When my kids were going into high school they had to have immunizations. They are all needle phobic but my middle son Michael, the toughest one in the bunch, was ridiculous about it. He was a big tough guy that no one ever messed with but he turned into a bubbling little boy when a needle shows up near him.
The nurse came in with a gigantic needle and I watched his eyes grow wide like saucers. She marched over to him and jabbed him in the arm with the needle. He yelped, “GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!” She turned to me and told me to tell him to stop it. I had to stifle a laugh and refused. She was angry.
Too damn bad.
When I was a kid I could have had my arm chopped off and I wouldn’t have said a word. Not only would I be punished for complaining but due to abuse I had learned to ignore pain as best I could. I had NO response to physical, mental or emotional pain. That was normal life. And to complain about anything would be to be lectured about how ungrateful I was.
I taught my kids to let people know what hurt and to stop the pain. I’m not talking about annoyances or chores or life on life’s terms, but over the top, not run of the mill, pain. You can complain if it hurts. YOU SHOULD COMPLAIN IF IT HURTS.
It’s not supposed to hurt. And if it is supposed to hurt (like needles in the arm), you have every right to yowl.
Yes Michael was a big baby and we teased him about it and made references to “Michael gets a needle” reactions, but he never apologized or thought less of himself for being a big baby.
Life hurts sometimes and it’s okay to kvetch and complain sometimes. Sometimes whining doesn’t make you feel better and sometimes it does. There is a difference between being a big, whiny baby and legitimately expressing pain.
My labor with my middle son was 42 hours long. It was torture and horrible. I never said a peep. Honestly. I had not yet gotten to the place in my life where I knew it was okay to say, in the 41st hour of back-breaking labor, “OW.” I was a trouper. A very dysfunctional trouper. A completely out of touch with my own pain trouper. When my sweet, personable and lovely daughter in law was in labor, she not only yowled but let out a string of obscenities my son had never heard her use. She knows it’s okay to express pain. Imagine that.
If you don’t move even when hit with a board, you’re going to get hit with a lot of boards. Worse yet, if you blame yourself for being hit with a board, you’re going to be hit with even more boards.
It’s important to learn what hurts and stop the pain. A relationship should be a source of love and support. Everyone makes mistakes but the majority of the time a relationship should make you feel loved and respected. And if something hurts, object to it and if it doesn’t stop, you need to evaluate it. And leave if it doesn’t change.
Life hurts sometimes. Love should not hurt most of the time. If it hurts too much too often, it’s not love.
Learn to listen to your inner “Michael gets a needle” and insist that it not happen except when it’s unavoidable.
Learn to say ouch and learn to move away. Learn to surround yourself with those who will love you and cherish your presence in their lives.
LEARN WHAT HURTS AND LEARN TO STOP THE PAIN.