Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of dismissing the fact that words can hurt. Words are just that, words. Words will only hurt you if you let them. I’ve said those things. And I was wrong. Sort of.

I still believe them to a point, but it depends on who’s saying the words.

Let me explain.

After my sophomore year in high school, I encased my heart in a protective fortress. Move after move after move after move had shattered my heart mercilessly. While each move was a chance to meet new people, each move was also the end of close friendships. I couldn’t handle the loss any longer, so I shut myself off from the world. I stopped making connections. I stopped making friends. My logic was simple: if I quit letting people in I could never be hurt by the loss of those people.

I kept my heart in an impenetrable prison for many years. Through both marriages, in fact. My wives were the only people who ever got close to me. Who knew me for who I was. They knew me inside and out. They knew things no one else knew and I knew things about them that no one else knew. I had no one else besides them, and it truly never bothered me.

Once my second marriage deteriorated, though, I found myself in the precarious position of needing someone to reach out to and having no one there to reach back. It was a harrowingly lonesome feeling I didn’t like at all. Against years of painstakingly crafted instincts, I started letting people in again. I have made many great friends over the past year, but I’ve also been hurt many times over the past year. Disagreements have led to some bitter things being said, and those words have hurt me.

In the last 7 or 8 months, I’ve been accused by a numerous people of doing horrible things completely outside of my character in the aftermath of disagreements we’ve had. Had any normal person accused me of such treachery I would not have cared. Some person I don’t know accusing me of something like that is just an ignoramus talking out of his or her ass. However, these people knew me. They were close to me. I cared about them. I trusted them and I thought they trusted me. Their accusations struck at my very soul.

One of these instances is what prompted me to take my hiatus from blogging back in August. Life had gotten too overwhelming and I needed to take a step back from everything. I needed a break to put myself back together.

I know on occasion my actions have hurt others, whether inadvertently or in ignorance. I am not happy about that. In fact, it depresses me almost as much as it does the people I have hurt. I can’t stand the thought of hurting anyone. I’ve been fumbling around through life the last year and a half, struggling with the oppression of depression and dealing with the multiple changes that come along with separation, reconciliation, then separation again, and finally divorce. None of that serves to excuse the mistakes I’ve made, but my heart and mind have been in unfamiliar territory for the majority of that time and I’ve been struggling to do the right thing during those times. That being said, however, I’ve also done the best I can with the cards I’ve been dealt and I have never, ever hurt anyone intentionally.

I’m writing all of this to get it out of my head. Part of the reason I love blogging so much is for its therapeutic qualities. Friends, I know we won’t always agree. I know friendships die. Lives change and we move on to other things. Does hostility need to be a part of the endings, though? Is it really necessary to lash out? Is it necessary to say hurtful things? Do we really have an inherent need to hurt those who have hurt us, even if it was unintentional? Take a step back from things and really look at them. Not through your heart, but through your mind. Lashing out when you’re hurting only serves to burn bridges faster and more thoroughly.

Bridges can be rebuilt, though.

I want you, dearest reader, to take a step back the next time someone hurts you. Did the culprit really hurt you with malice aforethought or was it just a simple misunderstanding? Or even a complex misunderstanding? Do you truly believe that person has had an evil within them, lurking beneath the surface, just waiting for the opportune moment to strike?

The fact is, feelings are going to get hurt. It’s inevitable. What you have to decide for yourself is what the intentions of the offending person were. Were they just doing what they had to do to take care of themselves? Was it a miscommunication? Was it ignorance? Or were they really just a heinous bastard? In any case other than the last, look for forgiveness in your heart. Talk it out. Reconcile. Come to an understanding so history doesn’t repeat itself. None of us are perfect. We are all going to make mistakes. None of us should be permanently punished for a lapse in judgement.

You can never have too many friends. Isn’t a good friendship worth salvaging?

About Twindaddy (337 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

71 Comments on Sticks and Stones

  1. This is a great post TD and I know it would have been difficult emotionally to write. So thank you. We should all stop and consider our actions before we do a lot of things. Appreciate the reminder.


  2. reaching out with no one to reach back is so sad. sometimes we get a little lost and need to find our way back, and when we do, we’re usually so much wiser. the only thing that’s important in this life are people and feelings, and they should both always be respected.


  3. For the most part, my walls are stuck in the upright position, once again. I’m trying to let them down. Yay that you are able to.


    • Well, my walls have been a revolving door, really. I let them completely down last year and my heart was flooded. Then I started getting hurt and put them back up. Now it’s more of a “take a number” thing. You have to wait til I call your number to come in. Or something.


      • That’s good to know. I reached out to someone and i guess that was their approach too. This person did contact me back when my number came up. It wouldn’t have mattered for the fact that they said they’d be there. I still value this person, but won’t reach out for help from them. In the same period, someone contacted me who only contacts me when they want something. I helped them bc I was still reeling from the first instance.


    • Let us in oh Jaded one!!!!


  4. I would suggest searching for forgiveness in All cases. Forgiveness is a good thing for both party’s but it’s most helpful for the individual giving it out. Holding on to anger, hurt or whatever else causing us not to forgive only effects oneself. The person to be forgiven, especially if they really are that bad, will not care about your feelings, so those feelings will only effect yourself. I know it’s very, very hard to let go and forgive. I’m still learning and struggling through it, but in the long run its better for us.

    Good post. I enjoyed it.


    • You’re right. Forgiveness should always be sought. Perhaps I should have clarified. I meant to convey that if what has happened was a case of misjudgment, with no foul intent, then you should look for forgiveness AND try to rebuild that burned bridge. Having unwittingly burned a bridge or two in the last year, I would love to be given a second chance and to prove I’m not really the person to intentionally burn bridges like that.


  5. I totally agree with you. I struggle with this in my work life; the sudden and nearly overwhelming need to retaliate when someone does something bad to you; but it’s not worth it and I try to practice turning the other cheek, so to speak. The only time I let it out is when there’s a clear injustice going on and someone is getting away with something that’s plain wrong. I think we have to stand up for what’s right, else we make the world a little darker with our silence.


  6. Good post TD.
    I too have been struggling with the outrageous emotions of break up and depression over the past year (as you know). Struggling to find out just who I am and why I attract the abusers that I do, I also struggle with the feelings of being alone forever, and not being good enough to be loved. I’m working on this and in the process, I have had to weed out the people bringing me down and now have to find people to build me back up, it’s a long road but I believe in the end I will finally find happiness.
    Yes, words can hurt and I believe that you have not ever intentionally written or said anything to hurt said people. Your just a great big teddy bear.
    I thank you for your friendship,and advice even during the times when you have had to be brutally honest with me.


    • Aww…thanks for the sweet comment, hon. You’ll get there. It’s tough recovering from a break up AND abuse at the same time. As always, you know where to find me when you need to vent/bitch/whine/etc. ((hugs))


  7. LOL. Alice’ll cutta bitch!


  8. That’s cause you’re awesomesauce.


  9. TD, I fancy myself a pretty ok judge of character, even though it’s more difficult online. You, by all accounts, are a good man bogged down by some of what life has given you. You have a lot of friends out here in blog land or whatever who will gladly reach back, myself included.

    While I openly admit to being a jackass, especially when it comes to saying something wholly inappropriate, I can fall back on the fact that I can’t for the life of me hold a grudge. I don’t get how people can stay mad at somebody for days or weeks or years. I’ve never been that mad at somebody and I hope I never am.


    • I don’t get it either, Don. Once I calm down about something I’m usually done with it. I may not choose to associate with that person again depending on the circumstances, but I don’t hold a grudge or stay mad.

      And I think we all have moments where we’re a jack ass, myself included. I definitely have said somethings I would take back if given a chance.

      And don’t sell yourself short, either. I’ve read about how much you love your family, and it’s not often you see a man openly gush about his wife and children. That, in my book, makes you one of the good guys.


  10. It is easy to assume someone was aiming to wound, but sometimes people are just idiots.


  11. Well, damn, you’ve made me think about some pretty deep feelings before I’ve had enough coffee for my mind to be fully functional.

    I think when we are hurt, often times we will lash back out at the person who hurt us. Sometimes with the intent to prove them wrong, sometimes with the intent of hurting them back, but Usually with the intent of covering up our hurt. For some reason it’s not always socially acceptable to simply say “hey, you hurt my feelings.” We feel like we have to hide the hurt, or be embarrassed by it. Instead, they accuse others of doing something “wrong” and the person on the receiving end feels like they have to justify what they have done.

    It would be so much easier if we could take a page from the 6 year olds and just say, “when this happened, my feelings were hurt.” The perfect response to that is always “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” With a conversation that starts with a little vulnerability, it’s a lot easier to mend a relationship. I think adults have been programmed to hide the vulnerability.

    I love the post and will try to keep it in mind the next time someone hurts me. Most people aren’t “heinous bastards” I’m sure.


  12. I agree with you for the most part. However, after 13 years of manipulative hurt directed at me, I said ‘fuck it’ and got rid of that problem. Sometimes damage becomes irreversible.


    • You’re right. And I know exactly what you’re talking about. There’s one person I’ll never forgive for what she did to me, but I’ve moved on from it. I don’t hate her. I don’t wish her ill. But I will also always remember the things she did and those are the first things I think of any time I think of her.

      Abuse, or any action full of evil intent, isn’t something I advocate forgiving. If you can, great. If not, do your best to let it go and move on.


  13. We are always harder on ourselves than anyone else would ever be. I feel your sadness and regret here, as I understand and empathize. I once lashed out at my only true friend, in a drunken back-out. The next day he told me. He’ll probably never forget despite my amends. Once I got off the booze many of the hurtful things stopped escaping from my mouth. Not all though. We use our written words as a release. I’d MUCH rather email someone than speak on the phone. Just part of the clincal depression.
    I’ve tried to adopt a rule. Don’t write a reply to anyone who causes you hurt or anger, for 24 hours.
    It helps.
    It’s harder to forgive yourself for past explosions. Remember that you’re not that person anymore. It isn’t your business what others think of you. Let them stew. You need that free space in your head to move and and enjoy change.


    • Perhaps it isn’t my business what others think of me, but if I care about someone I care what they think of me, and I don’t want someone I care about to think ill of me, or that I’m capable of horrendous and despicable acts.


  14. Yeah, no kidding.


  15. I love what you wrote here. I’m new to you, to your blog, and of course you have a menacing gravatar, so I’ve no clue what you’re all about…yet…
    But I will say, that we are all deeply flawed human beings. And forgiveness is a wonderful thing.

    I love what you wrote in the comment section that there is one person you won’t forgive, but you won’t hate.; you’ve moved on. That’s really the way to go. Resentment is a poison you swallow, waiting for the other person to die…


    • You’re right. You’re hate for someone doesn’t affect them, it affects you.

      And if you want to know what I’m about, feel free to ask. I’ll answer any questions you have.


  16. Good thoughts.
    Sorry, that’s all I’ve got right now. 😛


  17. Hey Twindaddy– I’ve been reading your comments at various blogs, admired what you had to say, but I hadn’t stopped by to give you any feedback. I love this post… it really resonates with me. I’m a sensitive soul and harsh words from people I dearly love have really hurt. I’ve had to brace up and assert proper boundaries, as many times, those loved ones didn’t have a clear sense of them. The words hurt because there were other violations to go with them.


  18. I love friends! Friends rock. I’ve seen many badly-burnt bridges be rebuilt even in my short life…and it’s a beautiful thing.


  19. What good advice, TwinDaddy.


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