I don’t think I know a single person that hasn’t been lashed out by someone and not understood why. On that same note, I’m not sure I know a single person that has never lashed out at someone for no obvious reason. Everyone does it. I have done it more times than I am proud of. In turn I’ve far too often been the brunt of it from others as well.
Recently, I caught myself doing just this-in a moment of rejection I cracked a joke at a friend which instead of being funny, came off sounding really mean. Almost instantly after I said it, I realized what I’d done and felt horrible. Even now, days later I feel sad that I hurt a friend because of something that didn’t even have anything to do with him. He forgave me, but my heart still hurts to think I may have caused someone I love pain.
Hurt people hurt people. It really is as simple as that. People who are hurting lash out at other people who are hurting, and if you’re the one being lashed out at-there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. You can choose to take in that anger and lash out at other people in return, lash out back at the person lashing out at you; or you can choose to rise above and react to that person with compassion and understanding.
That doesn’t mean you have to take it-no one deserves to be abused. You are allowed to walk away. You are allowed to stick up for yourself. It’s not worth starting an argument over, but you’re allowed to say “I love you, I understand that you are hurting, but I cannot allow it to hurt me in return-so I’m going to walk away and we can talk about it later when we have both calmed down.”
“Those who hurt us are usually hurting themselves, and their pain may be so strong that they are not even aware they are hurting us.” – Joyce Meyers
But what if you find that you are the person hurting so bad that you catch yourself lashing out at the people you love? What can you do to help prevent these things from happening? Here are some ideas:
Allow Yourself to Feel Your Pain
Often times when you find yourself lashing out at others, it’s because you’re fighting against your natural feelings of hurt and pain. You’re bottling it up so tight that it’s like a carbonated beverage that has been shaken one too many times and is about to burst-little bits are spraying out from the cap that’s not quite on tight enough.
We’ve been brought up in a society of people who are taught that we’re not supposed to express our feelings-which just doesn’t work. Your body/mind/soul are telling you that you feel that way for a reason and the only way to get through it is to acknowledge it and let yourself feel it. Let yourself be angry/sad/hurt/frustrated, etc. The only way out is through. Just don’t let that fill you up so full that you break apart and hurt the people around you.
Don’t Hold Grudges
Holding on to grudges really only hurts you. The other person isn’t necessarily hurt by it-they go on living their life while you are the one stuck dwelling on the things you feel they did. You are the one that continues to hurt inside, hurt yourself further, and hurt those around you by lashing out. In turn, forgive those who have lashed out at you-it’s not worth ruining a friendship over just because a little anger burst through.
“Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burnt.” – Buddha
Always Think Before You Speak
Consider what is about to come out of your mouth before you let it slip past. Always think about how it would make you feel. If you still feel it needs to be said, perhaps the better option is waiting until you’re not so hurt and angry to say it. Sometimes it can be something not mean, or even as simple as a joke (as was my case), but your tone in that moment can turn it into something harsh and hurtful that sticks with that person you care about.
Accept That It Happened, Say Sorry, and Move On
There will probably always be a time you slip up and lash out. At that point, beating yourself up over it isn’t going to help you or the person you hurt-so all you can do is take responsibility for your actions, apologize sincerely (because if they matter, you truly will be sorry) and keep moving forward.
Work Towards Healing
Hurt people hurt people, however healed people heal people. If you work on your issues and work towards healing (whether it’s by simply accepting it and moving on, or seeing a therapist, etc.) you will then be able to go out into the world and spread that good energy that comes from you being healed.