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When my bag of hurt feelings overflows I resort to the tried and true path for a fix. Maybe you do too? But what exactly is the best route?


Lash out at the world and scream until you feel better? Use hurt feelings as an aerobic exercise until you’re out of breath?


Like that ever happens, except we both know people who vent the same song and dance at high volume. Who are those people, besides people in some sort of emotional pain?


One guess is they are people who’ve never had the wonderful experience of being told their feelings don’t matter so shut up, grow up, and get on with life. You know, like hurt feelings are just something to deal with. Quietly.


What are the consequences of this sort of counseling? Not pretty, that’s for sure.
Negate someone’s feelings, hurt or otherwise, and you negate them. If you do that to enough people in your life, surprise, you won’t have people in your life.


Feelings, more than hurt feelings


If loved ones and closeness to others is important to you, find another way. No one is just one ball of hurt, but it’s there in the mix of everything else you like about them.


Once you’ve heard the same thing over and over and over in the span of decades, years, months, or one bad night out with a new friend, fatigue sets in. People who identify themselves as eternal victims, put upon, or a dumping ground for the insensitive brutes walking among us, they need to tell someone.


Being the lucky recipient of a friend’s continuous whine is painful in it’s own right. You’re not perfect, the reasoning goes, but at least you’re not a whiner. If that makes you feel better about yourself, good for you, but there’s another part of the equation.


hurt feelings

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In movies and songs and literature, in poetry and haiku and art, hurt feelings are a staple. Someone done somebody wrong? Yes, they did. Or did someone mistake good intentioned talk for an attack? Yes, they did. Either way, figure it out and make it work toward something more than adding to the pile of pain.


More than hurt feelings matter


I get that no one understands someone’s bad deal better than them. You can listen and be sympathetic the first hundred times, then you need to help out. Let’s get started.


Say you’ve been bullied, body shamed, beat up; you’ve been overlooked, overdrawn, over your head; you’ve been passed over, passed out, passed on. Your mom never loved you, your dad was never ‘there’, your brothers and sisters ignored you.


Any of this sound familiar? You put your best foot forward and it got stepped on; you gave the best advice when asked and heard how stupid you sound; you can’t do anything right or wrong and feel paralyzed. So far so good? Now what?


Instead of blaming the same way in every instance of hurt feelings, find a new blame. Listen, this is hard, but maybe it’s you and the way you hear things, do things, feel things.


Whose hurt feelings matter most


Before you insist on your rights, your individuality, your needs, remember you are a unique person, just like the other billions of people sharing the earth, the water, the air. Unique is key, and it’s no joke. We are all unique.


Why not tap into the uniqueness of the person telling you to stuff your hurt feelings in a bag, stick them in corner, and pull them out when they have more time to work with them. What they’re saying is shut the hell up, I’m tired of your sh!t. But it’s more. If they say that, they’re not saying they’re tired, they’re saying they don’t have the tools to help.


Your hurt feelings matter most…to you


From their point of view they’ve heard your story too many times, and that probably means more than one too many. So give them a break, they deserve it. And I don’t mean give them a, “Hey, how ’bout them Cowboys.”


All they are asking is that you take a more considerate tone. They feel bad they can’t listen, can’t help, and can’t stand hearing any more. So give them a new whine, an updated vintage.


No one helps the person who recommends ignoring feelings better than someone in touch with feelings. Maybe that’s you?
About David Gillaspie


  1. Linda Barrow says:

    Good article David. Heard it a million times, try to help, then told I’m toxic. I’m the problem. And, then I’m not suppose to have hurt feelings or have feelings. Well, Feelings are real. I been to Counseling for my own issues, as well as when I’ve been hurt.

    Counseling is a great place for any help with feelings as long as you find a good counselor. Not the kind of counselor that says, “And how does that make you feel?” You know how you feel. Mad, sad, angry…. The counselor that asks questions, and the kind of counselor that digs deep and extracts the root of the problem, and actually helps you to get to the core of your feelings. Those are the good ones. The ones that give good advice to deal with the problem vs putting the blame on the wrong thing or person.

    When people don’t get the help they need it’s hard to listen to someone when you see someone making mistake after mistake over and over. Trust me I know, I’ve made mistakes and many! I’ve gone to Counseling for all my mistakes. I don’t say this because I’m perfect, but because I’m very imperfect. Counseling is my go to when things bother me, or if I know I’m not handling things correctly. I usually don’t attack people that hurt me or say something rude. It usually shocks me that I wasn’t prepared for the best answer. I have lashed out before. Everyone has. I’ve been to counseling for the mistakes I’ve made, for the feelings I have, and for the hurts others have done or when I’m just feeling down. It’s healthier than trying to handle serious things on your own.

    All people go through horrible things, or people fail. I fail. Everyone has failed at some point in their lives, but some people go through more failures or hardships than others. Telling a friend or someone to basically “back the F off” Is probably not the best thing to do to someone who cares, especially when you’re trying to help after hearing the same thing for 15 years, with no help, it just truly hurts. The moral of this story is… Counseling!!

    Counseling will only work when you are open to heal and listen. Attacking others creates a reaction you may not like. Feelings mean the most to the people that care the most. People that continue to attack and blame are the ones that need counselling the most. My take on feelings… Everyone has them, but the ones that suffer are the ones who care the most. I choose to seek help not only for what I’ve done wrong, or how I can improve myself, but to also learn how to look deep within and fix things. Feelings are real but attacking others is wrong and when someone does attack or is rude I found its best to just walk away and go to Counseling. Counseling feels healthy and is healthy. Feelings are good to have. It makes you human. A reaction is not usually a one way street.

    I’ve found that when people lash out its because they’ve need someone to blame and need help the most. For every action there is a reaction and the reaction is only as bad as the feeling. Over the years, I’ve learned, through all my feelings and hardships, that God is number one. Turn to him. Peace, health and happiness are number two, and helping others is number 3. Without 1 and 2 you can’t do 3. And the biggest thing I’ve learned in life is you can’t help people that don’t want to help themselves, so at that point then all you can do is just pray for them.

    The worst things in my life has brought me to the greatest thing in my life. This is God. I’ve put all my faith in him and I feel his presence. I’m kinder and I’ve learned that the best thing to do is forgive and pray. People have to be honest about their feelings, accept their feelings, respect their feelings, before they can heal from their feelings. I still believe today that a good counselor is the best go to. Helping yourself with your feelings should be a first priority if you are feeling down. My good friends who have been honest with me, when I’ve needed help with my feelings, have been so valuable. I’ve been grateful for the listening ears and the caring advice they have given. I do the same for them. That’s life. That’s friendship.

    Life throws curve balls and sometimes cannonballs. People need good friends. That’s friendship. Friendship is honesty. What if friends never heard me? What if they didn’t care? What if they never said anything? What if they talked behind my back about my problems but said nothing to me? That’s not the friend I would want. What kind of friend is the friend that stays silent when they know you need help? Yes, every single one of us has feelings and they matter.

    On another note, I’m so deeply sorry to know what you’ve been going through David, and I hope you are in recovery. I’ve been feeling sadness knowing you’ve been suffering. Cancer is a horrible thing. I lost my father when I was 23 to Cancer. That was in 1988. Research and medical advancements have come a long way and I pray that you heal and feel better. Know that I’ve been saying my prayers for you and your family.


    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hey Linda,

      When I started boomerpdx I expected a level of engagement, which is what bloggers do, expect. Finding it is another thing. I’ve had good advice on what it takes to bring engagement. If I open my life to the blog world, would it matter? Well, it matters enough and I’m happy for your comments.

      No one is more sorry than me about cancer in any form. Meeting and talking with my fellow cancer peeps in the waiting rooms highlighted the random nature of the disease. Getting it is one thing; seeing how it affects the circle of people in life is a whole ‘nother deal. I think it’s worse for them. At least the afflicted have made up their minds on doom one way or the other. The support group has too. The results don’t always match up.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts,


  2. Linda Barrow says:

    My friend Gail has battled cancer for 2 1/2 years now and had a stem cell transplant. Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Right now tests are looking positive for her. Lymph nodes are shrinking. I’ve been praying for both of you. Cancer sucks! There are no better words. Get well and beat this!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      It’s easy to agree that the only good cancer is no cancer. But…the stuff I got tagged with is HPV16 neck cancer, more specifically tongue cancer that jumped to a lymph gland and resulted in a stage 4 diagnosis. Just hearing that, and writing it, is a pant-load. Dead man walking, right? Except the outcome is pretty good if the cards all fall the right way.

      I took the fear and worked with it along with the beat down of treatment. Cancer sucks, but… you still need to do something, just like any other sucky day. Instead of wallowing any more than I could stand, I finally got the message: No one beats cancer, fights cancer, or takes cancer down. We endure cancer, we persevere through it, instead of letting cancer be the main identifier. Some message, huh?

      The people I met in treatment, people like Gail, have been carrying on for years. These people walk among us and we never know. Their strength to carry on is beyond belief. And I thought I had it bad? I asked this question a few times: What would you rather have, cancer or loss of limb, or heart disease, or any other shitty thing? No one chooses cancer. Then someone flipped the question with, What would you rather have, cancer or ALS? Shut me right up.

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