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Do we hurt others?

Posted by Orchid , 19 March 2014 · 80 views

One of the issues that abuse left me struggling with is how an abuser never stopped to consider how their actions would hurt the victim.  People will lie, cheat, steal, rape, or kill to fulfill their own needs. 
On a daily basis I watch people do very harmful things in small subtle ways in their relationships.  I watch men lie to their wife or significant other.  I watch people hide things, or manipulate a situation.  I watch women make choices in conversations that is manipulative.
These subtle but still very harmful actions make me mad.  What I see is deception.  I can see that people are who they are for reasons, but their actions can still be harmful.......
My questions is to those of us that have been abused.....
How many of us allow our issues to hurt other people?  Our attitudes, actions/behaviors, choices, secrecy, emotional walls, deception, manipulation, addictions, and yes playing the victim?
Do we ever stop and think we can't hide or use the excuse of abuse to allow us to make harmful decisions. I'm not talking about a person that has been abused so much that mental health is at a critical level of instability.  I'm talking about those of us who are decently functioning within the society.
I think a good question to ask ourself or too hold ourself accountable is: "Am I hurting another person by not dealing with my pain, and by making poor choices, or having harmful actions".
Think about it.  Why do some of us get a free pass on hurting another human being, just because we have the victim card in our pocket? 
If we don't think about our actions and hurt another person, aren't we stepping into the same zone as predators, by not thinking about another person.
I'm not talking about those of us that are doing the best we can do by tapping into any and all resources available.  I'm talking about the person that never thinks about what they are doing, declines help or doesn't tap into resources to try to change.
I don't like these types of people, and I don't like myself very much when I fail to do what I should.

That are good questions you brought up.

It's hard to say why some people behave in that way.

Perhaps they're too caught up in their pain to see that their behavior hurts others?

You are right Thundere.  Some people are trapped in their pain, whether it is from sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse or life events.  I work in an environment that has some extremely successful, educated people from all over the world.  I KNOW we all are who we are for a reason, but I am always blown away at highly educated, successful people that NEVER stop to think about the big picture, another person, or how they can become a better person. 


I wonder if as a society abuse is hidden so deep that we can't make the link between how our actions at a different level are spin off's of an abuser's behavior?



Mar 20 2014 05:59 AM

Sometimes, when you are very focused on protecting yourself, you can't see other people (for good or bad). Like how a drowning victim, when survival mode kicks in, stops calling for help and just focuses on one more breath of air. This is, of course, not an excuse for hurting others, but it is an explanation. Additionally, I think my own guardedness may be emotionally hurtful at times and I do try to be mindful of that but I accept that I am a fallible human being, as are my loved ones. They may hurt me unintentionally and I them, but if we can come back from it and communicate what we need to - it is just the reality of human relationships. This kind of awareness takes introspection, it takes work, and it takes moving out of your comfort zone. I am certainly not perfect and need to work on myself always but I can't fault those that haven't gotten enough safety to be able to start that kind of work, even when they are being hurtful. They are in survival mode and, as an empathetic person who has been through times like that, I get it. I can't force them to heal on my timetable, no matter how much I (or even they) might wish they could. I suppose the real question isn't so much if "we play the victim card" as it is about the type of relationship you have and how much empathy you can afford within that relationship. Mileage may vary.

Penultimateplatypus..........You sound like a beautiful wise person that gets some of what I am trying to say.


I give so much thought to why a person is the way they are that my empathy is miles and miles long, but occasionally I run across the person or person's that make a clear choice.  A defined choice that hurts others. 


My question to myself this week is; when do I as a person remain empathetic while still holding the person or people accountable? I often wonder if my empathy to look at the big picture actually borders on codependence because I do nothing but empathize.  I don't set boundaries and expectations as well as I should, and I believe I use empathy as an excuse to not do so.


I am not saying "fault" people.  I am learning that I can be empathetic, while simultaneously setting expectations and boundaries. 


This isn't a singular relationship for me, and it isn't about people that are in survival mode. It's about people in a stable place functioning at a very high level that continue to make conscious choices that hurt other people.  As humans we are fallible, but as a human we should also be responsible and accountable for our actions. 


You are being accountable. You unintentionally hurt another person, but then communicate.  That is a world away from a person the intentionally hurts people, and then lies, refuses to communicate, or projects the " I am the victim here".  They find a way to manipulate the circumstances. 


I think this really started when a community member died from domestic abuse.  The abuser is a law enforcement officer in a very small town, so not a high stress level compared to many areas.  He had all the training in the world to know right from wrong, but I looked at every angle to have empathy for both him and the victim.  However, it's been a long time and he is still abusing, blaming everyone else, and understanding the psychology and origin of his behaviors I had empathy for him as well.  Yes, I even have empathy for abusers, but I no longer can tolerate a victim excuse mentality.  It's time to pull up the rug, and sweep out the truth.  The truth is he had resources.  He has the opportunity to make a choice, but he refuses.  Even now as I write this I give one more reason in my mind for his actions, but accountability needs to come to the surface.  Children have lost a parent due to his choices. It's the responsibility of others to show him he has to be accountable and to face the truth of his own issues.


He will now have a court decide his fate, but wouldn't it have been so much better if his issues were not swept under the rug by other officers, family, or community members?  If everyone hadn't allowed him to be manipulative. Maybe a woman would be alive, and children would have their mother.


I think at times we all could use a dose of accountability by ourself or by others. 

November 2014

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