That Time I Hurt Someone I Loved

I’m really struggling over this post.  I started this blog to be transparent with the world, about hurt, and trauma, and triumphs, and shortcomings.  That last piece is really tough.  I mean, it’s one thing to share with whoever may stumble into this world of mine that I’ve been scarred by the words or actions of others.  But to confess that I have undoubtedly scarred others by my own words and actions?  Ouch.  Big ouch.  Pain-in-my-chest-like-I’m-having-a-heart-attack-but-really-it’s-an-insane-amount-of-anxiety ouch.

Here’s the reality of the situation:  we are ALL guilty of scarring others.  Sometimes we leave little knicks with a snide comment or a bit of gossip.  Sometimes we rip somebody’s chest open and machete the crap out of their heart with words we don’t even sincerely mean, but that can never be fully forgotten or reversed.  And sometimes we chip away at the same wound over and over until a tiny tear is suddenly infected and in need of the type of healing that we aren’t able to offer.  I am guilty of all of these.

My natural inclination is to simply leave it at that.  Hey, well all mess up.  I’ve messed up, I’m human, and I don’t claim to be perfect.  So here’s my apology, world.  I’m sorry for not being perfect.  But that apology has about as much depth and feeling as a #sorrynotsorry meme, and if I’m going to be committed to being raw and real with all of you through these posts, then I need to be willing to share my uglier moments right alongside my moments of strength and triumph.  Here are some mortifying confessions and apologies.  My hope is that some of you will read these and know that you are not the only villain in the world.  I hope you see my mistakes and know that you can rise above ANY mistakes you have made.  I hope you see my heart and it encourages you to pursue your own confessions and apologies, because in those moments of truth there is healing, not only for those you have hurt, but for yourself.  Names have been abbreviated to protect the privacy of anyone implicated.

When I was in the sixth grade, I had a friend who was super cool in my eyes.  Not necessarily “popular” cool, but she owned her hippie style and listened to Pink Floyd when the world was obsessing over Boyz II Men.  I envied her, because I was always hyper-aware of what people thought of me, and she could care less.  She was a great friend to me, and during a time when I was desperate for any escape from what was happening with my step-dad and I at home, she provided a calm, no-questions-asked reprieve as often as I wanted.  I should have been severely protective of our relationship, and willing to go to bat for C at all costs, considering what she meant to me.  Instead, one day she decided to skip school to hang out with her next door neighbor (who was a couple years older than us and a couple notches higher than me on C’s friendship list) and I immediately threw her under the bus (not literally; I was vindictive, not deadly).  I went to one of our teachers at school, and just to make sure no stone was left unturned, I told my parents as soon as I got home, as well.  C got in a lot of trouble, and a part of me felt good about that.  I told myself, and her when she asked why I betrayed her, that it was for her own good, that I didn’t want her to start heading down a bad path, that I cared about her and wanted her to avoid hanging out with bad influences.  On a level, all of that was true.  But real talk, I wanted her exposed poor judgment to somehow reflect how good and honest and responsible I was in comparison.  C, I don’t know how or why you forgave me, but I’m so thankful you did.  You are my oldest friend, and even many years and states removed, you are so loved and cherished.

This next one is a two-part apology, and it’s a big one.  I was barely 16.  A new boy had joined our school and one of my best friends was immediately in love.  He was a bad boy whose parents had sent him to live with his grandparents, and his grandparents asked T’s parents if their good girl daughter could buddy up with him.  T was happy to oblige.  She made it no secret to me that she was interested in him, and a good friend would have respected those boundaries and steered clear.  Not only did I disregard my friend’s feelings by pursuing this boy for myself, but I lied to her about it and snuck around with him behind her back.  I knew that it would upset T if I told her that I liked this guy and wanted to date him.  But if I’m honest, I was way more concerned with protecting my image than with protecting her feelings.  I ended up giving him my virginity.  Here’s where it gets super ridiculous.  I was so worried that he might have impregnated me, that for a couple of weeks I would regularly throw my stomach into my bedpost, hard enough to leave visible bruises all over my mid-section, in hopes of “breaking up” whatever might be forming inside of me.  T, I am so very sorry that I had such little regard for you when you were nothing but loving and giving to me.  I’m sorry that I lied to you and made you question your instincts.  I’m sorry that I was truly a shitty friend to you, because you were, and are, a person who deserves better than what I offered.  To my own body and womb, I am tormented over the naive and terrible choice I made to inflict pain and injury on you.  I am haunted by those actions of mine on a regular basis, and especially as month after month, year after year goes by without the presence of a child growing inside the safe haven that I am constantly worried I might have destroyed single-handedly.

Lastly (at least for the purposes of this post, because I could fill an ocean with my shortfalls), I would like to offer a public apology to my husband, and a confession that pains me most of all.  Yours is an injury I’ve been working on for years, one that I continue to reopen time and time again.  I don’t even know how to word this with finesse, so I’ll just come out with it bluntly.  When I feel hurt by you, my weapon of choice has consistently been to remind you that you’re not worth the fight.  I am so quick to remind you that I wasn’t even sure that I should marry you to begin with, and that I should have trusted those instincts; or that I gave up on us a long time ago, and I’m only still here because you convinced me to stay, but I will easily throw in the towel and move on if you don’t keep me happy.  I’m sure this go-to of mine could be explained away with a myriad of old wounds of my own, or reflexes to protect my own heart, or other similar excuses.  But at the end of it all, I still choose to cut you with words that, in those moments, I’m hoping will make you feel small and inferior and worthless.  That is horrible.  Please know that I will continue to work on removing this wretched behavior from our life completely.  Know that I do love you, so much, and that I am severely grateful that you are my husband, despite the fact that I convey the exact opposite in moments of anger and frustration.  I am especially grateful that you have chosen to continue to work to love me better, to make me feel more loved, even when I haven’t reciprocated.  You are my rock, and I don’t ever want to do this life without you.

My fear right now is that those of you who read this will think less of me, will stop wanting to read what I have to say, or, if you know me, will prefer to bow out of our relationship.  Really, who would want to know a person who has shown such little regard for others?  But maybe someone will relate.  If so, it would mean the world to me if you shared.  Have you ever hurt someone you loved?  Have you ever pursued your own gain at the expense of someone else’s loss?  If sharing in the comments is too daunting (I don’t blame you), you could go the more ambiguous route and tweet me a simple #Imessuptoo @thstangledheart.  If you stick with me after this, THANK YOU for seeing past my failures and loving me anyway.  It means more than you know.  il_570xN.755451938_iorq

7 thoughts on “That Time I Hurt Someone I Loved

  1. We all hurt those we love – sometimes by accident, sometimes by design. You’re not alone and I applaud your strength in coming forward and admitting that you were wrong. I don’t think any less of you – I admire your courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I think sometimes the hardest part in admitting fault is speaking it plainly, without excusing I away. I hope this piece encourages others to be courageous in whatever they’re facing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. wow! That had to have been really hard! I am your friend and I love u no matter what! And these words R convicting and True for me as well. Healing comes thru authenticity ! And I admire you so much for that! Thanks Jen for sharing your deepest struggles! You R allowing others to share their stories! Love Jan 💓

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing. I know that wasn’t easy. Oh, and just for the record, you are one of the most beautiful, loving, and generous people I have ever known, and I am so blessed to be your mom. As you know all too well, I, too, have caused TONS of pain to others. The old cliche is true…hurt people hurt people. For instance, I remember screaming at my mom and calling her a f****** b**** because she did not get me a birthday cake or a present or tell me Happy Birthday on my 17th birthday. As she sat there in her chair with her head in her hands crying because she had just lost her daddy the day before, I was telling her how much I hated her instead of hugging her. For that I am eternally sorry. You see, it really wasn’t about my birthday. It was about so many things that had happened to me from age six all the way to that day, but that is for another time, another blog. Today is about saying I am sorry however, one of those many things that made me blow up that day is something I did that I am definitely sorry for. At age fifteen I allowed my mom to pay someone to torture my baby and nursed him or her. Sorry if that doesn’t line up with the politically correct way of addressing abortion, but it is important that I apologize for the fullness of it and not try to minimize it at all. More than any other wrong I am sorry for, I am sorry for killing my own children. The first one, Chris (short for Christina or Christopher since I don’t know the sex of my child), was killed by having his or her arms and legs ripped from his or her body until he or she fell limp and died. I cannot imagine how horrific that pain must have been. I can only hope you died quickly. Although I was too naive to realize what the reality was of my actions that day, the pain in my heart now lives on. I hope to hold your whole body in Heaven someday. Sweet baby, I am so sorry. I hope others will read this and choose to give birth and either raise their baby or engage in the totally unselfish and loving act of letting a childless couple adopt their baby. That is so much more loving than murder. Duh! Whew! Okay now for another killing. After aborting my child, I was so afraid I would never be able to get pregnant, so imagine my joy when Jennifer came along! I cannot even begin to explain the love I felt for her! That is why it is so painful to know I killed her, or at least a part of her. When she finally got the courage to tell me what G had been doing ever since she was ten, did I call the police and report it? No. Oh sure I immediately began enforcing boundaries that did not allow him to be alone with her and I told him he was forbidden to speak to her, but I did not call the police. I am more sorry for that than you can even imagine. I put my own fear of how I was going to afford to raise my three children alone with no income (I was just entering my teaching internship when this all came out) before your well-being. I should have called the police on that a**hole immediately and trusted God to provide. He would have. I know that now. I am so sorry Jennifer for making you feel unworthy of love and protection. You were and are worth that and so much more. I was wrong and will forever regret the hurt I caused you. While I am at it, I also want to say sorry to Justin for next to never writing you while you were in Iraq. Every time I thought of you being there, I got so afraid and freaked out that it ended up being easier on me to just let day after day go by and just keep myself as busy as possible so as not to think of you over there. That was so very selfish and I am very, very sorry. You came back messed up. There is no telling what you saw and experienced over there. I am sorry you went through that. I am so proud of how far you have come since then! I am also sorry that I never stopped G from being so terribly hard on you. If he did things to you that I don’t know about, I hope you will someday have the strength to tell me or someone, anyone who will really listen. Jennifer told me about him making you stay in your room for hours. I am sorry. God kept prompting my heart during those years and I just wasn’t listening. Last but not least, I want to say sorry to Ryan. I am soooooooooooooooi sorry for leaving you!!!!!! Every night I cried for you. I thought I was helping you by letting you stay put since you were finally forming friendships and getting popular. I still wish I had taken you with me. I am also sorry for leaving for Georgia before you graduated. I want you to know I will always regret that and I hope and pray we can someday live next door to each other! To all my kids, I am sorry for allowing the pain of all I went through growing up to bring me to a place of yelling and screaming at you. I am truly sorry. You three were the best kids ever and you didn’t deserve the pain I caused for you. It is a miracle that you still love me. Thank you for that. I love each of you more than you know. Oops…wait a minute, there is another one. I am sorry to my husband Frank for not trusting you and not allowing myself to love you for the first many, many years of our marriage. We both have been tremendously hurt by our pasts, but I am glad we are now learning to love each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course I’m sobbing reading this. I love you, and I’m so thankful for the authenticity that I obviously inherited from you. I wouldn’t trade you, or all aspects of our relationship, for any “easier” path in the world. Thank you for being BRAVE and sharing this. Some may say we’re too bold, or too open and honest, about the ugly parts of our lives. But someone might read this and change their course, love themself, or encourage someone who needs them, and THAT makes THIS worth it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I still say we need to do speaking engagements together. Imagine the lives that could be changed. By the way, I wonder if there is a precious little three or four year old girl out there just waiting to be fostered and then adopted by you and James.

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