Psychology

How Words Hurt



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"How Words Hurt"
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"I Wish I Never Adopted You"

These were the words spoken to me by my mother when I was six years old. It was a cold blistery winter day. My brother Patrick and I were playing down in the basement in our playroom. It was so chilly down there, and there was that musty basement smell that all Northern basements have. I was standing right between the big black chalkboard that my dad had built, and the bar. How do I remember all these details? Because for the rest of my life, I will never forget that day.

When I was a child, my adoptive mother was mean. Mean as a snake. It didn't take much to set her off. And you never knew what it would be that would set her into motion. What made her happy one day would make her beat you the very next. When she got into a rage, it wasn't only her fists that hurt you. Her words were probably even worse. I didn't think so at the time. At the time I would have chosen the vicious verbal attack over the beating. But looking back now at the age of 41, I can see that the words are still causing me pain long after the black and blue marks have healed

I lost count of the amount of times she said she didn't love me. I lost count of the times she beat me. I even lost count of the times she told me I was stupid and would never amount to anything. But she only said she wished she had never adopted me once. But I remember how those words stung me. She said she wished she had never adopted me and she wished she could take me back. But she said they wouldn't take me back, that no one else wanted me, not even my real mother had wanted me. I was just a baby. Only six years old. But I remember going to bed that night and thinking of what she had said. I remember even at that little age wanting to die. It is a lonely place to be. To be so small and feel so unwanted. To feel so unlovable that even your real mother had not wanted you.

Do words hurt? You bet. They can cut deeper that any other weapon we have. Be careful parents. Be careful when you are angry not to let out words you will later wish you had not. Did I get over the words that hurt me? Not really. I have had fear of people abandoning me my whole life. I didn't even see it until my sister pointed it out to me. I still have nightmares of things my mother said to me. Don't damage those you love with words. You can say you're sorry later, but some things once said can never really be forgiven no matter how hard one tries. Your best bet, not to say them in the first place.

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More about this author: Debra Boyd-Livesey

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