Have you ever heard the phrase “hurt people hurt people”? I had heard it few times over the past few years, so when I saw a book titled “Hurt People Hurt People”, it caught my attention. Why is it that this statement rings so true for so many? Why do we inflict pain on others and on ourselves? Why do people fall into the trap of repeating a cycle that they had no intention of being a part of from the beginning? This book answers those questions and so many more. I’m glad I read this one.
Sandra Wilson coined the phrase “hurt people hurt people”. This profound statement has opened up a whole new world of self exploration of people who have been hurt by someone and have repeated the cycle. She shares with the reader that even though some pain is self inflicted, “our deepest wounds come at the hands of those we love and trust” (p. 10). She encourages the reader to not ignore what they are feeling or tell themselves that they should not feel a certain way or seek comfort from someone else. It is our humanity that causes us to feel what we feel and that is ok. People who have been hurt in the past are prone to hurt someone else. Wilson shows that being hurt is a seed that if not attended to and dealt with, will, with time, govern how we react and respond to life and the people around us. Life is about choices and how those choices are made.
One of the greatest strengths lies in the author’s transparency as a writer. Wilson expressed in these pages her painful past dealing with incest and being abused as a child to further validate her statement that teaching children about that “stranger danger” teachings are not enough, because again, it is those closest to you that pose the greatest threats to you. She uses her personal journey to put the readers’ personal journey into context.
At the end of the chapters, Wilson has a section called “ponder and pray”. This section is designed to give the reader a moment to pause, think about what has been presented and pray for guidance. When you are done reading this book, and quite frankly, during the time you spend between the pages of it, you will begin to see your mindset changing. If you allow the words to become life to you and bring clarity to your situations, by the end you will begin to make your way out of the vicious cycle of hurt. You will be in a healthy place.
Sandra D. Wilson is a seminary professor, certified spiritual director and retired family therapist. She is an international speaker and the author of six books: Released from Shame, Into Abba’s Arms, Hurt People Hurt People, The World According to Me, Shame-Free Parenting and Counseling Adult Children of Alcoholics.