Dear Youth,

Do you find yourself becoming angry often? We all have a level of anger to deal with. What we fail to realize, are the consequences of acting out on our anger. I’d be amiss to say I am the only person who has gone through things. We have all gone through our own trials and tribulations. Insecurity can also creep in through experiences we’ve encountered. If you were bullied in school maybe you found it comforting to bully others. If you were abused in some way (mentally, physically, verbally, emotionally…etc) maybe you sought easiness in becoming abusive towards someone else. Let’s actually take a moment to talk about how hurt people tend to victimize others and why it occurs.

Let me give you a sample story that may help you perceive what I am saying:

Little Johnnie grew up with both of his parents. His dad was an alcoholic who often went out midday and came home very late…just to stir up trouble. Little Johnnie often hid in his bedroom with the door cracked open as he witnessed the terrible things his mother had undergone at the hands of his drunken father. The father would call the mother awful names, accuse her of acts she did not commit and he even dragged her down the hallway once by her hair. This frightened little Johnnie but as he grew older it began to anger him in such a way HE started to act out. Years later during his high school years, Johnnie would tease his classmate, Susan. Johnnie would taunt her every day and make fun of her in large crowds of people, sending Susan to the ladies restroom crying until she could barely breathe. He would pull her hair, drop her lunch from her hands and often tripped her in the hallways whenever he saw her. One time, Johnnie hurt Susan so terribly bad she ran out of the school with tears streaming down her face and she never returned. Susan’s photo appeared in the newspapers just a few weeks after the incident with the unforgettable words, “In loving memory of Susan Greene Carmichael”. What Johnnie failed to realize is that Susan was also being abused at home by an uncle who lived with them and she could no longer handle it when she also had to deal with the abuse at school…a place where she expected to feel safe. He didn’t realize Susan was being pushed to her limits and the final blow was with his last taunt. After realizing what he had done, Johnnie fell into a deep depression, being left with his thoughts and actions. He would lie in the bed for days wondering why he mistreated Susan so badly. It was inevitable that he would eventually have to face Susan’s parents, and when he did he apologized over and over again. He apologized so many times…but unfortunately, Susan’s parents were so angry with him, they promised him he would serve time for his actions.

Do you see the cycle of what happened here? Johnnie witnessed domestic violence at a young age. He felt unable to save his mother and dealt with the insecurity of feeling powerless and weak. So instead of proactively doing something, such as taking self-defense classes or speaking to a counselor, he went on to abuse and bully another young lady. His anger and insecurity got the best of him and it lead to the tragic ending of Susan’s life and the insurmountable agony and rage of Susan’s parents.

Hurt people tend to hurt others as a coping mechanism. It is not to say all people who have been hurt cope in this way, but it does happen and quite often.

How do you think Johnnie could’ve handled the situation better…?

Here is one last example of this painful cycle:

I recently attended a child welfare training seminar for children who have undergone traumatic experiences. During the seminar, the instructor permitted us to watch a small clip involving a young girl who grew up in a violent home and was also being physically harmed by her own father. He even sent her to school with a black eye. The trauma the girl experienced was not just in the beatings done by her dad but also when the police showed up at her home, arresting both the father and mother and taking both her and her little brother away. After being transferred through several different families (and was even further abused by another) the little girl grew to be very angry. Alas, the young girl was transferred to a foster mother who loved on her unconditionally and the young girl was not use to that. So instead of loving back on her foster mother, she acted out in rage, anger and hurt. She would yell at the foster mother, tear up the reading books and would often throw tantrums. By the end of the clip, the young girl eventually succumbed to the unconditional love of her foster mother and was also able to have her brother to come live with them.

Do you see how I mentioned that the young girl was initially hurt? And then she later went on to become verbally abusive towards her foster mother who was trying to love this young girl as best she could. Hurt people, hurt people. But with the right support, people and actions hurt people do not have to hurt others. You have to be willing to allow someone to help you.

So I bring this up because we all experience unbearable anger at some point in our lives. And it isn’t easy to deal with. Because I am sure many of you have been through some very terrible things that may have caused you unbearable anger, I write this particular blog for you. Let us discover a way to end the cycle of “Hurt people, hurt people”. If someone hurt you, don’t go out and hurt someone else as a coping method. In a sort of metaphoric way, if someone punches you in the face turn to your neighbor and hug them instead. What I am saying is, if someone hurts you; learn to love instead of hurting others in a vicious, continuous, never-ending cycle. It’s hard to do, but remember neuroplasticity can help you rewire your brain to form positive habits. How would you feel if you knew your actions caused someone to end their life? Do you think it’s worth it? Why not do something better for yourself and seek treatment, vent to a friend, talk to your parents, a counselor, or a trusted somebody, write in a journal, write a letter to the person(s) who hurt you but then throw it away, join community events that help you to grow in character and emotion, blog, write a book…there are so many options out there. The list is endless. But unfortunately, many of us find it easier to sow despair…not realizing that later you will reap the same.

I will use myself as an example. I was bullied in school and quite often. As a matter of fact, I was bullied from middle school to high school. Kids would make fun of my hair because it was short, my nose because it was too big and also because I was acne-ridden. Yupp! I sure was and I am not ashamed to say it. My hair was super short, I hadn’t really grown into my facial features and I did not discover an acne remedy until years later. They would embarrass me in front of groups of other students which, for any of you introverts, you know how debilitating that can feel. In one instance, there was a young lady I had befriended in high school and she was dating a guy who had anger problems. I stayed after school one afternoon for tutoring due to trying to maintain the “A” I had in biology class. After tutoring was over I walked down the hallway and noticed the guy flirting with another female. The guy saw me and immediately charged in my direction, like a bull that saw red. He approached me and put his hands around my throat and slammed me up against the wall stating that if I told his girlfriend (my friend) what I saw he would do something terrible to me. More importantly was the fact that there was a group of students in the hallway not too far off working on a project, and they all saw what happened but never did anything to help me. Now, considering the amount of distress I was already in because I hated school to begin with, that experience hurt me all the more. Additionally, I was already dealing with what seemed to be an unbearable level of insecurity at that time. My personal verdict was to not let it consume me. I remember specifically remaining very quiet about it until one day I told another young lady who was in my math class and she and I had become good friends. Her name is Anastasia and I remember when I told her she was so angry she wanted to fight him. That was all the encouragement I needed…to know that someone cared enough about me to not tease me but wanted to stand up for me and step in on my behalf. Until this day, Anastasia and I remain friends.

So my point in telling you that is, I could’ve acted out very terribly after what happened to me. I could’ve gone and bullied someone else, I could’ve gone and embarrassed someone else and all for the sake of making myself feel better. But instead of doing that, I confided in a friend. The following days Anastasia and I remained a close confidant to one another. She used to call me every day after school and ask me what I was doing. I appreciate people like her who are genuine and authentic. If you are going through a similar situation or worse, don’t go through it by yourself. Don’t bottle it up and hold it in until anger grasps you in it’s’ claws and you become part of the “Hurt people, hurt people” cycle. This website is here for you, to gain the tools and knowledge you need to better yourself and in turn better the life of someone else, just as Anastasia did for me. Don’t let anger consume you, devour you and destroy you. John 10:10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. See, the scripture there says you should have LIFE! And the more you develop preemptive methods for coping with your hurt and anger, the more you will be able to spread that Life to others. Allow what you have been through to be the ministry you testify to others and encourage others to help bring them up. And guess what?! Someday the people who hurt you will look back, they will see you on tv, or they will see your name in the newspapers for accomplishing something amazing, and the greatest thing about all of this is you will become the person they believed you could not become. Become SENSATIONAL!

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