give them up to God"

"God will take care of everything"

"Just pray about it"

"You need to forgive those that did this to you"

"I no longer let this stuff rule my life - I've healed from it all"

"It's time to move on"

"Let bygones by bygones"

"I just think happy thoughts"

And if these statements don't do enough, there are the families that use the "silent treatment" hoping that if they ignore you, it will all go away. I know that one well because it is used against me all the time. They think that the "silent treatment" will bring me into line and I've got a news bulletin for them - IT WON'T! The silent treatment helps others to ignore things that are just messy for them to think about. It is like it makes it so convenient for them to live their lives.

Going back to the statements above for a moment, I'm sure you have heard these or others like them. There are many more that could be added to the list. While these people appear to mean well, most of the time their comments are about as insensitive as you can get. These comments often hurt those that are forced to hear them. Granted, we've all probably made comments at one time or another where we weren't as sensitive and understanding as we could be.

I often find though that the people who think they have healed or moved on are usually just kidding themselves. By them trying to get you to not talk about these things, makes it easier for them to not have to face up with that painful side of their life. They won't admit that to themselves or to you but if you look beyond the words and read between the lines, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Healing from past issues of our life or healing from being a survivor of child abuse isn't like you wake up one day and poof, it no longer affects your life or matters to you. It is a process where you put more and more distance between you and the traumatic moments your mind has recorded. However, healing is not about masking the pain of the past or wishing and hoping it wasn't there.

Healing is about going into the pain and becoming more aware and conscious. The more you become aware of in your life, it leads to further healing. The more healing you get, the more you become aware of your life. It is an ongoing cycle of life that we should all be engaged in regardless of what we have been through in our lives.

So, if we act like everything is completely fine in our life or that we have moved on, it usually means I don't want to deal with the painful part of my life that I know exists. It means that I'd rather like to just ignore it as I can't deal with it. It does not mean that what we try to state is actually what it means. As hard as we try to silence the message, until the messenger is heard, it cannot be silenced. We can try but at some point, the messenger will be so strong that it will get our attention and hopefully we listen to it before it is too late.

You can run from your past but it will always be there. Eventually, it will catch up with you. It is up to each one of us whether we will continue running or we will become one with our past.

But please - if you are not wanting to deal with situations in your life, don't hurt others by throwing around insensitive comments. At least respect where they are at in their lives but don't just inflict your own pain upon them through your hurtful comments. It does not do a body good.

(c) 12/5/10 by Don Shetterly - use by permission only


  1. Man are you ever right about this. One I've gotten before is "just get over it already!"

  2. I wholeheartedly agree as it has just happened to me. I have lost my blog friends now because I allowed them to see my pain. When they not only glossed over it, but refused to acknowledge what I was saying, it has hurt me tenfold. My experience feels completely invalidated.

  3. @Steven, I think I've heard that one too and forgot to put it in there. Thanks for sharing that one.

  4. @Natalie, it isn't easy to put the pain out there for the world to see. Sometimes it is very difficult and I too in the past have lost friends because of this. I had a great website going at one time but it didn't survive. And for years I just said, that's enough - let someone else deal with it. Thanks for sharing what you did.