I recently received a contact submission form from someone named Jasmine with a message
that was intended to be hurtful. Jasmine was an alias and she used a fake email, so she clearly did not
want to be identified. Unbeknownst to Jasmine, however, my site has a method to track incoming
messages so that I can identify the sender, despite the use of a fake email. So this got me thinking about
people who have hurtful intentions, what causes it, and what the solution is for healing these negative,
personally harmful thoughts. Why do people resort to attempting to hurt, damage or destroy someone
I was just wondering………
Having ill-will towards another certainly begins in childhood. We are all guilty of wishing bad
things on a childhood enemy or sometimes even a friend. When we feel hateful we desire to inflict it on
someone else. Every child has had moments of even wishing nasty things on their own families,
especially their siblings. Children are notoriously uninhibited and outspoken when they become angry. I
can recall my own son as a child, pouting ruefully and expounding like a truculent sailor as only a child
can, that he hated me. Just for a moment it lasted, and then when I would counter, unflappable with a
slight smile, “Well, we’ll just have to go to the Mommy Store and find you a new mommy,” he would
rapidly consider his options while being unable to restrain his own softening smile as his anger melted
away. Children, unlike adults, don’t normally hold a grudge.
I can recall my own escapades as a child and one past time that could have been very damaging
to someone. At around age 10, my best friend Sandy and I would make random calls from numbers in
the phone book. Sometimes we would say something silly and sometimes something that could have
been more harmful about a family member, who of course, we didn’t even know. In this case it was not
ill intentions, just naivety. To us it was all for fun!
There are more serious reasons why someone may wish others real harm, however. There are
narcissistic personality types who give very little thought to others and the harm that they cause is
secondary because they simply do not think enough about others for it to matter. It’s more like the
aftermath that they leave in their wake of which they are not even aware. It is not so much intentional,
but if they become aware of their residual harm it is easily dismissed, justified, or perhaps met with a
moment of regret and then forgotten until it happens again.
The most damaging individuals are sociopaths. They are growing in number and there is an
excellent book entitled The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout that explains this pathological
behavior in detail. These are individuals we should avoid at all costs, but the problem is that their
seductive, manipulative nature is almost always successful into luring us into a relationship with them,
while we are convinced we have just met our new best friend, or worse yet, our soul mate lover. These
individuals, like the narcissistic personality, don’t necessarily set out to cause harm, because their total
modus operandi is geared for self-satisfaction, at the expense of anything or anyone in their way. This
means they will use you while making you feel you are indispensable. They lack compassion and
empathy, although they are often smart and have learned well how to fake these feelings. They also
lack a conscience, which makes them very dangerous. There are no rules for them and they can justify
just about anything and convince you of the appropriateness of their behavior, and perhaps even
convince you to join them in illegal, immoral, or unethical activity. So the harm to others caused by
them is really not even on their radar. Simply, they couldn’t care less!
The majority of us fit into the last category, when the hurtful behavior is a result of what I define
as a “call for love.” The term actually is derived from A Course in Miracles, a book and study group that
helps us to redefine the way we see the world around us. In this category we are talking about normal
individuals who are having a bad day, are feeling hurt and/or neglected, are depressed, unhappy, lonely,
unfulfilled, unloved. Normal individuals in these negative states are often too self -absorbed to see
anything beyond their own unhappiness. They are often unable to engage outside of themselves with
another and sometimes their negative feelings spill over onto those around them with jealousy, envy, or
other harmful feelings. And sometimes the ill will toward another is even intentional because people
who are unfulfilled and unhappy, just like children, want to hurt back. Unhappiness can cause us to feel
mean, intolerant, and even vengeful. The saddest thing about this is that the greatest harm from this
negativity within oneself only compounds the problem within the unhappy person. The one envied or
hated may not even be aware.
So, if you find yourself to be one of those individuals in this last category, the good news is that
there is hope for you. There are solutions to your problem. The best way to diminish negative feelings
is to trek outside of yourself. Change your internal channel. Hang around with positive people. Help
someone else. Be productive. Refine your talents. Practice kindness. Give love without expectation.
Make time for things that you love in your life. If you still need help, find a good therapist. Eventually,
watch for my book, Anger the Toxic Temptress: Understand It To Overcome It. If you are the receiver
of someone’s intentionally hurtful behavior, try to see it as a call for love. Instead of reacting, try to
have compassion for someone who is clearly suffering. Remember, hurtful people are unhappy.
So, what are you willing to do when you find yourself in a snit? As for Jasmine and others like
her, what are you willing to do to end your suffering that creates vindictiveness in you? There is so
much wonder that life has to offer and there is so much given back when we are able to crawl out of our
negative heads. Life is much more fulfilling when we focus on the cup half full. Which of these
suggestions are you willing to try? Explore! Engage! Can you find a path to happiness?
I was just wondering……………..