We all climb aboard unknowingly, with our one way tickets in hand, riding from one destination to the next. It’s just a normal part of the cycle of life. People hurt each other every day in a million different ways. Husbands hurt their wives, wives hurt their husbands, family members, friends, and strangers. We all hurt people we love and those we might briefly cross paths with. The hurt train just keeps chugging down the track blowing that smoke stack of pain out its top.
There are catagories of hurt. Intentional, unintentional, Moral hurt, Immoral hurt. Moral hurt is when you make a choice that you know will hurt someone but it’s the right thing to do. An example of moral hurt is reporting your child to the police for stealing your bank card and withdrawing money without your permission. Another example is turning in a coworker for taking credit for someone else’s hard work. Immoral hurt is when you hurt someone for selfish reasons knowing it’s the wrong thing to do because it will cause someone pain, but you gain benefit from it so you choose yourself and do it anyway. An example of immoral hurt would be copying a fellow student’s test answers and when caught, denying, and saying the student copied you. As a result, you both are punished with an F. Intentional hurt is doing it out of spite and the pure enjoyment of causing pain to someone. An example of intentional hurt is making up a lie to get someone in trouble. Yet another example is keying someone’s car. Unintentional hurt is being completely unaware that your actions will cause someone else pain. An example of unintentional hurt is when you don’t follow through when you say you are going to do something and it ends up hurting someone who was depending on you. In other words, you let them down. You didn’t mean to, you were just focused on yourself.
With mental illness we can cause unintentional hurt to the ones we love. People who are bipolar may not realize they have hurt their loved ones with their intense outbursts of anger. They may not know that their anger is a problem at all. However, when they are diagnosed and are made aware of how their anger and actions affect others, the hurt turns from unintentional to intentional. At this point, they are causing hurt and choosing not to change it. It’s no longer an unintentional hurt. They can’t blame the mental illness for hurting you because they are no longer ignorant to its effects. It is about intention and the effort put into making things better.
Unintentional hurt remains forgivable. How can we be upset with someone who isn’t purposely setting out to cause us hurt? Intentional hurt, however, shouldn’t be forgiven. It’s destructive and rips through a relationship like a tornado. Nothing changes when you forgive intentional hurt.
I forgave and forgave the intentional hurt. It never went away or got better. In fact, it escalated. The more I forgave, the worse it became. It became only intentional. He used his mental illness to mask his intentions and just kept hurting me. By forgiving, I gave him permission to keep hurting me. The last five years we were together, I couldn’t forgive him anymore. When he would apologize, I would tell him not to tell me he was sorry, just change his behavior. I kept telling him someday I wouldn’t be there anymore. Thirty-one years and a month later, it was simply too late….just too late.