What to Do When They Hurt You
Someone has done or said something to hurt you and you’re crushed and angry.
“How could they say that? How could they do that to me?”
You tell the story over and over again to anyone who will listen. This seems useful. It feels justified and even temporarily makes you feel better.
The problem is that you’ve created a story so painful for you. And you believe your story so deeply that you think it’s all fact when it’s really not.
Facts don’t hurt you. What they did or said doesn’t hurt you.
I know you think I’m wrong here but stay with me for a minute.
The circumstances of our lives have no effect on us until our brain offers us thoughts and we attach meaning to them.
Let me share an example so you can see what I mean.
Here is the story a client told about how furious she was with some friends after her divorce.
Since half our lives were spent together, we have all the same friends. Not one of them has contacted me since the split. Even the ones whose babies I was very close to. I even got a lie about a child’s birthday I wasn’t invited to. I’ve done so much for all our friends in the past decade. I saw them almost every week….and now I get nothing?? Not even enough respect to tell me that they chose him…because he’s the drinking and smoking buddy? My “best friends” apparently only had me around because I came with the guy that supplied the weed and booze. Ouch. How stupid and blind I was all these years.
Divorce sucks. No husband. No friends. No dreams. Everything you worked so hard to create just poof. Gone.
I’m the one who had to make the hardest decision of my life in the best interest of BOTH of us. Somehow now that I’m not there to defend myself with my so-called “friends”……HE is now the victim?! Somehow now I’m in the wrong?! Because I’m continuing on with my life and my goals, I’m now the bad guy?!
I explained to her the difference between a circumstance (fact) and a thought. I reminded her that facts are provable. They are things that every person would agree on as a fact and includes no judgment and no opinion. Then I asked her to retell the story using only the facts.
In the end, these were the facts:
- We have the same friends
- Friends have contacted me since the divorce
- I saw them almost every week
- I don’t have a husband
Everything else she said was just a story…a very painful story. They were all just thoughts and completely optional.
Her friends haven’t contacted her since the divorce, and she made that mean something very painful for her. She made it mean:
- They don’t respect her
- They chose him
- They only had her around because of him
- She’s stupid and blind
- She has no friends
- She can’t have dreams
- They think he is the victim
- They think she is in the wrong and the bad guy
None of those were facts. They were all just her thoughts that she was choosing to think.
I asked her if it was possible that the reason they haven’t contacted her is that it just feels uncomfortable for them and they don’t know what to say. Were there other ways she could interpret the facts that may not feel so painful?
She acknowledged that it was possible that was the case. I helped her to see that either story could be true, but pointed out that the latter one is so much less painful.
We control our emotional lives with our thinking.
Facts never hurt
Whenever you catch yourself telling a painful story, write it all out. Then, separate out just the facts. Gaining awareness around what the facts really are and seeing that everything else is just a story, is the first step to ending your suffering.
Want more help moving on from the past and creating the life you really want? Sign up for a free 30-minute discovery call with me and let’s get you feeling better.
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