Chapter 2 Emotionally hurt


Van Gogh - Trauernder alter Mann.jpeg

Vincent van Gogh’s 1890 painting
Sorrowing old man (‘At Eternity’s Gate’), where a man weeps due to the unpleasant feelings of emotional pain.

A definition of emotional hurt: to cause emotional pain or distress to someone. 

If you say something demeaning to somebody, it does hurt them inside and it makes them feel deep pain emotionally… That’s emotionally hurt, (or emotionally injured, or emotionally damaged, or emotionally abused, or emotional harm). 

Unlike a physical injury which usually heals in a short time, verbal and emotional hurt is usually cumulative.

Unlike physical wounds, that heal naturally leaving only a scar, verbal and emotional wounds, left untreated, tend not to heal. These wounds are often hidden out of sight and become a part of how we act and react.

Unlike physical wounds, which hurt us on the outside, verbal and emotional wounds go to the deepest parts of us. Any physical wound going so deep would be fatal. And if left untreated long enough, prolonged verbal or emotional hurt can also be quiet fatal.

Hurt is something that everyone has experienced. People experience both emotional hurt and physical hurt. Although physical hurt can be very painful, it is emotional hurt that is harder to get over, and, because it is an ‘unseen’ hurt, sometimes emotional hurt goes unrecognized.

It was written in chapter one that during our life we don’t feel how much we are loaded with emotional hurt (E.H.) and this is because we cannot stand the emotional pain that was caused by the E.H. It is true that it hurts less when the pain is being repressed, but the damage is greater…  

And so it happens that most of our E.H. live in our subconscious. And there they can either grow or weaken, and the question is: what will be strengthen in us and what would weaken, the answer is in the Cherokee Indian story: 

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


It is all questions of what the person is feeding. Is he feeding the E.H.?

If he is thinking about it – gives it power, it will grow.  

Usually the current E.H. is not there by itself, it connects to E.H. from the past that was already living in his subconscious (repressed). And so it gets power from without (giving it power by keeping to return to it in our mind) and from within; from all similar E.H. that are buried inside.

One the paradigms behind E.H. could be a paradigm of the need to get hurt… meaning; there are cases in which the need to get hurt serves something in the person. Let’s assume that he has a paradigm that he is not o.k. and that he feels that he should be punished, and when he is getting hurt it decreases the feeling that ‘I am not ok’, because I get the punishment that I deserve…

On the whole, with all which is connected to E.H. there are two contradictory motivations; one is to move away from the place in which he could be hurt, and the other motivation is (on the contrary) is a motivation to arrive to where he could be hurt, and this is because (as was written) he feels a need to be emotionally punished.

So, The E.H. has got two routes in which a person being hurt is ‘traveling’, one is the ‘healthy route’, the other is the ‘sick rout’. The ‘healthy route’ is to distance oneself from people that can hurt him, the second route, and the sick one, is to return again and again to the same people that hurt him before.

For example, a woman who is being hurt by beating men, she either disassociate with such men (the ‘healthy route’), and the ‘sick route’ is returning again and again to relationship with such men.

And there another point concerning the ‘sick route’, and this is true for cerain women, they return to the hurting male because she wants to be under his protection against other aggressive man, in the hope that he would appreciate that she agrees to be with him and will not hurt her and will protect her from forceful men. But in most cases his violent nature causes him to hurt her more instead of protecting her. (the story of the Toad and the Scorpion) 

And when it happens several times, a pattern is being created (A pattern is the repeated or regular way in which something happens or is done repeatedly).

 Patterns in communication are also called: games; A fixed game pattern does not allow learning and progression and each time it produce the same loop.

In the ‘sick rout’ there is self-deception, by a naïve hope (about getting protection) that usually doesn’t get actualized.

In this route there is a need, and as was written, the need (of women in most cases) is to be with someone strong, but often he is, in fact, forceful and abusive. This pattern of weak and victimized women that fall in love with forceful men is quiet common, and dominant and aggressive males cannot resist the temptation to abuse the woman which is with him, and then she is in a loop, in a circle. She suffers his emotional abuse but she returns to him because she needs a strong protecting male. 

This is a loop that locks her in a game-pattern of: victim and a victimizer. But if at a certain point in the relationship her degree of suffering accedes her need for a protecting man – she would probably disconnect from him.  

Usually, a woman that succeeded to get out of this destructive loop is a woman with self-respect who is not willing to be humiliated from a certain point onwards. 

Accept women that fall in this destructive loop, there is a group of people (that were mentioned in chapter one) who suffer a lot from emotional abuse; they are called: highly sensitive persons, they are especially getting hurt most of the time, and like women, a sensitive person needs a lot of self-respect in order to free himself from the destructive loop. One of the reasons for them returning again and again to it could be because loneliness is worse… But be the reason what it may, like the victimized woman in a ‘sick relationship’, the highly sensitive person is often in a catch. 

There is an element that in this stage should come into the picture, and it is: self-esteem. Low self-esteem can bring the one who was hurt back to the one who hurt him, again and again, and this is because he believes that there is something in him which is not right, and his guilt feelings lead him to the need to be punished, in the form of emotional hurt. And that something that he sees in him as ‘not right’ is actually his over-soul, the vibrancy and potency of his soul, just that when he sees himself through the eyes of the status quo – he sees his inner beauty as weakness. 

There are people (mostly highly sensitive persons) that are born with high quality (in the soul level), and this is like a double edge sword; sharp in both ends – sensitive to high things and sensitive to low things. This sensitivity is interpreted by the herd mentality (and by forceful people) as weakness.

This sensitivity, together with low self-esteem – is for forceful people like a magnet, it transmits signs of weakness, in his eyes – a victim is an invitation and he couldn’t hold back. Meaning that the both; the victim and the victimizer are in a loop; he could not hurt and the highly sensitive could not be not hurt.

To this arena of the serial victims we can add children, especially highly sensitive children, they could become the victims and scapegoats of their family, a drainage pipe through which the family is channeling their frustrations and problems.

R. D. Laing, mainly in his book: “The divided self writes about it a lot; he even says that the schizophrenics in a family are its scapegoats.

According to him, Part of what might bring about schizophrenia – is not necessarily his own ‘luggage’, but belongs to the family members that glorify themselves about being sane, but in fact they get reed of problematic ‘luggage’ through the family scapegoat.

And how does one becomes a scapegoat? By getting emotionally hurt repeatedly. 

Children are a weak population, when they are young, they don’t obey yet to social norms, by this the child is making his upbringing difficult, for his parents needs to see him adhering to the social, and one of the ways, they feel, can bring the child back to the route is to hurt him emotionally; ”you are no good”, “nothing good will come out of you”, “you good for nothing” and the like.

Another reason that parents get frustrated is that the kids (and especially, the highly sensitive and the outsiders) who do not take the conventional path – is fear (that the child will not manage to get along in life) and rage (about the child, apparently, choosing the wrong route) and from there the road to hurt the child emotionally – is short.

With it, the parent’s intention is good, he means to say something like: “be careful, don’t behave like this, you will be hurt”, and because he is afraid that the child would not pay attention to his warning – he hurts him. (because he believes that this would be more effective). 

Usually this is not successful and only makes the child more victimize, and this is a tragedy. The truth is that you could not train anyone through negative reinforcement, it never works, and it only creates in the child low self-esteem. The danger that awaits many parents is to think that the whiplash of the negative reinforcement is the most effective. 

Parents who are not emotionally mature will probably have more tendency to hurt a child which is problematic.

”The road to hell is paved with good intentions…”; the child could turn out to be very successful in his future life, but inside his could be in ruin.  

Of course one of the main reasons for this unproductive way is identification of the parent with his fear and frustration.

One possible reaction of grownups who were hurt by their parents, is to hurt them back, mainly by being cold and distant. And now there is a reversal in who hurts and who is being hurt.

After years of E.H. – a pattern and a route is being created, in which a new hurt is moving, and as it keeps moving it makes the route – deeper (a too strong E.H. might cause an overflow of the emotions above the canal of the pattern).

When a person becomes overloaded with hurt emotions then the pain–might be his governing factor; in conversations for example; what he talks about, what he does not talk about, who is talking to, and how long he talks, all is navigated by the attempt to decrease E.H. The tragedy here is that those who are E.H. seems to have a kind of a sign on their forehead (which is made by their high sensitivity, or by being an outsider) which attracts to its owner more people who would hurt him. (Sensitivity could be interpreted as a weakness).

Guilt is being created when the victim is justifying the E.H. – as though he brought on himself.

But how does the aggressor knows whom he can hurt safely?

Well, psychologists have known for years that in the area of mugging – human predators select their prey based on signals given off by their potential victims. In a matter of seconds, the predator acquires a sense of who is and isn’t a suitable target. For every victim that is attacked, many more are past over. What are the criteria that predators use to select their victims? 

In an unprecedented crime prevention project, the I-Team and Telemundo 47 Investiga sent surveys to hundreds of convicted robbers in New York and New Jersey the last week of December, asking them questions about how they pick their targets.

WarAbout 55 percent of the dozens who responded to the questionnaire said their target’s sex made no difference, but appearances were most important. 

Like a wild animal, the human predator wants an easy conquest. He does not want his job to be any more difficult or hazardous than it has to be. He will seek out those he perceives as weak, submissive and unlikely to fight back. Those who look defenseless make good victims; muggers said they targeted people who looked lost or drunk. The classic victim is a person walking a bit bent, unstable or leaning to one side, and looking down – Transmitting to the mugger: ‘here you can hit’ (and get away with it), because they were easy to overpower.

And back to the E.H. person; there is something in him which transmits: ‘I am weak it is possible to attack me’, (and again; sensitivity could be perceived as weakness).

And what does the victim thinks about that that he gets attacked often? Well he can think one of the two; either there are terrible people that hurt sensitive (looking as weak) people, or that he deserves it, for something is most probably wrong with him. Their instinctive tendency would be the second option, especially if he has got low self-esteem. Which means that not only that he is hurt, but he also cut his own head of for taking the guilt upon himself.

Feeling guilty is worse than being hurt, because it will cause you to live in self-doubt, but the truth is that you are punished for being special.

But what he wants for himself is not necessarily to develop his sensitivity and specialness to a finer and higher degree, but to be strong, so that people will not hurt him.

We live in a society that does not relate to the degree of sensitivity of a person, but mainly to him being strong or weak (or high or low status). 

So what is the solution for the highly sensitive persons that is perceived as weak? Well, he should accept and be at peace with being attacked, by seeing it as a kind of price that he has to pay for being special, of quality and sensitive in an insensitive society, this means that he will give backup and support to his ‘weak part’. 

A person could not change in himself any characteristics, but he can change the way in which he looks at himself and how he receives the E.H. –the denial of his ‘weakness’ and vulnerability is what allows the attack to enter quickly and deeply. Actually, admitting the vulnerability will not allow the attack to enter in. 

And this is the big paradox; the highly sensitive believes that his non acceptances of him being vulnerable could change something about him being hurt, but this refusal is exactly what allows the hurt to get in…

In this painful area the ‘new age’ is so welcomed, for one example; The book and the movie: “The secret” that says that you attract to yourself what you think about, think of good things’ and good will come to you. And they don’t understand that instead of coping with the vulnerable part in them they concentrate in fantasies of how good it will be for them in the future, this makes the victim to be more vulnerable and exposed, for they neglect totally the entry gate to the emotions, abandoning his emotions to every passing attack.


Examples and sayings of being emotionally hurt:

“If I wanted to say, He always returns to the city even though he knows that he will get hurt (emotionally)”.


He has been hurting ever since learning of her friend’s betrayal.


“I am sure none of my boys and girls in Room 13 would purposely … hurt anyone’s feelings …”— Eleanor Estes, The Hundred Dresses.


“Sometimes a good cry is just what you need to release all the hurt you have built up inside.”


“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”  Louis C. K.


“I hate how you act like I am so much to deal with when all I’ve done was sit here and let you repeatedly hurt me.”


“I didn’t mean to fall in love but I did. And you didn’t mean to hurt me but you did.”


“Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again.” – Rosa Parks


“Honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you hurt someone – and hurt them to the bone – you can feel self-righteous about it at the same time.” – Dave Van Ronk.

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