Hurt People Hurt People.
I’m not referring to discussions or arguments within relationships, that is a healthy and critical component to any relationship as two people come together and find ways to speak their own truths whilst establishing their shared common ground. It is essential part of the union to ensure that in the bonding of two people coming together, there is no loss of self on either side. And here I am neither referring to the sometimes clumsy unintended hurts that we may at times cause to the other.
No, what I’m talking about when someone is not, and cannot experience a genuine happiness. When they are simply not happy within themselves. We all know or knew these people. And it is often the case, unfortunately, that as a result of this, they bring others down. Some may say this is the raging narcissism at play in our society at this time. The belief that we are the centre of our universe and others must yield to us. I would have disagreed in the past.. preferring to not follow the trend of naming questionable behaviour, in deference to let each call it what they see fit. However, it is through my process of experience that I came to understand this is at play within the world, however much it saddens me. I needed to learn this vital lesson. As much as my path and my practice is founded upon the belief that we are all intrinsically good inside, I found there are some very mis-guided souls wandering around, unaligned with their inner self and intent on causing harm.
Yet, in the spirit of understanding and learning lessons from all of the drinking of life, I turn to the genius of Leary as he so famously quoted “Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle; Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence”. So there it was. I did have a lesson to learn. Big Time.
I was concerned and preoccupied with the dimension of weather said person/s are committing this behaviour unwittingly (as I really wanted to believe). But there is most definitely another camp out there of who holds the view that this selfish and self-centred behaviour is done at all expense, even if knowling causing harm to others.
I’m not sure who spoke this wisdom of Hurt People hurting People, but I do find it has immense truth to it and it has helped me to not always react in a downwards spiraling way (i’m still getting there!). As I was coming out from my experience, I heard from so many friends who have friends or knew someone within their circle that was also going through this sheer hell of dealing with another’s pain. I’d like to explore some of this further in the hope that through deepening my wisdom, I shall never be as unlucky or unconscious to encounter one of these individuals again.
Hurt people hurt people.
What does this mean?
I come from the view that these people who are hurting others are carrying deep pain. I say this because the individual I was dealing with was very fast to share their history and the woundedness that they carry because of this childhood. Almost as a calling card, beckoning me into a trauma bond. I noticed other things, and looking back, the red flags that those in the ‘narcissistic know’ would advise to run at. But I saw these dynamics and dysfunctional behaviours as coping mechanisms to minimize a level of pain and trauma. And I believed Love would heal.
As I listened to the countless stories of people who had wronged this person, I grew alarmed. I had never know someone to have had some much drama, conflict, aggression and total chaos in their life. And it didn’t stop at ex lovers. No, in this individuals life, there had been a total and utter conspiracy against him from the word go to test, resist and attack him. Well, so he believed and re-acted from that place. He was (scarily) able to hold his ground on why it’s everyone else’s fault in their causing said situations. I witnessed some of his fall-outs and what struck me was how much I saw he was reenacting the same patterns that were played out to him by the person who first caused the trauma to him.
As someone who is committed to stopping these multi-generational stories, I have to say I am an observer; I listen deeply to others and watch their behaviours to ensure there is a clear alignment. I’ve learnt that words are not enough. Follow through is the sign of maturity.
Fascinating is only one word I can use to describe the phenomenon that those who receive a lot of hurt in life often turn around and give the same type of hurt to others. One might wonder, “Wouldn’t such people be more likely to understand how shitty it was to be hurt in that way and therefore more determined to avoid enacting the same behavior?” Sure. But it’s not that easy as simply being determined.
When we’re hurt very deeply, the pain sinks into our deep being—into our hearts, our bodies, our cellular memory. And it takes a boatload of courage, not to mention heroic amounts of awareness to engage in the process of un-working the defaults at play.
On a deep, often unconscious level, our top priority becomes avoiding feeling that pain again. This often massively shapes our behavior in ways that are difficult to control. For instance, if someone is bullied as a child and made to feel powerless, that person might themselves develop bullying tendencies, as a kind of ‘preemptive strike’ tactic: That is, the person will subtly bully and assert dominance over those around them to always ensure that they have an upper hand—”I’ll get them before they get me,” goes the thinking of the wounded child in the unconscious.
There can also be a warped sense of ‘justice’ on an unconscious level. A person might consciously wish to avoid reenacting the hurtful behaviors that were inflicted upon them, but unconsciously they might feel resentful and think, “This happened to me, I had to deal with this, so other people should have to deal with this too.” And then without realizing it, they subtly reenact the behaviors they wish to avoid.
But, as always in life, we can see the behaviours swing to the opposite spectrum; If someone receives inadequate attention and emotional support from a parent of the opposite sex while growing up, that person might become compulsively needy for attention and validation from the opposite sex, attempting to compensate for the void left by the parent’s insufficiencies. This neediness might lead to recklessly engaging in dysfunctional sexual or romantic relationships, developing co-dependencies or overreacting to perceived inattentiveness. Through this process the hurt person will often further hurt themselves and others.
We can understand here that human behavior is complex and often has powerful roots in unconscious trauma making it difficult to simply choose not to act in a particular way. And those who inflict terrible pain were once almost surely recipients of the same, and whilst I do tend to swing between the two camps of yes, there being deeply hurtful people who wish to hurt people on this planet, acting like angry little children when they are no longer getting the attention and energy they need to thrive on, and the second camp that is out there of those that are in blindness of their own hurt, therefore causing hurt to others.
Yet in either case, they both deserve understanding. We are all hurt and we all carry trauma, to varying degrees. Trauma is often associated with the extremes of abuse but this is misleading and takes us away from the healing needed. Wounding can occur from a whole array of situations. Choosing to acknowledge this woundedness that we are all carrying allows for a tenderlike quality to arise for this is the human experience; We hurt others through our own confused hurt. From here we can get curious about it; we recognize the what, and now we move into the why as we feel into the energies and emotions that are underlying our behaviours and look gently into the parts of ourselves that are often hard to look at.
This looking and feeling into these aspects allows a dissolving process to occur; an alchemy of energy within the energetic sphere, reflected in the outwards behaviours. We may choose to do this work alone or to engage with a counsel of healers; Psychotherapists, Meditation Teachers, Body Workers, Art Teachers, Shamans, Self Authoring, Ecstatic Dance or time in nature. We find our own path of medicine as we move into an expanded consciousness.
The Tibetan Buddhist teacher Mingyur Rinpoche has said, “If we could see the whole truth of any situation, our only response would be one of compassion.” Now I believe that doesn’t mean we stick around whilst more damage is created as the person offloads onto you. I see that the quality of compassion extends to yourself too and if that means extracting yourself from a toxic situation in order to exercise compassion to yourself therefore creating space for compassion to arise for the other, do so at a safe distance. There is Compassion and then there is Idiot Compassion.
After all, we are all hurt. I’m not sure if there is anyone walking this earth who is truly and completely healed as a soul, not forgetting that the healing is in itself a process; new wounds or traumas are also likely to develop as one progress’s through life. Experiences will teach us what and who to engage with, yet if we are to fully and truly open ourselves and take the experience of life as it is, there is the element of risk associated as we may hurt others and be hurt by others.
But hey, that is perfectly okay! That is the Human Dimension of Life in its totality and whilst we can come across some ‘lost souls’ wandering, racked and contorted with pain, living in a state of near total unconsciousness and addictive behaviours, we also meet souls with varying degrees of wholeness, lightness, embodied awareness further along the path of self realization. Now, this is not to pass judgement or assign ‘level’s or that some of better than others. Not at all. But I am asking you to question if you can identify an upwards spiraling path of human development and as you’ve progressed along this path, did you find that you were gravitating and magnetizing others at a similar place to yourself? We often find that as we find a greater degree of acceptance within ourselves and the monkey mind step’s back from front stage and our levels of awareness increase, that our presence takes on it more healing quality to it.
“The shaman is not merely a sick man, or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself,”
So, in researching for this post, I very happily came across the second part of this maxim “Healed people heal people.” And I believe it is similarly to what McKenna is trying to get across; that the archetypal medicine (Healer/Sage etc) woman or man is a person who was once indeed sick and can understand deeply what this means, and knows also what it is to heal themselves. Having past through these liminal states, or what Joseph Campbell refers to as the Hero/Heroine’s journey, they are then able to assist in others healing’s journeys with theirs.
As we heal and release our traumas, gaining awareness of our patterns and defaults of on the mental, emotional and physical planes, we expand our consciousness acting less and less from a place of unconsciousness. As we move through this we naturally find we desire to speak from our true nature, our centre; a place of unconditional love, the light of pure consciousness and we can access deeper levels of creativity to communicate; piercing through our many constructed layers of ego, mask, defense mechanisms, social, cultural and parental conditioning, we come home to ourselves. Allowing this centre of soul level to shape our being, our actions organically reflect the spaciousness that is bound to the deep love, peace, joy and contentment that is infused with inhabitation of this place. We loosen our holds on the expectations and relax with the attachments to our desires and outcome as we surrender to a higher trust in the universe and paradoxically so, we become a fuller and vibrant expression of our true self. By letting go, we give more of ourselves and this in itself is the medicine.
The very act of self love and self acceptance vibrates at such a high healing frequency and we create space for others to meet us at this vibration in their own acceptance. The quiet that surrounds this presence disarms peoples defenses and is water to the seeds of consciousness that take root as others yearn to go inwards to investigate their experiences more deeply. Most of this process takes place without language; without needing to map out our process; we become beacons for others seeking their own truth.
I love the Dalai Lama expression of his Religion being Kindness; simply radiating kindness and love; we engage in the finest karma yoga; deep service which contributes to the healing of others, initiating ripple effects throughout the world. Love spreads Love; Love is the Medicine that we all are seeking; To see and understand the heart of another, there is no greater honour and healing we can offer another. The more we heal ourselves, the greater the chance that our presence will heal others.
So there we have it; Hurt people hurt people. Healed people heal people.
Ultimately, I am learning that we Let People Be Where They Are.
Its perfectly okay for other people to be exactly where they are right now; wherever we find ourselves and others on The Path, know that the path itself has many resting places, detours, transgressions and backtracks. But ultimately; The Path goes upwards; Being in Life gives birth to an inexorable drive to evolve through all its complexities, to the place of ever expanding wisdom and love. Its a trip in itself man!
And in trusting that others are exactly where they need to be at; we can only work on developing our own truth, increasing our awareness so we are clearer mirrors, and only wish for small seeds to be planted along the way and in the cases of Hurt People, show our love and compassion as best we can but damn, make sure we move out of the way when the hurt is coming our way. The nurturing of Love and Compassion has to begin within, the same as people will not and cannot change from words alone; they decide to initiate the process; the motivation has to come from within to liberate oneself from these pains.
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
Remain Humble to the universe and uncover your own shadow in humility for your souls growth. The person I dealt with could at times convince himself he was the light and this was usually followed after feeding on another’s life force. Unfortunately, it was often mine. And it was via this that I remained humble to my own path of growth and healing that had to happen; Often the beings most convinced of their own light do carry the densest shadows. Please, do not forget this; the path continues ever onwards and often the shadows we perceive outside of ourselves, exist within our very hearts. Humbling Yes and Uncomfortable too.
May we move our understanding away from ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ and reflect upon the notion of ‘Healed’ and ‘Hurt’. I will leave you with Jung…
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
The Warmest of Wishes to you on this winding Path. May you grow in your Yes’s, but may you also grow in your No’s. May you receive gifts of humbleness and Compassion on your way. May you have plenty of fun as you find your way.
In gentleness, peace and compassion to all lost souls. Yes, Even to those that hurt us.
LET IT HURT and Let it Bleed. Let it open you. Let it heal. And then, Let it Go.