Posted by: jedwardswright | September 20, 2010

The Walking Wounded

Have you been hurt again and again by other people? Do you feel like curling up into a ball and growing spines like a porcupine? Does becoming a hermit and living out your life in a cave somewhere seem like a viable solution? I can identify.

When past traumas have left us terrified of abandonment or rejection, trusting again may seem impossible. Like a mimosa pudica , a sensitive plant with leaves that roll up at the slightest contact, any interaction may cause us to withdraw into ourselves with fear.

Reluctant to let anyone get close, we are like burn victims who experience agony when touched. The thing is that burn victims have to endure their bandages being changed, plastic surgery, and any number of painful procedures to recover. In order to make progress, we may have to face some pain.

In human relationships, even the healthiest ones, there are bound to be some misunderstandings, miscommunications and unmet expectations. People will not always do or say exactly the right thing, and sometimes, they may just plain blow it. However, if most of the time someone is considerate and helpful, than the occasional bump or bruise is worth it.

The real problem is that we do not have confidence that we can survive even these smaller hurts.

It is not our fault that life has burned us so badly, or that we are so easily wounded. Life has done this to us. Still, at some point, we have to make a decision, a mental choice — not a feeling — to trust someone who is in the business of healing and believe that that person means to help us, not hurt us, so that we can go forward.

Every time we run, it confirms in our minds the message that everyone is going to be cruel and we can’t possibly face any problems in a relationship. With support and encouragement from the right therapists and doctors, we can.

If you are like me, you wear your heart on your sleeve, even when you shouldn’t. I would prefer to be an open book, and I stink at small talk, so I stray into topics with acquaintances that should be reserved for intimate friends. Inevitably, though, by exposing my inner self too soon, I risk the rejection that I dread.

Most of the time, our best strategy is to wait and observe. Does this person speak and act kindly the majority of the time? Does he or she show respect for others regardless of their social status, gender, race, or creed? Is there gossip or bad-mouthing going on when someone’s back is turned? Do people in his or her life think highly of that person’s character? By ensuring ahead of time that someone new is trustworthy, we can save ourselves a lot of grief.

That doesn’t mean that we will never feel offended or injured. What it means is that when we feel hurt, we can give that person the benefit of the doubt that she or he didn’t hurt us on purpose, and attempt to work it out together in a non-confrontational manner.

By cutting ourselves off from social interaction, we might avoid most emotional distress, but we also eliminate the companionship and support we need. With the help of qualified professionals, and the determination to withhold our trust until we have evidence that it is deserved, we can slowly allow others to be part of our lives.


  1. t’s such a important site. fabulous, quite fascinating!!!


    Opony Mozgowe


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