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When Love Hurts

We've all heard someone say that they would "just die" if a certain person were to break up with them.We have heard people claim that they could just "kill somebody" for hurting them so badly. How much lovedoes it take to kill? When does the pain of staying in a relationship out weigh the pain of leaving? Whendoes love and rejection hurt badly enough to kill? We've all learned the sad answers to these questionsas our nation continues to collectively grieve the losses felt in Jonesboro, Arkansas and Springfield,Oregon.

Killing out of love is not a new phenomenon. Even now, it only staggers us due to age of the assailantsinvolved. From all accounts of the Arkansas killings, they appeared to stem from two primaryenvironmental issues: repeated exposure to violence, and relationship rejection . It seems that of thefour young girls (and one brave teacher) who died, two recently broke up with their boyfriends, settingthe gears in motion for tragedy.

In Oregon, an unstable young boy sensing embarrassment he caused his parents, couldn't seem to allow them(or his fellow classmates) to live with feelings of discontentment for him. Better they be dead thandisappointed.

Our country has thousands of abuse treatment shelters, proving that violence primarily escalates as aresult of rejection in relationships. That this issue (violent abuse) is now beginning to show up amongour youth should be no surprise to anyone. Each generation that practices dysfunctional relationships canonly pass on to the next generation what is familiar to them. Whatever you practice, you become good at.Escalating divorce rates, rape, murder, stalking, and sexual harassment is documented by the media on adaily basis. From government leaders to teachers, the legacy of data that we are passing on to ourchildren is seriously askew. Are we practicing what we preach? Are we only as sick as our secrets?

Math, English and Science are important topics, but we need to write a new chapter in History. We need toteach what is not being taught: love, compassion, sympathy, trust, respect, intimacy, passion and mostimportantly grieving and closure. Were you taught these things in school or even exposed to them? Oursystem teaches us about drugs, alcohol and harmful effects to our environment, but not how to protectourselves from ourselves, from others, and from the frailties and emotions of being human.

We are a society that takes what we want, when we want it. Our drive for success at all costs islegendary. Our mindset can be found concealed in our name AmerICAN. However, understanding "no" must betaught to ensure that victims do not have to fear retaliation when closing a relationship "at any age."While Jonesboro and Springfield had many more churches than bars, the innocence of courtship and younglove will forever be reshaped in the minds of their town and youth. While young boys await trials formurder, our task as a society is to find out why it happened and make sure it never occurs again. Thechallenge lies in teaching adults and children to win and lose in love and life gracefully, to bringtheir emotions under control, and to remain positive and productive when resolving conflict. Will thisbe easy? No. Is it essential? Yes.

By their very nature, relationships will always be intertwined with love, elation, joy, sorrow and pain.It is not better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all unless we can move safely from thehurt into accepting "no" with respect for the person who delivered it, and attain the love we seek thenext time around with no strings or conditions attached.

Thanks to M. Richard Doyle for his contributions to this column.


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