Hurt People Hurt People and Other Bullshit

I’m lying. There will be no other bullshit. I’m focusing solely on that insane idea that hurt people hurt people so let’s cut them some slack!

That seems to be a popular saying in the infidelity world. You can’t really hold it against the cheater; after all, they’re hurt and you know that hurt people hurt people.

What bullshit! It is yet another excuse to excuse the inexcusable. I cheated on you because I’ve been hurt before.

Stand in line. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that before.

I’m wondering, what kind of hell do I get to heap upon others? I’ve been hurt. I was moved across the country, had my whole life ripped out from under me to start all over in the land we call Virginia. It was supposed to be a better life. This was his dream job. We were going to buy our dream house and be able to give our kids a wonderful future. A year into that new life, a year spent struggling to acclimate, I was hit over the head with the news that my darling husband was cheating on me yet again with his whore cousin.

You all know the story by now. Eventually I was forced to move out of my home, sell off or leave behind pretty much every tangible item I ever owned as an adult, and move in with my mother where I sleep on the couch to this day. I worked two jobs, stocking shelves at one of them. I worked twelve and sixteen hour days, going in at 2 in the morning some days and working until 8 in the evening. Even after finally finding full time employment I worked two jobs, going in at 4 am and working before coming home to pick my daughter up and take her to school, and then coming back home to get ready for a full day at work. I had very little money, even working two jobs. I begged for death for many months. And in the meantime Cousinfucker and Harley lived it up.

New puppies, a new house, going places, doing things. He was living a dream and I was living a nightmare.

So what do I get to do to other people? Because I’ve very clearly been hurt. Do I get to steal from others? Do I get to kill? Do I just get to fuck with other people’s minds, because after all, I’ve been hurt? Do I get to cheat and lie and excuse it all with that ridiculous, “hurt people hurt people” bullshit?

What about my kids? Both of them have essentially been abandoned by their father. Their lives, too, were torn apart- first when we left Utah and the only life they really knew, and second when they found out a mere one year later that their father was cheating on me and we were going to divorce. Let’s not forget the following year when I got to break the news that we were going to have to move yet again!

What kind of sociopathic tendencies can we excuse in them? Can they bully other kids and get away with it? Can they do drugs and abuse alcohol? We’ll excuse all of it because they’ve suffered. They’ve had a hardship. Let’s not expect any civilized behavior out of them. Look at what kind of a father they have for an example!

What about the mobster? He was faced with a lying, cheating, alcoholic wife for a good twelve years. I would imagine he has built up quite a bit of “hurt people hurt people” currency. He ended up pulling up roots (selling his kids’ childhood home, selling his business) and moving from his beloved New England down to Virginia thanks to her behavior. He has endured much humiliation at the hands of his wife, and to this day she continues to spread malicious lies about him. I think he’s entitled to be a dick to pretty much whomever. He’s definitely been hurt. Does that excuse him mistreating me? Cheating on me? Lying to me?

Or what about my cousin? She lost her son three days after he arrived in Afghanistan. What kind of horrible things does she get to do? You want to talk about hurt? I can’t imagine a greater hurt than losing a child.

I have a friend from a previous life that I keep up with through Facebook. In the last several years she has lost her young nephew to a brain tumor, her father to cancer, and she herself was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. I figure she’s good for at least one free gas station robbery, or maybe a pistol whipping of someone. Since we want to stay away from criminal activity what else could she do? Berate bank tellers and food servers? Harass crossing guards and grocery store clerks? Ignore her husband and child?

It’s a cop out. It’s an excuse. People don’t cheat because they’ve been hurt before. They cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. They cheat because the payoff of the affair is worth losing their relationship if they’re discovered. Actually, I take that back.  They don’t think they’ll ever be discovered. I think another huge part of it is we’re so used to reading stuff that urges us to forgive, urges us to reconcile. Why, your partner practically owes it to you to forgive you! And not just forgive you but to figure out where their part comes in, how they failed you as a partner. It takes two, we’re frequently told; therefore, they need to figure out where they went wrong that made you cheat on them. Anything less is just giving up. Obviously the relationship wasn’t that important to them so see, you weren’t wrong to cheat; they must not have loved you enough.

Do you want to know an interesting fact? It has long been touted that most people who abuse their children have been victims of abuse themselves. I was curious one day so I looked up the statistics of abused children growing up and abusing their own children. The way it is talked about you would almost think it’s a foregone conclusion that if you were abused as a child you will go on to abuse your own child. Did you know that it is only roughly one third of those abused kids that will continue the cycle of abuse? One third.

That means two thirds of them were abused and vowed to do better. Two thirds of them didn’t settle for the excuse that they were abused and therefore their fate was to abuse their own children. They learned what not to do. They vowed they would never heap that kind of abuse on someone else. Two thirds of them made that choice. One third of them used it as justification.

Yes, studies show that the person abusing his or her child probably was abused himself or herself. The more important statistic, though, is that not even close to everyone who was abused goes on to perpetrate more abuse on others.

Where do you fall? Are you going to wreck havoc upon other people’s lives and justify that by telling everyone you’ve been hurt? Or will that circle of hurt stop with you?

See, the thing about excuses is that it doesn’t change anything. It just tries to explain bad behavior away. As I have long said, since I was 21 years old, “Your past may explain your behavior, but it doesn’t excuse it.” I think that is a far more helpful model to live by.

7 thoughts on “Hurt People Hurt People and Other Bullshit

  1. I’ve been thinking about this since you posted it. I completely agree: “Your past may explain your behavior, but it doesn’t excuse it.”

    Here’s the thing, when I use that expression, “hurt people hurt people” I am not using it to justify my behavior. I’m using it as a reminder that for all the revenging and rumormongering that C and her Posse have participated in, it is a reflection of how I hurt her. I think she is entitled to a great deal of slack from me.

    I’m using it as a way to remind myself that my past is no justification for continuing a cycle of hurt.

    “Hurt people hurt people,” is my mantra to remind myself that no matter what C does or says, no matter what others do or say, I need to remind myself that is it not okay to lash back at her or them. If I hurt, I hurt but it is not okay to use that to hurt people back.

    Hurt people avoid vulnerability. They avoid the risk, the uncertainty, and the emotional openness that would allow them to heal from their hurt. “More vulnerability, not less, is the way to heal a broken heart.”

    Instead, people use hurt to justify destructive and hurtful behavior. They hang onto it…and yes, while not every molested child grows up to be a molester 1/3 do.

    Hurt manifests in a variety of ways. It isn’t all one thing or the other. Also, for example, my mom was molested by a sibling, uncle and probably her father. She didn’t molest me or my brother but her hurt led her to alcohol and her alcoholism reeked havoc on everyone in the house. Her goal was to do better…but did she really do better or just different?

    I’d be curious how many of those molested struggle with other addictions and relationship problems?

    As far as forgiveness, I just wrote about this. Asking C to forgive me is one of the most selfish acts post-reveal. Based on the definition of forgiveness, when I ask C to forgive me, I’m asking C to deny her feelings, to pardon my betrayal, to disregard my lies, to overlook my secrets. I’m asking her to stop hurting. I’m asking her to stop being angry and resentful. Expecting or asking for forgiveness is incredibly selfish.

    Walking the Journey wrote an excellent piece on the topic:

    I will add one last thing, every situation is different.

    I slept with my ex-wife for reasons that I’ve discussed in great detail elsewhere so I won’t rehash it here. I ended the behavior specifically because I wanted my relationship with C to succeed, I didn’t want C to be hurt by my betrayal and as a result, used secret-keeping and an escalating series of lies to cover up my act and my ass. It is simple to boil everything down to stereotypes, and I understand that is where you are at the moment, but people are infinitely more complicated.

    I understand that you were handed an enormous shit sandwich by your husband and I know you hurt. He thoughtlessly made decisions that resulted in havoc upon your life and your kids lives. I cannot even imagine the humiliation and anger you must struggle with. I would think it is difficult not to try and hurt him back with revenging, rumormongering, trying to humiliate him, and destroy aspects of his life…but if you did, that would be understandable. Hurt people hurt people and as much as we want to do better we are all just human.


  2. Also, anyone that says this to a betrayed spouse should be waterboarded: “Obviously the relationship wasn’t that important to them so see, you weren’t wrong to cheat; they must not have loved you enough.”

    I have been told variations of this as well. I think it is BS. C didn’t do anything to justify my behavior. Nothing.

    Only after the fact, while trying to separate what is mine to own, and what is not, did I realize I had C on a pedestal. She could do no wrong in my eyes. Only now do I see that for a variety of reasons we probably would have ended up in this place regardless of my infidelity. My behavior was the way of the thing, it was not the thing.


  3. All of this. Yes, hurt people hurt people. But it does not excuse them doing it to the next person. Bullied people becoming bullies is the same. It should be a lesson NOT to treat people that way because you know how it feels, not an excuse to do the same to another. They don’t deserve slack but they do deserve to be shown why it is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think most people know it’s wrong, that is why there’s so much shame attached to the lying, cheating, and betrayal.

      One problem is the role models for infidelity include people like Trump, Clinton, and Newt Gingrich. People just assume everyone that cheat are like that like them. Trump feels entitled because he has money, Clinton’s pissed cuz he got caught and it hurt his reputation, and Newt just doesn’t care. The a****** left his wife while she was getting treatment for cancer.

      So when you talk about infidelity it’s always these big 100000 feet high stories. And no one knows the actual truth because it becomes fodder for press and media hype.

      So Hillary does what many betrayed spouses I read and talk with did. She fought for her marriage, denigrated The Other Woman, and punished Bill behind closed doors. And we hate her for that… Because you know betrayed women are weak and all. *eyeroll*.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We have all been hurt in our lives. Yet very few people I know have chosen to turn around and visit similar (or worse) pain on someone else. I think the minute we use our pain to explain hurting someone else, we are actually seeking to justify our wrong choices. Lessen them.

    The biggest hurdle in remaining in my marriage was navigating the concept of forgiveness. While my husband did everything I asked…boundaries, counseling etc? He held on to this idea that true forgiveness would be heralded by me being “healed”. I would stop mentioning it. It would cease to have power and relevance in our present and future life together. But for me, there is no such thing as “ healed”, there is only the choice of “healing”. So forgiveness for me means that I am here today, continuing to heal and willing to continue in this marriage. Because I am the one who has been asked to extend forgiveness, then I am the one who defines the form and function of that.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I shared your post with a friend looking for perspective. This is what she wrote:

    “I think Hurt people hurt people when they are unaware of healthy way to manage their hurt. Men in particular, that are taught not to have emotions, not to apologize and not talk about such things have a hard time identifying, let alone dealing with the emotion. Like with over eating, for some it fills an emotional need, one that if you asked the over eater… they may not know what emotion/need they are trying to fill with food.”


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