A man once told me, “I may hurt you, but I will never harm you.”
It stuck with me. And I have thought, over the years, about the difference between the two. And I realize that I have had them both done to me, and it took those experiences to be able to tell the difference.
To hurt, by definition, is to cause physical pain or injury to a person.
To harm, by definition, is to damage the health of, or to have an adverse affect on, someone or something.
You can hurt me all day long.
You can beat me.
You can whip me.
You can flog me.
You can cane me.
You can hit me.
I will heal. Mend. Correct. Recover.
The act of physical injury is one that takes, generally speaking, a minimal amount of time to heal. There may be a scar. There may be a bruise. A welt. Some soreness. But I will get better in a relatively short amount of time.
But harm…? Yes, that’s different. If you harm me, you’ve created an issue that may have a lasting effect. You’re doing damage that may take years to conquer.
I may need therapy.
I may need prescription medication,
I may need more time than usual to be able to trust again.
I may need more time than usual to be able to communicate effectively again.
I may need more time than usual to share my work again.
I can remember having the crop across my skin so much that it made sitting painful for days. I can remember being welted and bruised. Tears and snot that were pulled from me and given to him.
They hurt me. And I healed.
I can remember being told that I was nothing. I can remember waiting for days…weeks…months…and then finally learning that he’d just chosen not to speak to me ever again (for my own good, he said). I can remember being told to just “wait” for an answer, for a conclusion, for closure…and instead of getting that, being left like a wounded gazelle on the Serengeti.
They harmed me.
I didn’t heal from that so easily.
Some things I’m still having nightmares about.
Harming someone causes emotional and psychological damage. They have adverse effects that may take someone years to get over…IF they ever get over them. It goes deeper than a cut. It has more impact than any instrument.
Being harmed is a brutal branding of the mind. It can come from lovers. It can come from play partners. It can come from people you trust, and dare I say, count as friends.
Hurt me all day.
But don’t harm me.
[Note: I know some will think that this is directed at D-types. And as I’m the s-type, my experiences with this have been with D-types; ergo, my perspective. However, it does not negate the fact that s-types can do harm, too.]
But don’t mind me…I’m just doing a bit of thinking tonight.