Hurting people

February 26, 2015

inhale love exhale hate

People who hurt others are hurting.

These days the deep questions of life and death are sitting front and center in my life. Serious and important things.

But like irritating little gnats, people behaving badly have buzzed round the periphery.

When they buzz into my sphere I have to swat them away. My priorities are bigger. More important. And all about love.

I’ve watched someone with whom I used to be close lose herself completely in a sad dysfunction.  Others who used to be in my sphere are acting out in ways that are noticeable, but don’t directly impact me.

And I’ve seen so-called professional women behaving badly, in ugly and toxic ways.

Seriously? I ask, silently. This is how you are?

A friend commented recently that people today feel powerless and the less power they believe they have, the more they feel they need to control other people.

That seems profound, to me.

Even as I have bigger, more important priorities,  a tiny bit of my heart and mind notes–and grieves– the number of damaged people in the world.

Why do people hurt each other? I wondered the other day.

Hurt_people_hurt_people._One part of the answer is that they are hurting, themselves: their own damage is so profound they respond atavistically by lashing out.

As a chronic observer, I can’t help but kick into gear a natural emotional detachment that’s been an effective way to file these bad behaviors away without letting their toxicity hurt me.

I’ve learned to hold them in the light, ask the Divine for their highest and best good and let go.

Because only hurting people hurt others.

As I write this, I’m still swatting.  Maybe by the time you see this, they’ll have buzzed off to some other target.

So tell us: how do you deal with people who lash out with nasty behavior?

24 comments on “Hurting people
  1. I stand up to them if they are trying to hurt me. I used to ignore it, but now I need to say my piece and then let it go. I let them know their behavior is unacceptable.I used to try to make them “like me”-so for me, this is progress on my own behalf. If they come around on their own, I am perfectly willing to reacess-but I make no efforts otherwise. Breath in…God’s strength and abundant love; Breath out….fear and doubt and hate; and be grateful for this wonderful life. Namaste!

  2. K.L. says:

    This was a great piece Carol. It’s something that I struggle with, watching women especially. I had assumed we’d all be beyond this at my age. I thought we would be one another’s champions, standing on the sidelines..”Wow, you made it past kids, menopause, (add your great feat here) NOW LETS SEE WHAT YOU WILL DO” I am continually baffled by the use of social media for a new form of meanies, with a sort of passive aggressive posting. Sometimes, I just excuse myself from the computer for a few days. Thank you for the reminder that those folks are battling their own problems and I must extend compassion.

  3. Hi Carol! Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling a big caged in by troublesome people. Sometimes they seem to come in crowds for sure. I seem to do best by just staying away from “them” and hanging out with those who are 100% in support of me (even if it’s just Thom and Kloe!) I do believe in the saying that “hurt people hurt people” and to the extent that I can remember (and know) the hurt really isn’t about me, to that extent am I able to get past it. And as you say, doing my meditation and prayer work help for sure!

  4. Thank you for the wise words: Hurt People Hurt People.
    My family apparently wishes to hurt me. It feels terrible.

  5. Tammy says:

    I so agree. People who lash in ugly ways are generally hugely insecure and misunderstood. Sometimes they are simply unloved and confused. It never makes it right. I generally walk away from it, truth be told. I cannot abide it, nor do I want the negativity in my hemisphere. But, if they are people I know and care about, I try to understand and listen. I do the best I can. But as you know, we cannot change their mindset, but perhaps we can change their view.

  6. I really try consciously not to let it sting. Rather, I try to think that the person who is being mean is having a problem not me.

  7. Joy says:

    I agree that people who lash out are in pain. My response to such bad behavior depends on the quality of relationship I have with them. If I care about them, I stick around and dig deeper. Otherwise, my threshold is pretty low since I know I get stressed easily myself. I don’t need more toxicity in my life so I stay away. I always remind myself that I need the oxygen mask on myself first before I go out rescuing others. That and we can really only help those who are open to help.

  8. Jackie says:

    Sadly, I tend to lash out right back. It’s not helpful, though. I have made a concerted effort to change my tactic, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t — I am trying to become the type of person who does not let the words of others bother her. What can I say? I’m a work in progress — on that and on other fronts. Still, I continue to try. On occasion, though, I slip into biting them back.

  9. I am so sorry you are dealing with such bad behavior .
    One of the first blog posts I wrote was about an adult bully that came after me and was relentless for 3 years. I tried to love her into loving me, ignoring her, doing whatever she wanted just to keep peace and she would not stop.
    I wrote the blog post and was of course viciously attacked for it.
    I told her everything I wanted to tell her and I didn’t say it mean then I told her I forgave her but I did not want any kind of relationship with her. I told her I would always be cordial but no more.
    Giving up my perceived power to be able to change anyone other than myself is one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

  10. I think your friend is correct. When I think about it, it is controlling people I try to stay away from.

  11. Ruth Curran says:

    I practice the “kill them with kindness” method of pest control. Breathing deeply is a wonderful de-tox treatment in the meantime :)!

  12. Donna says:

    Without a doubt hurt people are the ones doing the hurting. Healthy people have too much to do, too many positive things to occupy their thoughts and actions. It has been my experience folks who are hurting, who live in the “vortex” are the ones destroying us. But only if we allow it. We have the ability to not accept it. But often we feel we deserve it, or thats the way things are….instead of simply saying…no

  13. I think your friend’s comment about people feeling powerless and trying to take control is very true. At this point in my life, if I don’t like the way someone acts, I just ignore it – and them – and realize it’s more their problem. If they’re someone I really care about, though, I will try to find out what’s really bothering them because, yes, I agree that people who hurt others are often hurting themselves.

  14. I’ve often tried to justify other people’s hurtful behaviour, Carol, but sometimes I think people are just plain mean! Sorry you’re facing some of those.
    I have learned to move away and tell myself not to get drawn into their toxic ways. It’s always easier said than done though.

  15. Lee Gaitan says:

    Great insights. When you are the target, it helps if you can detach enough from the pain to see that “hurt people hurt people.” That helps you to understand that the hurt is not really directed at you personally, but is merely the reflex of someone in pain, with limited coping skills. Viewing them through that lens may even enable you to feel some compassion for them. It is tragically true that without intervention of some sort, the victim often becomes the victimizer, hurting others to “even the score.” This doesn’t make their actions, right, acceptable or excusable–but it does help you to limit the pain they can inflict on you and not add insult to injury by responding in kind. All of this is easier said than done, by the way!

  16. Carolann says:

    I’m like you…I observe a lot too. I used to let it hurt me but not anymore. You are correct. It is very profound indeed. I personally could never understand why someone would intentionally hurt another human. I recently had a woman say something very negative and nasty to me because I had shared something with her that was great and positive and she immediately became vicious and angry in front of my eyes. I almost fell off my chair in disbelief at her nasty and negative comment. Then, I picked myself up and walked away never to ever look at her again. She only hurt herself…that’s how I see it. People suck at times. That’s the sad fact. I hope your swatting days are done too. Your beautiful light will blind them anyways 🙂

  17. i definitely believe that hurtful people are acting out their own internal pain. Others just seem to be in a more perpetual state of misery. These kinds are toxic. They attempt to purposefully infect those around them. Best to hug the first and stay away from the latter.

  18. I’ve been on my best behavior I swear! Hahahaha! I try to avoid those people at all costs, it isn’t healthy for anyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.