Time Does Not Heal Hurt

I came to the conclusion that time does not really mend or heal hurt and pain, it just desensitizes it. It really hit me especially this year when I was unexpectedly faced with multiple memory lanes with different people. It’s not a matter of not moving on, forgiveness, or letting go, it is the fact that we cannot always change or control our immediate feelings or reactions we get, when we revisit, no matter how much we try to “forget” or get away from it. In some cases, we will never receive answers to our questions or full closure. In that case, sometimes the only way I cannot feel the same again is if I disconnect myself, suppress, or “desensitize” myself from it.

What’s the difference between time “mending” and “desensitizing”? If time really mended hurt, one wouldn’t feel hurt anymore when a past is brought up or the presence of some people. We wouldn’t feel that flush or immediate reaction we get towards a subject or matter. No matter how hard we try to force ourselves to feel different, suppress, ignore, or abandon how we feel, whatever happened cannot be changed, so how we really feel may never change. It’s like biting into a bad apple and feeling repulsed. No matter how many times we bite into it, it still is the same apple & taste bad, but maybe we’ll get used to it or desensitized.

Our perspectives about situations and people may change or should change over time if it does justice to, but as for handling the truth, sometimes we fool ourselves from reality. Some emotions we should face, and our feelings we get, especially hurt, shouldn’t always be neglected. But sometimes it’s easier and healthier to isolate from those doing harm in order to not feel even worse, but in cases where we want to keep them in our lives, we have to figure out how to get past the hurt.

How do we trust them again? I often wonder how can I trust as much as I did before, especially if certain cases I am almost certain that I’ll be exposed to hurt again and again intentional or not, because it’s in their nature and they will not change. How can I get past that? How can I be expected to? What can I do to help me feel OK again or not feel hurt when I’m around them? I do accept things that happen and accept not always knowing why because if we cannot get answers, that is our only option in order to go on.

Maybe it’s not really up to those who got hurt to decide what to do, and instead it’s the person doing the hurt who needs to decide what to do if they wish to make everything better and to “make it up” to those they hurt. But often, the wounded is left in the dark to fend for themselves, to force themselves to feel better again around those doing the hurting, and putting much effort to accommodate the ones who hurt us, which isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

Sometimes people who acknowledged hurting, ask me what they should do to make things better but I don’t have the answer to that or the magic key. I don’t know what would help them regain my trust and sometimes it does not feel genuine for them to follow a given list either. Sometimes they just need to find out what works because trust needs to be earned. Not to play mind games at all or expect them to read minds, (I don’t recommend that). If there’s something you want from them to make you feel better, I would suggest mentioning it. It seems as simple as, “Don’t hurt me again.” but it isn’t because sometimes old habits don’t die and we don’t know or trust yet if that will be the case.

Many of us live in a world where people are occupied or busy in their own world and may forget to stop think about how others feel. What I really think others, and I, would want, is for people to evaluate the situation and show that they care; take initiatives and put effort in doing something nice. Be considerate. Many expect us to “just deal with it,” leaving us in the dark to put a lot of energy to heal ourselves, forcing ourselves to put much effort to work around the challenges they feel towards another. But time does not solve problems or heal pain. Pain may still be there and sometimes resurrected later. This solitude and isolation sometimes just doesn’t mend. To ignore the pain you have caused, or to pass it off, even as “well it happened it the past” is to show lack of care, and consideratation. It doesn’t mean we’re holding a grudge, it means our pain hasn’t healed.

I think one of the worse things people do after they hurt someone is pretending that it either never happened, not talk about it again, and hope it will just pass or go away over time. I used to have friends who kept making plans and not show up and I would wait hours for them putting all my trust in them to show up. Sometimes they’d just stall saying they need to shower, then call back saying they’d need to eat, and so forth until it’s too late so they say they’re tired and go to bed. Sometimes they wouldn’t call or reply to messages then next time I saw them, they would act as if it never happened and I would too. I had patience like a rock and it didn’t bother me at all because I was chill and let it slide.

One morning, I hopped on a train, because my friends insisted (and planned for 4 weeks), to celebrate my birthday at NYC (which I normally don’t do). I waited at Grand Central station and they never showed up. I knew one bailed last minute with typical disguise as “busy” but was worried all day that something happened to the rest because of no return calls or text all day. I had gotten a hold of a mutual friend to reach them to make sure they were safe, and it turns out they decided not to go because they just “didn’t feel like going.” That I didn’t slide, was this last time I hung out with them again, and moved on with life. I realized life is too short and my time should have been respected and valued. They aren’t bad people or intended to hurt, they just did stuff that ended up hurting a lot. I made it clear several times I’d be cool if they let me know in advanced they didn’t want to go. I’ll never fully understand why, except they probably just didn’t want to hurt me by saying no, even though that does not excuse or justify.

I usually do “confront’ good friends when situations happen to try to resolve. But if some time has passed, I don’t feel it’s worth initiating a question, reconnecting, or risk re-exposure to pain or anything that could open a can of worms. That somehow makes me the bad guy; I do believe in 2nd chances, but I don’t believe one should have to be friends or keep touch regularly with every single person who has caused some pain. Stepping out from toxic relationships is a good thing and the thought of running into such people at the same event is very overwhelming. Depending on who, if they call me one day to meet to talk about it, I am open to that, even if we never see each other again. Not many would go out of the way to make a genuine apology, but there was at least one person that did in my life time, which shocked me and gave me hope.

Once upon a time, someone I know, let his good friend borrow a lot of money, who said he needed money for his family and such, but really had a gambling addiction. When he didn’t pay back, and his gambling problem were exposed, all ties were cut among many. 20 years later, he showed up at the door, to pay back the money, with a big apology. When I heard that, I was astonished, VERY happy, and hopeful. Things like these is like winning a lottery. But I don’t suggest waiting on someone to hit jackpot with. Also don’t lose hope in humanity, which I often do after a devastating situation.

I remember when I accidentally hurt someone about 10 years ago. I went out of the way to reach them. I apologized on phone, IM, in person, and even a website I created personally for them, almost as a shrine of her, honoring our friendship and its worth. My friend forgave me and still cherishes our friendship. I made effort through invitations afterwords, with no pressure. Going through extremes is not necessary but putting effort, shows the care.

Although I have done so as to accept, ignore, suppress, and desensitized myself from many situations. Over time, I realize desensitizing may mean closing off one’s natural feelings towards the situation and closing off on others. I end up becoming somewhat of a hermit, possibly coming off somewhat cold, unwilling to open up to others or anyone. That’s something that works with some people, but often don’t recommend if one wants to be work with society and not complete solitude. It’s like an internal isolation from from others and self. One must find a way to be able to open up to others in a trusting level.

Though time cannot mend the pain, and maybe a little bit will remain inside forever, we can decide what to do with our time in regards: accept it, ignore it, suppress it, be desensitized, or address it. Those who have hurt someone, have options too.

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