We’ve heard it said that “hurt people, hurt people.” We’ve seen this over and over again in life, and when that unprovoked anger is directed towards you, what is your first reaction? What is your first thought? Do you immediately think you have done something wrong or offensive to warrant it?

We tend to take it personally and as a child, we might say about a school bully… “I don’t know why Johnnie doesn’t like me… He is always so mean to me.”  As an adult, you might fear losing your jobs because your boss never seems happy with your work, even though deep down you may know you are doing a good job.

If we were to peel back the layers from people who are angry, it is likely that underneath that anger we will find a reservoir of hurt stemming from much earlier events, including childhood experiences. 

But… how many times do we actually stop and question why that other person might be lashing out at all? Or am I even REALLY the cause of that other person’s anger or rage? 

When people seem to deliberately want to strike out at you with the intention to hurt you… take a moment to step back from it and gain perspective. From the vantage point of a detached objective observer, it’s easy to see the other person’s pain. 

What if you trained yourself to immediately place the responsibility for Johnnie’s behavior on Johnnie and not on yourself? What a great lesson to teach school-age children, right? What if you instinctively understood that Johnnie is just hurting and is acting out because of his own pain?

Studies conclude that bullies have been bullied themselves. Somehow the misguided subconscious mind will try to “offload” our own pain by making others hurt, too. Obviously, it doesn’t work… we still feel that pain and now we’ve multiplied it. 

Hurt people need love and compassion to break the cycle. See if you can rise above it and respond with kindness the next time this happens. At a minimum, don’t take it personally. If you teach your kids the truth about why people will intentionally lash out at others, it saves them a great deal of unnecessary emotional pain themselves. They may not have been the cause of the other person’s anguish… but they CAN definitely be part of the solution. 

Jayne Goldman, MBA, C.Ht., Founder and Principal of Best Life Hypnotherapy in Los Angeles, is a Certified Hypnotherapist and NLP Master NLP Practitioner and Coach. 


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