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 by day.  


  1. You are very right Mary, you are not a failure. I am so sorry you were treated this way, but in turn you have become a better mother for your sons. you are turning the tide. That you so much for the comment. I am intrigued about Saturn. I must go look it up! Thank you Mary!

  2. Yes, I always thought the "Sticks and Stones" ditty was a load of bunk too. Emotional pain lasts much longer than physical pain.

  3. You are right about the power of words. So glad you were able to turn around and learn from the bad and turn it into good. I admire you for having been able to get past all that and be here today, writing such wonderful posts full of wisdom and above all: optimism. There must have been a special being behind you pushing you forward to a better path. Have a beautiful Sunday XX

  4. I'm glad you are healing.

    I'm amazed at how forgiving you are.

    Oh yes, I know how that goes... If one doesn't forgive, they just allow the hurt to keep hurting themselves. But still... I still commend you at how you learned that very hard lesson.

    And so wish I could learn to keep my "mouth shut," most of the time. Everywhere.

  5. the quote is so true, i traveled a similar path with my mother.

  6. you are such a beautiful soul Mary.. sharing your pain here.. in sharing, you also help me - your posts always, always help me understand myself or my life.. i think many of us have alot of issues from childhood and it is a long journey in healing ourselves.. but gold stars to us for persevering!
    love to you xox

  7. Words are powerful things. Your are a beautiful amazing lady........... x x x

  8. You are so right about words hurting. A bruise will hurt at the time, but it will go away and be forgotten about. However, those nasty, ugly words will stay forever, replaying over and over in our minds. Healing happens, it just takes a long time to heal. Wishing you a peaceful Sunday!


  9. I was just talking about this to a friend today. About how there was a breaking point for me, and how I finally realized that all the hurtful words were because my parent didn't like themselves. I doesn't take away what they said to me in the past, but it took away any power they had over me from then on.

  10. It's difficult when you see a parent doing this type of thing and can't find the words to tell them the damage they are doing...sigh...