Why we hurt

Do you know people who have hurt you? Do you know people who hurt everybody? 

Why do they do it? Maybe because they are cruel, evil, uncaring.

Have you hurt people? 

Why do you do it?

Maybe you think you don’t. But others have told you you do. Your name crops up in their list of ‘people who hurt’ 🙂

So maybe we are all “hurtees” in some sense 😀

The question then becomes: Why do we hurt?

Before that : Why do we feel hurt?

Surprise: It has nothing to do with the other person! 

Only courageous people will read on beyond this point

It is true. People can say a lot of things. But what we feel is on us. 

For example, imagine a group of students chatting together in class…the quintessential nerd, the class clown, the jock who doesn’t care about studying. Suddenly, the teacher comes in and yells “Just chattering away instead of reading the next lesson!! What will you make of your life?!!”

Do you feel every boy will feel hurt to the same degree?

No! Perhaps the nerd will feel more hurt. Not the others. Why does this happen?

Because his identity is built around ‘studying and succeeding’. 

There are ways to hurt the jock too. Maybe by commenting on this strength, his manliness. 

We all have our buttons. 

Our sad experiences are like wounds we carry. Wounds we are afraid of being touched. But we have forgotten that we have those wounds. But when someone pokes a finger(intentionally or unintentionally) – it pains!!

And we blame them for hurting. 

When I was 7 years old, I and my sister(She was 3 years old) were playing together on the bed. She was sitting on a pillow and I pulled it off from under her. She lunged forward and hit her head on the edge of the bed rest. The cut was deep. My mother was aghast. The event left her with 4 stitches…and a scar. My mother was understandably very angry. 

It was something I felt hugely guilty about – but justified it somehow to myself. And thought the guilt ended. I did not realize that the very fact that I needed to keep justifying it meant the guilt was alive. 

In any sibling fight from then on, in any argument with my mom – this guilt became a button they could use against me.  

The closer we are to somebody, the more we know their buttons. And they know ours!

Of course you can expect that nobody will ever touch those wounds. Cover them up with a thousand kilograms of bandage and lug it around. Carpet the whole world rather than wearing slippers. 

We don’t want to poke somebody’s wounds, because it makes us look bad. But if we are afraid of our wounds being poked – then we will launch the preemptive strike! 

Poke them before they can poke us! 

The poking is of course preceded by the threat of being poked. That is when a discussion turns into an argument. When we are afraid of being hurt. That’s when our hearts close and we don our amour, prepare for war. Hurt or be hurt! Shut them up or die! 🙂 

That’s where we start pressing all buttons, in ascending order of what makes us look bad. 

We can hurt the other by poking their deepest wounds. The price we pay is looking bad ourselves. Feeling guilty. A new wound has opened up in us now. Which others can poke. 

And so the hurting competition continues forever! 

The solution is to realize that when a slight touch pains surprisingly too much, it is not the touch that is the problem – it is a wound that has been forgotten. It is not about hurting back, or blame others for hurting. It is to ask “What inside me is getting poked?” It it is to heal our own wounds. To forgive ourselves, before others do. Not to condone our actions, but to accept the wound. 

People who hurt are just humans afraid of their wounds being poked. And we can do some pretty silly things when we are afraid. 


  1. Very rightly said, the untended wounds becomes sore enough that a slight touch can trigger lot of pain and angst. This made me to realise that we need to accept we are wounded and tend it. During the healing time we will have the urge to scratch it and remove the freshly made epidermis layer. But we need to know that the we have to go through the stages of pain, before we give it a proper closure and come out of it without a mark

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