by Nancy Casey (PlanetNancy.net)
When we are hurt, whether by people or events, it is often very difficult to explain what happened. It can be even more difficult to communicate how much it hurt and why. When we try to tell someone about it and they don’t understand, we can be re-traumatized, making everything worse.
There are many reasons for this. One has to do with the fact that there is no Big List in the sky that identifies every crummy thing that can happen to a person and tells why it should hurt and how much.
Everyone is different. Often the pain of an interaction or an event is compounded by the fact that we know it never should have happened. We endure what occurs. We try to heal. But underneath it all, some part of our idea of how the world works has been shattered. This is very difficult to analyze and repair.
Today in your writing practice, write about being hurt. You can write about a single incident or several different ones. But don’t write about what happened, write about what you had expected would happen.
For instance, if you were crossing the street and the light said, “Walk” and then a car came screaming around the corner and hit you, don’t write the story of the accident. Simply write what you had expected at that time. Perhaps you would say, “I expected to be safe in the crosswalk when the light was green.”
If somebody said something terribly mean to you, instead of telling what they said and why it was so mean, perhaps you would write, “I expected to be spoken to with respect.”
Unfortunately, our worldview can become so bruised by the things that have hurt us that we expect bad things to happen. You might find yourself writing things like, “I expected to fail that class.” Or, “I expected to be hit.” If that’s what you expected, write it down.
Write a page like that. Begin every line with, “I expected…” Date the page and give it a title. Then take a second page and write down what you notice about your expectations. Put the date and a title on that page, too.
You can find an example of what you could write here: PlanetNancy.net/writing-prompts/your-expectations
Nancy Casey (PlanetNancy.net) has lived in Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. If you have a writing project you would like help with, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.