There are many ways of being hurt.

Some are minor and some are more severe. In some cases we are the unwitting victim of those who hurt us. At other times we collude in allowing ourselves to suffer by building expectations that make us vulnerable or placing our trust in the wrong places. Whatever the nature of the damage done to us, it is a potential source of learning. We can allow the hurt to keep us down as we continue to play the role of the victim – or, alternatively, we can learn to overcome it, adapt to it, try to make sure that it never happens again, and, if it does occur again, learn to deal with it more effectively.

Here are some of the ways that people are hurt –

Unmet expectations. you are disappointed when you build expectations that are dashed. You don’t always get what you want, and this is to be expected. When you build your hopes on achieving a major goal, however, like not getting the promotion you had hoped for or losing the love you had so longed for, the result can be catastrophic. The hurt can be enormous.

Humiliation. When you are ridiculed by others – especially during childhood, as often happens when children are called derisive names – or when your pride is wounded, as might happen when a supervisor at work berates you in front of others, the assault on your dignity may impel you to hide, put up impenetrable walls, and vow never to be hurt again.

Rejection. When you are rejected or abandoned, you experience loss – but perhaps more important is the fact that you hear the message that you are not good enough. You have to deal with grieving the loss of an important emotional bond – and your self-image is assaulted as well. The fear of abandonment is a powerful force in the lives of many people. This fear can have a strong impact on the way they relate to the world and other people.

Deception. Some people may manipulate or lie to you, using you to further their own goals. This occurs, for example, when you are asked to keep “family secrets” or to deny real problems. Not only do you learn to distrust others, but you might also come to distrust your own judgment for falling prey to the deceptions of other people. This harms your ability to trust, and your self-esteem as well.

Abuse. We hear about abuse frequently in the media these days. Abuse comes in many forms – physical, emotional, sexual, or through neglect – and it can happen in childhood or in an adult relationship. Many people who suffered from abuse during their childhoods go straight into an abusive adult relationship. The consequences are enormous for the victim. You feel low, unable to share with others, and suspect that others must somehow know about your horrible secrets. you are left with a sense of powerlessness and a legacy of guilt and shame.

Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT

San Diego Couples and Family Therapy serves the surrounding areas of Sorrento Valley Road as La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, University City and Escondido.