None of us are immune from experiencing mistreatment, but have you ever wondered why two people can experience this and the effects are so different? One person eventually moves on, accepting the realities and they become stronger, but the other becomes enslaved – blaming every weakness, shortcoming or failure, on the things that have happened to them?
The process of emotional healing looks very different for each of us and I would never suggest that there is an appropriate ending time for your pain. We are unique creations and so our grieving is individual. Have you ever been devalued and written off as insignificant? Have you been forsaken by someone that you love? Have you been the recipient of rude confusing behavior? Have you been slandered or blamed for something that wasn’t your fault? Did they seem to get away with it? Did you choose to not tell what they did? That old high road is a hard one to walk. If for some reason, you are still experiencing extreme pain after a significant period of time, beware – your pain may have become your pet pain.
Do you believe that keeping quiet about the details of the mistreatment, betrayal or slander is the right thing to do? Maybe you are protecting someone that would be hurt if the entire truth came out. Maybe you are protecting a marriage. Maybe you are protecting another’s reputation. Whatever the reason, I commend you for your integrity. You have made a commitment to not run your mouth around – even if they do kind of deserve it. What’s the downside of handling it this way? When you watch your offender get away with their crime, or even be rewarded in some way, it will be natural for you to replay what has happened and then your hurts become a familiar and comfortable pet pain. You can take your pet pain out of the cage any time you like and it’s comforting to cuddle with. Beware – this type of pet grows into a monster called bitterness and bitterness requires a heavy price to us and those that love us.
Why would we want to keep a pet named pain? When things are done to us, we feel victimized, and victims often feel like losers with no control over the situation. We are in control when we decide to take our pet out for some quality time. Even if you’ve forgiven, you might still have difficulty accepting the realities and crave a sense of control. You do not have to live as a victim. Realize that when other people treat us badly, there is not necessarily something wrong with us. Actually, when another human being treats you badly, it says more about them, than it says about you. Seek out relationships with people who value you. You’ll feel like a winner with them.
If you are not moving forward and still in pain after a significant amount of time, get some help. First, I always encourage you to spend significant amounts of time, praying and reading God’s word. Ask Him to help you understand your part and to take responsibility and ask Him for the healing and guidance that you need. Secondly, get input from a wise trustworthy friend and/or counselor that is not personally involved. Be aware that they can’t fix you and be willing to hear hard things and do hard work. Work to get to the point that you despise the pain, instead of seeking alone time to go cuddle up with it. Sound familiar? It does to me. At times of my life, when I experienced heartache from another human being, I would go out to the garden, on a drive or hike with the intention of praying, but often found myself cuddling up with my pet pain instead. It’s a process – do the work and when you get distracted by your puppy, just tell him “no, not now”. If needed, give yourself 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night to cuddle. Soon you may not feel the need to cuddle at all.
Get ready to move on. Stop paying the price of reliving what someone else did to you and don’t view every new relationship as though the same things will happen. Realize that what they did to you, doesn’t say anything about you and good things happen because of you. God says that you have a future full of hope and He is truth and justice. If there is anything that God needs to deal with, He will do so, when and how He chooses. Sorry pet pain, we’re finding you a new home.