Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Hurt People, Hurt People

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on August 5, 2015

cliché?  Maybe. One of my favorites, though. A strong reminder that the aggressor has been a victim, giving compassion for the perpetrator. The movie “The End Of the Tour” chronicles the last four days of David Foster Wallace’s book tour. More to the point, the movie is a 4 day “affair” between the reporter, David Lipsky and the highly acclaimed author. Like “Bridges of Madison County,” in a short time frame, a connection is made which lasts a lifetime. David Foster Wallace and David Lipsky struggle to bond, while fearing what the other thinks. The rivalry is intense. David Lipsky wants to be David Foster Wallace. David Foster Wallace finds no joy in being David Foster Wallace, but he understands that he is being envied. When two women enter into the story, the tensions mount. David Foster Wallace feels betrayed by David Lipsky’s flirtatiousness, and he lashes out, resulting in a mute stand-off, where the silent treatment is felt with intense pain. Hurt people, hurt people, I kept thinking. David Foster Wallace was hurt because this woman was an ex-girlfriend. He was clearly still hurting from that. David Lipsky was struggling with his relationship, back home. He was hurting too. His unconscious flirtation hurt David Foster Wallace, but this was a result of David Lipsky’s loneliness and insecurity. Ultimately, ten years later, David Foster Wallace commits suicide. He was hurt, and so were many of his fans, including David Lipsky.

2 Responses to “Hurt People, Hurt People”

  1. Shelly said

    I like that, “Hurt people hurt people.” But I’ve learned that when someone continuously hurts me and I simply offer compassion in return, the other person just walks all over me and thinks they can continue treating me badly. After awhile, the compassion doesn’t help me to deal with them anymore. There’s a limit to how much someone can turn the other cheek.

    • Absolutely. Often, the hurt person does not know they are hurt, and hence they hurt other people, without much thought or reflection. I, by no means, want to say that we should accept being treated poorly because the perpetrator is hurting, but I do mean to say that the perpetrator might be hurting and that might shed light on why this is happening. Thanks.

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