Do Hurt People Hurt People? by Megan Owen CoxOct 14, 2023
We humans love to get caught up in binary thinking. Another term would be "black and white thinking" -- proven to be detrimental to our mental and emotional health. I believe (as my clients would all confirm) that a big part of what Jesus came to do was to show us the beauty of the "third option" (borrowed phraseology from Miles McPherson). The Pharisees were short-sighted -- much like us. They were forever trying to entrap Jesus.
Do we stone her? Or just throw the law away, Jesus? A . . . . . or B?, ~ Pharisees
Actually . . . . . C,. ~Jesus (John ch 7)
Love is always creative because it puts relationships at the center of the decision-making process. We are no longer looking at pro's and con's -- we are wondering what the most loving decision would be. This actually puts US in another group, as those who do not worship left or right or empire -- but something Higher. That's a blog post for another day (watch for it).
When we engage in black & white thinking, we unwittingly take part in fracturing, conflict, separation, enmity and animosity. Stay with me here.
The phrase "Hurt People, hurt people" has been popularized in healing circles. As an advocate or a counselor, one may be "cancelled" for even using this phrase. But, here is the thing. It is not that simple -- again, love is creative. It can be simple or complex. It is not binary. When I, as a trauma counselor, am listening to a story of mistreatment or abuse, I know that people hurt people. Not just "hurt" ones.
For those who are sociopaths, I hope they go to prison.
For those who are narcissistic, I hope they make the bravest decision in their lives to lift their mask.
And for those who are hurt, I hope they get help.
Is any of this victim-blaming? No -- because victims of abuse are always hurt -- whether anyone MEANT to or not -- and those victims need to be brought to safety, believed and comforted. Their experience needs to be validated. And, if need be, reported to the proper authorities (hint, probably not the church).
Even though it seems as though abusers read from the same playlist, sometimes they are a different type of pathological. And it is OK to say that a hurt person will hurt another person AND that abuse does not need to be sugar-coated. Motivations don't always matter -- what matters is what happened to you. And gosh, do we EVER care about what happened to you.
I know that I have hurt others when I was hurting. A heart-felt and honest apology went a very long way -- plus my desire to look at myself and change. That is part of a vibrant, ever-changing, cruciform life.
I know that there are humans out there who are narcissists. They don't care if they are hurting you and they don't see themselves as hurt. Abuse does something for them.
I know there are psychopaths and sociopaths out there. They think that everyone else is "weak" for not being more life them. They are not hurting. They are masochistic.
We have all types out there. As I continue to try to bring others toward a more creative, Jesus-like love, let's remember that we want to use wisdom and strength and our very sound minds.
Remember this . . . . whatever the reason you were abused, it doesn't matter. You. Were. Abused.