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Defining Hurt

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by MrSpock, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

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    I don't know how useful this thread might be. I very recently got an idea of how lost I am (we are?), thought I'd share.

    I was having a conversation regarding a woman I'm sexually/romantically interested in, and I was asked if she had done anything to hurt me. I stated that I didn't know her intent, I believe the question was supposed to be 'has she done anything that hurt you?'. I hesitated to answer because I've read that we can have difficulty labelling emotion, so I said that I would be inclined to answer 'yes', but wasn't sure, and whatever it was I was in some sense having a negative experience.

    The conversation continued, and a suggestion was made regarding her possible motivation for acting as she did. That had not occurred to me before, and when I realized that she may have done what she did for this new reason (which would not have involved her being malevolent, yet still not giving me what I really want) that gave me peace of mind where this was concerned, and the negative experience was significantly reduced. I pointed this out, and asked if hurt would have been the right word, and the two people I was talking to immediately said 'no', there was absolutely no doubt in their minds that 'hurt' does not work that way.

    They immediately assumed that I was not 'hurt', and for several minutes I could only agree. It soon occurred to me that I might still have 'hurt', but that the mechanisms surrounding and affecting 'hurt' could simply be different and the basic qualities of the 'hurt' itself may be present. From my current understanding (maybe understanding should be in quotes, too) I'm not even sure that 'hurt' is a useful term, as it may not be possible to use the term in a conversation between auties and NTs without causing miscommunication at some point. Perhaps there is no meaningful way of mapping NT emotional terms onto my (our?) neurology.

    Seems to me that productive conversation with NTs regarding emotional things may be impossible in many respects given that basic terms such as 'hurt' are suspect. How many NTs (or even aspies) would have the patience to so carefully and completely ensure that such basic terms are being used in the same way before even starting the conversation? It would take all day before the 'real' conversation could begin.

    Thoughts, anyone?
     
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  2. VJCJ0628

    VJCJ0628 Well-Known Member

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    Emotions can be very confusing to define, There is also the difference between was it something you should be hurt about (as in intent) or something that hurt you where there was no intent

    There are other factors as in how close are you with her, I mean for me if I am not that close I have learned not to disclose too much in that regard. If I feel close and comfortable with a person I would disclose a lot more.

    Then there are societies unspoken rules like when someone really wants to know or is just looking for themselves to feel better or are feeling guilty looking for reassurance that you are ok with them and the current situation especially if they turned you down

    All of this stuff is hard to navigate and I struggle with it as well. I try to look at all these different things and also ask myself what is my intent or desired result of my answer or disclosure. I still struggle at times with it but it helps
     
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  3. VJCJ0628

    VJCJ0628 Well-Known Member

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    I also I would add, I try to keep in mind I can be overly sensitive when I am overstressed and can sometimes feel something is a much bigger deal then it is in reality.

    I hope some this helps
     
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  4. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    Certaintly, knowing the intentions of others can modify our responses and emotional reactions to eliminate/reduce or produce/intensify hurt feelings where they would/would not have existed or would have been a different intensity without that knowledge.....but it's not some universal, formulaic sort of thing that always happens; And it doesn't change the fact that the emotional experience takes place entirely within the person experiencing it.

    Hurt, the feeling/emotional experience (as opposed to the action directed towards another person), is a reaction to the perception of a threat to your well being caused by the actions or words or attitudes of others -- it is being emotionally wounded in some way. It can happen even in response to things that are well intentioned. And this is how it works for both NTs and NDs.

    Hurt, the action, may produce no emotional wounds, no hurt feelings in the intended target. If you are not at all wounded by someone's attempt to wound you, then you have not been hurt, regardless of the other person's intention and desire to hurt you.

    I can feel hurt by something regardless of whether or not the other person intended to hurt me.

    When people who mean to hurt me do not emotionally wound me or cause me to feel hurt feelings, I can accurately state that I was not hurt by whatever they did or said even though it's blatantly obvious that they were attempting to cause me emotional pain.

    Separate things, the intention to hurt and the experience of feeling hurt. Maybe some people have difficulty with this, or maybe there was confusion about which type of "hurt" was being discussed at any given time in the conversation with those 2 NT people...Or maybe some people literally can choose how to feel (I cannot, I don't understand how this is possible, to just feel a certain way like turning a light on or off) and so they can easily change their feelings to match whatever they deem to be acceptable based on some kind of social formula......But I can say with 100% certainty it is not only ND people who may feel hurt when no hurt is intended (even when the person who is feeling hurt is fully aware that whatever caused the hurt feelings was not meant to be hurtful); Hurt (the feeling/emotional experience) indeed works that way for many, many people (probably the majority, regardless of neurotype), even if it does not work that way for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
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  5. Sloth

    Sloth Active Member

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    I think tortoise summed it up very well, that the act of being hurt can be completely separate from the intentions of the other person to hurt.

    For example, I'm aware, that in many past interactions, it was often completely my fault that the relationship proved to be a burden and harmful to me. No matter how well- intentioned and kind the other person, I have some subconscious delusion that makes me feel like they are hurting me anyways. This has caused me very often to cut people out of my life, even if there was no real reason for it. Having realized that this is a mistake, I am now trying to change that aspect of myself.

    Reading both your own and other people's emotions is super difficult :( . If you are in a position where you can directly discuss with the person openly that is probably ideal, but if not, we are stuck trying are best to navigate in the dark. I would say that at the end of the day, what matters the most is your own perception of it. If you think you are being hurt, then you are being hurt.
     
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  6. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

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    Hmm. I get that the intention to hurt is separate from the hurt itself, this was never in question.

    The point is that both NTs were in instant and undoubted agreement that I had been inclined (and before would always have been inclined) to label something 'hurt' which would have caused a completely different perception of something significant.

    If we assume that 'hurt' means the same thing, then it is inevitable that these people make assumptions based on that which would lead them to think that behaviour designed to make me feel better would in some cases make me feel worse, and were it the NT feeling hurt some of my attempts to make them feel better could be expected to backfire.

    If in fact the label 'hurt' means a different feeling, then treating it as though it's the same thing will eventually lead to the same problems as above when we assumed the same meaning for hurt and 'hurt'.

    When we have failed to acknowledge that there are differences between hurt and 'hurt' actions meant to make the other feel better which actually make them worse may be construed as intentional, even if this does not happen it makes a bad situation worse.

    Also I am assuming that there are other, perhaps many other, similarly basic words that we may be totally failing to connect with. Even if we don't compile a list and identify the ways in which these words are misused, it seems to me that the knowledge that this category of miscommunication exists is valuable knowledge in and of itself, as it's (for me) a new category of trap to be aware of having fallen into, even if we don't learn to avoid it.

    You did not see their reaction either. It was strong, they did not look at each other for confirmation, they instantly looked as though I was a freak for what they said to have changed my 'hurt'. Although I'm sure that they've encountered people whose feelings have changed before, they would seem to have never knowingly encountered this, either one of them, and they're both over 40 years of age. I got a very strong impression that this is significant.
     
  7. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member It's My Birthday!

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    Hurt has different meanings for different people. For me it's someone saying something that I feel insults me or puts me down.