Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Stinging Power of Words
Good afternoon. It's a sunny day here in Brooklyn, and I'm feeling pretty good today. Yesterday I was just too burned out to do much of anything. I tried to read, but nothing interested me...even my new book. I couldn't blog because I couldn't concentrate. So, I headed off to bed and slept until 8:30 this morning...very late for me.
"If we understood the power of our thoughts, we could guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace the negative with the positive."--Bettie Eadie
When I was a little girl and did something wrong, my parents would tell me to go out and pick a switch. I'd usually come back with the smallest one I could muster, only to be told it was too small and go back to get another one. And then, I'd be told to bend over for my whipping. Oh,gosh, how the tears used to flow, but as quickly as it started, it was done. Within a half hour, the stinging would be gone, and I'd be laughing and playing like nothing happened. Sometimes, actually a lot of the time as I grew older, I'd be grounded and stuck in my room. But, all those punishments, bad as they have seemed while I was going through them, none of the them could compare with the stinging power of words. That's something that doesn't go away so easily.
Words hurt. Words hurt bad. And, continued over time, words begin to sink in and wear away our self-worth. We begin to believe what is being said. "You're no good". "You're never going to amount to anything". Or, try this one in to your new boyfriend, "She's never going to be anything but a fat, old drunk like her father." And there is nothing you can do, no place you can hide, so you just sit there and listen as she berates you. You feel the tears begin to well in your eyes, but you won't cry. Oh, no, you won't let her see how much she has hurt you.
Hey, what's the old saying? "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me?" Whoever wrote that one, sure had it wrong. On the contrary, words can hurt for an entire lifetime. We become adults and search out what we are used to...because we believe that is what we deserve. We develop this warped impression about what love is about, and end up in another hurtful relationship. Now, I was hearing...."You owe me for putting up with you.", "You're nothing, and you never will be." "I'm ashamed to be with you." Let me tell you, the pain went pretty darned deep.
It's a long, hard path to undo that damage, and I'm beginning to believe that residual effects will always be there. I'm still super sensitive to criticism and very easily hurt...extra sensitive...but, I've learned to believe in myself. I know I am not a failure; I never was. I know what 'projection' is and realize now that my mom really didn't mean to hurt me like she did; it was meant for my father. I realized that, no matter what, I have always loved her...and because of her, I was a better mother to my own sons. I'm healing and perhaps will never be fully healed...but I am working on it...day by day.