I’ve been feeling hurt lately. I was hurt by poor customer service I received. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for an hour, so I complained about it. I was hurt over my job application getting rejected because I chose to be honest and it was a wrong decision. I was hurt by the sudden cold attitude of someone who had previously been very flirty, and the realization that it wasn’t worth my time to consider her as anything more than an acquaintance.
This time in particular I realized that I react very poorly to being hurt. Mostly I hide from the world and binge play video games or watch TV until late. Those are my go-to options for emotional self-harm. I avoid confronting my feelings even when I half-heartedly acknowledge them, sometimes taking days before finally registering that I feel hurt at all. I feel bad about the result or outcome that started things and I just continue to wallow in my unjust treatment and misery.
I began to think about what causes hurt and realized I can’t really summarize it well. So I looked it up, and most internet sources don’t seem to have much clue either. A lot of bold claims that don’t seem to apply to me at all. However, one article does seem to get most of what I think are the relevant themes:
- Feeling personally attacked
- Identifying as a victim
- Sense of injustice or unfairness
- It’s all about your point of view
- Ideas hurt way more than the actual harm
The feeling of being unfairly treated is probably the thing that gets me the most.
Some articles propose that the solution to the ‘problem’ of hurt is to take things less seriously or stop caring what others think or to be sure of yourself. Honestly, I’m not saying these suggestions are wrong, but I think they’re quite unhelpful, especially for the short-term. My hypothesis: one way to overcome hurt is to realize that the way things happened wasn’t really about you at all. You weren’t treated unfairly in particular; they do that to other people as well, and in this case it just happened to be you on the receiving end. Yes it was wrong, but it’s not personal; it’s just business. Maybe this is a rare mishap and you were just unlucky. Or your friend wronged you because of their insecurities or what they’re going through, and they might have done this to anyone else in your shoes.
When you realize it wasn’t about you, then you can take a more practical perspective about how to process your feelings or what to do about the situation.