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Deep Hurts
Why they continue to make life miserable years later, and how one can get over them

Deep HurtThe memories looked so hazy and yet so clear. The pain was real, although the incident was years and decades old. Monisha somehow could not get over the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach that kept coming back every now and then. It was almost twenty-three years now. She was not even eight then, and a happy lively child. One day she was playing in their sprawling house with her cousin who much older than her. In her innocent childlike way she was running around with him, catching him, jostling him. When they reached a remote corner of their house, he suddenly encircled her. He put his mouth to her face and tried to kiss her, holding her tight and uncomfortable all the time.

The shock of what was happening to her took a few seconds to register. For some time she went numb and could not resist. Finally she gained courage, with all her strength peeled off his hands that were now groping all over her body, and pushed him with as much strength as she could muster. She knew what he was doing was bad, very bad. But she did not know what it was. She was scared, and at the same time a bit guilty. She kept away from him the rest of the day, a thousand thoughts flooding her innocent mind in a haze. She was desperately waiting for bed time. She went to bed and was wide awake; pretending to be asleep until her mother came to join her. When her mother came to bed, she could not control her tears, and they came out in a torrent. Her body shook with her sobs, as her mother, concerned and puzzled, gathered her up in her arms and held her close.

After a long time she could control herself enough to be able to talk to her mother. In one flow the whole episode came out. She felt relieved for a moment, and was sure that now her mother will protect her. Imagine her shock the next moment when her mother held her strongly and started admonishing her. “You are a dirty girl” she hissed “why do you get into situations like this? Don’t complain unnecessarily. You are only interested in playing and enjoying yourself. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” Monisha could not believe her ears. She had no answers. This shock was far greater than what she had endured earlier in the day. When her mother finished scolding her, she quietly turned around and pretended to go to sleep, but she remembers that she cried endlessly until sheer fatigue took her into a disturbed slumber.

Deep Hurt
Credit: Gogoloopie, CC By 2.0, flickr.com

The hurt of her mother’s accusations and scolding just would not go away. Life has not been the same any more. She could neither relate to her mother, nor to anyone else in the family as she used to do earlier. She went ahead with life, but more like a zombie. She excelled in studies, kept up her social interactions, participated in group activities, got absorbed in painting. But life was just not the same as before.

Monisha had a deep hurt within her. It had left a permanent scar. She could not talk to anyone about it, because she loved her mother, and somewhere deep down she had a feeling of guilt whether she herself was responsible for what happened to her. At the same time she could not shake it off. Now she was thirty two years old, with an understanding but very busy husband, two lovely little children, a comfortable house ... and a deep void within her heart.

Deep hurts are due to a sense of denied justice, particularly from those whom we love and trust most. They cannot be compensated or balanced by other good things happening to us. Sometimes we ourselves do not know what hurts us most, at times we are caught unawares in our sense of complacency.

It is said that time is the greatest healer. Unfortunately for deep hurts it is not always true. The greater the sensitivity of a person, the more the hurt is likely to keep paining. The closer the relationship with the person who caused the hurt, the more the misery. At times the hurt may be so bad that the mind pushes it down into the unconscious mind. But the pain is only buried alive, to surface later, or to just go on hurting from within.

Unresolved deep hurts can result in psycho-somatic illness (aches and pains that have no organic cause – particularly ulcers, neck and back pain, migraines, etc.). They can also lead to bad interpersonal relations (repeated anger towards children, suspicion against the spouse), sense of denied justice in life in general (“no one cares for me, everyone is happy except me”), long bouts of depression (not wanting to make friends or enjoy oneself), or personality disorders. Behavioral scientists have identified a state known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can cripple a person emotionally, and become almost permanent if not dealt with and resolved.

Resolving Deep Hurts

    Deep Hurt
    Credit: Untitled blue, CC By 2.0, flickr.com
  • The first step would be an awareness that you have a feeling of deep hurt that is not going away. Acceptance of your feelings is a vital pre-requisite.
  • Talking it over with someone confidential and trustworthy, who will listen with empathy and not pass judgment (and definitely NOT give advice).
  • Get a thorough medical check-up done to ensure that there has been no damage to the body due to continued stress.
  • List out other good things that have happened in your life, and accept that life has both ups and downs.
  • Try to relive the painful incident, preferably with a trusted friend or counsellor, and rationalize why it happened, what were the intentions of the person who hurt you.
  • Try and forgive the oppressor, not to condone the bad deed, but to free yourself from any emotional control he may have over you today.
  • Get involved in activities that give you pleasure and satisfaction. Give yourself small rewards and bolster your self esteem.

Remember that you owe it to yourself and your near and dear, to resolve the issues that have been hurting you for a long time. There will be a significant improvement in your quality of life, and others will also find themselves happier being close to you.

 

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