Words Hurt

I wanted to share an article my boyfriend wrote for a local newspaper. I think it’s an important read – share it with your friends! Spread the word.

Words can hurt people
by Robert Doss

Do you remember the saying “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you?”

When I was younger, I must have heard that saying a million times by my parents, my teachers and even some of my friends, and looking back, I know they meant well, but the saying simply isn’t true.

Going to high school and even into my earlier years in college was torture for me. I was sort of an introvert because of my disability.

Kids don’t necessarily take the initiative of educating themselves about the differences of other human beings.

Actually, most adults don’t educate themselves either, and they pass their ignorance on to the younger generation, which is why various forms of discrimination and stereotypes continue to persist in today’s society.

Words like “nigga,” “fag” and “bitch” casually roll off the tongue without giving a second thought to how it might offend people.

In the case of the first word, people think that just by changing the spelling, it detracts from the original meaning and intent of the word, but I believe that kind of thinking is what’s perpetuating the divisiveness of humanity.

The rash of suicides by young high school kids who were the victims of anti-gay bullying toward the end of last year took me back to what was so terrible about my high school experience.

I was harassed with the word “retarded.”

Although bullying comes in many forms, the most effective and less detectable way to scar and humiliate a person for life is through the use of words.

Having to hear the “retarded” word and watching as other kids mocked how I spoke and laughed at me on a constant basis changed me. I became angry, and I wanted to dish out what was being dished out to me.

What’s so unfortunate about it is that people seem to condone abusive language.

For instance, I was told that I needed to develop thick skin, or that I shouldn’t listen because I was smarter and had a brighter future than the kids who talked about me. However, that piece of advice never worked.

It got so bad for me that the only way to release the pain and aggression that I felt was to hit the walls in my room so hard that it would leave a hole.

Doing that only got me into trouble with my mother who said that I had an anger problem, which I did. However, she didn’t know that the extent of my anger came from one word.

I understand why those young people committed suicide.

Words have a powerful ability to rob a person of his or her joy and self-worth.  They won’t hurt you physically, but the pain can linger for a much longer period of time.

My philosophy is, if you have something bad to say about another person, it’s best if you keep your opinions to yourself.   Remember, no one is perfect, so what are you expecting?