When Love Hurts so Bad it Can Kill

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Couples
<div class=\"postavatar\">When Love Hurts so Bad it Can Kill</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle

When Love Hurts so Bad it Can Kill

We have all heard someone say at on time or another that they would just die if you break up with them.  We have also heard people say that they could just kill someone for hurting them so bad.  How much love does it take to kill?  When does the pain of staying in a bad relationship outweigh the pain of leaving? When is it too late?  When does love hurt bad enough to kill?   We now know the sad answer to that question while a nation and a community grieves the loss in Jonesboro, Arkansas 10 years later. Killings due to jealousy, insecurity and relationship issues have always been a problem and will always be a problem.  You can’t search the internet or watch the news and not find thousands of killings by children and adults motivated by a sick, distorted perception of love. People “in love” have been killing when their pain threshold was exceeded since the begining of recorded history. Wars, feuds  and countries ransacked over how bad someone loved some one else and then didn’t handle rejection very well.

This is not a new phenomenon; it is only new to us when it comes to the age of the assailants.  All accounts of this killing appear to stem from not only environmental issues of exposure to violence but also more importantly the trigger.  Two young girls broke up with their boyfriends (ages 11 and 13) setting the gears in motion for tragedy.  Our country has hundreds of women’s shelters to prove that violence against women primarily escalates as a result of rejection in relationships. It’s no surprise that it’s now starting to show up in our adolescents.  Each generation that practices dysfunctional relationships can only pass on what is familiar to the next generation.  What ever you practice you become good at.  Escalating divorce rates, rape, murder, suicide and sexual harassment is in every paper and every news channel everyday.  Fifty years ago; well let’s just say our legacy of data that we teach from home to school is seriously askew.  Are we practicing what we preach? We are only as sick as our secrets.

Math, English and Science are important but we need a new chapter in History.  We need to teach what is not being taught; love, compassion, empathy and sympathy, trust, respect, intimacy, anger management, acceptance, failure, negotiation, communication and most importantly grief and closure.   Do you remember being taught these things in school?   Our system teaches us about drugs, alcohol and harmful things in our environment but not how to protect us from ourselves and our own human frailties and emotions. Jealousy, fear, resentment, rejection that hurts so bad it can drive a person to kill is not exactly one of the 3 R’s. Yet addressing our emotions and learning to defuse them before it gets to that point should be a part of the curriculum especially if it leads to distorted perceptions and mishandled feelings resluting in death among children, teens by children and teens.

We are a society that takes what it wants and we are not exactly known as being quitters.  However, failure to understand “No” must be taught to ensure that victims do not have to fear any retaliation when closing a relationship at any age.   While Jonesboro had an estimated 93 churches and no bars, the innocence of courtship and young love will forever be reshaped in the minds of it’s town and youth.  While an eleven year old and thirteen year old boy awaited trail for killing so many precious young girls and one brave teacher, our task as a society, and mine as a professional, will be to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  The search for new data, new ways to teach people and children to love and let go gracefully and to bring their emotions into positive and productive resolution is the real challenge here.  When young minds, or even adult ones, don’t know the difference between infatuation, obsession, denial, control and abuse thus calling their relationship “love” when it should be called “sick” then we are failing to educate people on what a healthy relationship looks like.  When love hurts enough to kill you would think that that trauma would shock a system into change.  But given the increase of killings, school shootings, suicides, violent divorces, domestic violence and other obvious relationship tragedies, not much has changed.  When we fail to address these problems and continue to simply “watch the news” instead of getting involved, we can only expect it will get worse. 

I recently saw a news program where a young teenage girl died at the hands of her boyfriend a few years ago.   Her parents, after 3 years of mourning, decided that they could not sit on their pain any longer and decided to do something to make sense of their loss.  So they started a program where they go to high schools and talk about how their daughter got into an abusive relationship, hid the abuse and eventually died from it.  They bring other kids in to share their stories who have managed to get out of unhealthy and potentially deadly relationships before it was too late.  They have opened up a dialogue that does a few key things:

They are sharing their common experience of bad relationships. 

They are shattering the myths and getting the basics about unhealthy relationships out in the open and teaching people/kids what to look for so it doesn’t happen to them. 

They are showing those already in bad relationships that they are not alone and there is support and a way out before “love hurts so bad it kills you”. 

Upon watching the interviews with students after it is presented, this program, though still in its infancy, seems to be having a very positive, informative effect and would be great to see spread nationwide.

Dating, courtship, romance and love will always have elation, joy and pain by its very nature.  I’m sure we’ve all heard Tennysons bittersweet words, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  But we need to move away from the pain safely and accept the ending of the relationship with respect in order to improve chances for our next endeavor to attain the healthy love we seek.  Probably the thing that jarred me to write this post is that during the news program the programs founders cited research that stated that on average 30% of high school students either were or had been in abusive relationships.  Between reading their blog comments dozens, and watching teens be interviewed one after the next, all saying the same thing, they knew or had been in bad, abusive  relationships.  The response was staggering.  When I was an active therapist years ago the numbers were high but never like this. We hope to share others experiences here as well as provide some hope and answers if you or someone close to you needs to get our of an unhealthy relationship before it gets so bad that love hurts enough to kill. The first step is admitting there is a problem and the second is getting to some help.  Do you know of any programs or measures that are addressing these problems before they happen? Do you have a tragedy or bad experience where people could have intervened but stayed silent?  Do you think we’re  doing enough to change or educate our children to prevent people from killing in the name of love?

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