This article first appeared in and was written for the Sunday News – a weekly newspaper based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Feelings are fragile things; they get hurt even when they’re not supposed to. Even when the brain explains to them why they shouldn’t be hurt by a certain action or statement — they still curl up in pain and demand that some reparation be made.
Feelings are fragile things and they should never be left lying around for some random person to carelessly trip over them with some reckless word or deed.
Of course hurt feelings heal but they heal only to a certain extent, in fact, they heal only to the extent that you can guarantee that the same harm will not be inflicted again.
So when someone says sorry the brain has to convince our feelings that the apology is sincere and that the harm will not be repeated in future and that the remorse is genuine so that the emotional pain can subside.
But if you live with someone who never apologises for hurting your feelings, you begin to nurse a reservoir of pain and build a wall around your emotions with layers upon layers of resentment because feelings are fragile things.
I think the only thing worse than a person who never apologises when they’ve hurt your feelings is a person who apologises but doesn’t change his/her behaviour.
It is the apology without repentance that wounds the heart because it says that your feelings are inconsequential.
And many married women live with this kind of emotional torment every single day — pasting smiles on their faces to mask festering wounds in their souls.
I know this is true because of the many married men who have small houses and have no intention whatsoever of ever being faithful to their wives or even bothering to respect their marriage.
Feelings are fragile things and too many women live with men who just don’t care about the hurt they cause.
If the prevalence of small houses has taught us nothing, it has at the very least demonstrated that there is an abundance of unrepentant husbands prowling our streets and by extension there are too many wounded wives living in despair.
When someone hurts you, I think there are usually two options — you either fight or flee but when you’re married fleeing is a very frowned upon course of action and fighting is never recommended (because you have a physical disadvantage in that regard).
So married women are told to hold their tongue when their feelings are hurt, apparently keeping silent is the best foolproof marital elixir.
I doubt that pretending something doesn’t hurt and bottling up one’s feelings makes things better but I am open to being persuaded (since I don’t know it all) as to how having someone hurt your feelings and suffering in silence is supposed to make things better.
How does anyone decide that it’s okay for someone to trample all over your feelings, constantly humiliate you and be an endless source of pain to you?
There are many things I find to be outrageous but none of them is as outrageous as the idea that our lives are not within the ambit of our own control.