I’ve heard and seen this quote from Louis CK here and there — “When someone says you hurt them, you don’t get to decide you didn’t” — and I’m not sure I agree.
I have a lifetime of feeling hurt, victimized, done-wrong, shafted and all sorts of “wrongs” aimed in my direction. I’ve had a fair amount of emotional trauma, to boot, and have a whole snakes’s nest mess of uncovering those traumas, discovering their impact on my personality and POV in the world, and now, more so, being willing to look at the truth of my life, my wounds, my emotions …
I’m also working — often gruelingly so — in understanding my hurts come from my triggers. And my triggers come from my unhealed wounds.
I think it’s fair for someone to say to someone whom they felt hurt them, “Hey, I really got TRIGGERED by what you said-did-didn’t say-didn’t do. And that brought up a lot of complex and difficult emotions for me.”
I think it’s fair to state boundaries, ask they be respected and if not, make decisions about how you wish to proceed and respond.
And I understand there are many hurts and harms in this world, especially to our young, tender child selves. And there are harms of violence, assault and malice, personal and institutional. There are hurts and harms of war and societal oppression and unjust circumstances.
There are relationship hurts and infidelity and trusts broken.
All of these things are so. ‘Tis — it seems — the human condition to be barraged by so many assaults, and so many of them happening to us when we have, especially in our younger years, few tools and little capacity to thwart the assaults.
YET / AND / BUT …
Where are we as a Society that seems now to celebrate the wounding and victimhood-ed-ness of life?
Is not every person’s responsibility one of surveying the past, understanding the now and making different decisions into the future. Isn’t that, essentially, what we’re all doing? Whether that’s in making healthier eating choices, or choosing friends who truly care about us, or investing in one’s self to improve our careers and livelihoods.
Do we not all need to heal, to claim our own power and learn that others’ words and actions are more about “the other” than they are about us? Or when someone hurts us, they are hurting are old selves, and that we can make a different decision today?
I understand fully that this is a many layered–perhaps even many-decades-long–process, and there are likely to be many more hurts, triggers and emotions along the way. I understand there are none who walk among us who are not also challenged in doing the same.
But I don’t understand this focus on “you hurt me.” I don’t think it’s healthy. And I don’t think it’s powerful. And at almost-59, it’s something I myself am working on letting go of.
I also don’t expect you to agree with me.
We’re all on our own paths, at our own speeds, with our own lessons and our own coming into ourselves to experience.