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May 11

Wounding Yourself After Being Wounded

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


THE QUESTION: Our son’s girlfriend broke up with him about a year ago. He doesn’t show any signs moving on with his life. He cuts on his arm. It looks so awful. He doesn’t date. What can I do with him?

OUR REPLY: “The breakup of a relationship is almost always very painful to at least one partner, and you did the right thing by looking for help. God does care very deeply about your son, and God doesn’t want him to spend the rest of his life believing something about himself that isn’t true. He has a right to grieve. He will get through this painful time. Remind him that you care and that he does not have to go through his grief alone.”

Breaking up and all broken relationships involve grief.  Grieving well — through the pain — is important in the present as well as for the future.

Pain is universal.

Pain crosses gender and racial divides.  Geographic, religious, and economic differences do not prevent pain.  Lots of things can dull pain.  Lots of people can deny or ignore pain, but pain is universal.

As you seek to care compassionately for a friend, lover, child or parent in pain it helps to remember and embrace your own pain.  When we recall our own limits we experience more empathy.

Job was an honorable and caring man.  Through no fault of his own he experienced great pain in his life.  You can read his story here.

Job Lost Everything

While suffering with painful wounds in his heart and on his body Job may even have practices self-injury as a way to relieve pain while trying to cope, “Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat…” [Job 2:9]

Job’s wife was so grief-stricken herself that she was not able to support him.  “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’” [Job 2:9]

Job’s closest friends came to comfort him.  For days they sat patiently.  Finally when they decided the time was right they spoke up.   They tried to deduce, diagnose, and dissect Job’s circumstances.

Their “help” brought more hurt.  It was not helpful help.  You and I can be the same way sometimes we try to comfort with a storm of words and a rainbow of answers.

You and I might be more helpful sitting patiently, speaking briefly, and loving deeply.  When you do speak here are some comforting thoughts. On April 22 in a post entitled “Good Friday & Five Key Beliefs To Get You Through A Loss” I wrote about the importance of grieving and grieving well.

5 Key Beliefs To Get You Through The Pain

1.  You have a right to grieve

2.  You don’t have to grieve alone

3.  You will survive

4.  Love never goes to waste

5.  God is good and always here to listen.

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