Why is my hurt not enough

I have encountered this feeling a lot in my life. Sure, some things have been great in my life. But not everything. While in church growing up, I always heard testimonies of how people would overcome abuse, drug addiction, trauma, etc. I have none of those things in my life. Their stories were supposed to be inspiring, and they were for a while. How could you not be inspired? But what about people like me who have nothing terrible in their life but just feel, blank. Empty. Even on the good days, the pit of me is empty.

As I grew up, I started to think I HAD to have some sort of “thing” to overcome, or whatever story I did have, just didn’t matter. Because it wasn’t big and heavy enough. I started to think that God could not love me if my story wasn’t “hard” enough. But under everything, I felt empty. My story wasn’t super emotional. My decision to follow Christ wasn’t super emotional. I was told that my faith was invalid because I did not remember the exact day I chose it, and that I didn’t cry or have a huge emotional experience.

I met a few friends, and mostly came to terms with this. I felt ok with it, but not good. Let me rephrase, I fell ok with it, but I also feel like I’m not supposed to be ok with it.

Now, I’ve found Heart Support. But I still feel like an imposter. Ignored because my story isn’t big enough or hard enough. I feel like nothing I say has weight and that’s why I’m dismissed. I really believe people’s stories are valid because they’re the only one with that story. They’re the only one who can tell that story in the entire world. But why do i constantly find myself in a position where what I have to say isn’t seen or heard because it’s not big enough. Why can’t people be loved without huge stories? I feel so alone and empty, but most every part of my life is super great. Where do I go?


You aren’t alone. Your depression is a challenge enough that you don’t need to overcome a recovery issue to be strong. You don’t need to justify how you feel with some amazing sob story. I’m pretty sure those people giving those testimonials would have rather not been put through those trials.

I’m a lot like you. I “overcame” dropping out of college because my affluent high school, for all its focus on academics, didn’t prepare me for the reality of college life. Poor me.

I had a degree of envious admiration for my younger brother, who went from doing hard drugs and living on the streets to starting a business, buying a house, and marrying a great woman, and is still constantly working on bettering himself and his situation. He completed the 12 steps of AA. He held himself absolutely accountable. He embraced the Serenity Prayer and all the other -isms AA had to offer. I wanted some of that. Did my life have to be in a worse place? Did I need to follow him down the road of substance abuse to find salvation? Of course I’d never ask him that, but I know his answer would be a resounding NO.

Last fall, my wife dragged me to what I thought was a Bible study. Turns out, our local church puts on a 12 step program for the masses. Everyone from addicts to overeaters to people who just don’t love themselves shows up to go through the 12 steps. I’m about halfway through, and the “depression and anxiety” I started going for has given way to tons of emotional baggage and past hurts that made me who I am. It’s been hard, and it’s only getting harder right now, but I’ve already noticed a change in the way I see myself and think about the world around me. I can only control my role in things, I can’t control how other people act or what happens around me, and there’s some comfort in that. A similar program that I believe is farther-reaching and more secular is Celebrate Recovery. Check to see if there’s a group in your area.

I was baptized as a baby. I “accepted Christ” when I was 12. Both were just going through the motions, and I don’t remember the dates of either. My relationship with God was never emotional, but it’s always been real and present. HOW DARE someone tell you your faith is invalid. Your faith journey is YOURS. Your relationship with God is YOURS. They are playing the part of the Pharisees, trying to prove that their faith is stronger by discounting yours. It’s enormously hypocritical, judgmental, and blasphemous. Go read the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18: 9-14, and yes I had to Google that because I don’t memorize chapter and verse). God’s love is not dependent on how hard your life is, how much your faith is tested, or what you’ve overcome; it’s absolute and unconditional.

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Hey silenhurtingnotenough, thanks for posting.

I hear you. We hear you. And the only thing I’ll say is this - your story does have meaning. Your story has weight. And the first person you have to convince that that is true is yourself.

Why don’t you write your story here? I’d like to hear it. Let’s have it.

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Thank you. Really, thank you so much. I was in tears reading your response because I felt seen and understood. I really appreciate what you said. I will look into Celebrate Recovery, I have never heard of that before. Thank you!!!

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Hello, I see you. and am listening to your story.
You are finding your voice, keep going!

I have spent a long time thinking about this. I have a really hard time sorting it out, because I feel like there’s no real reason for me to feel so empty. I have one extremely hard experience in life, but otherwise my life is, and has been, fine. I had a good family, I had some friends. So, why has this always been around? Why is this always here? But then I thought about you saying the first person I have to convince is me. So, I’ll give it a shot here.

Most of my life, I’ve felt overlooked, forgotten, and ignored. I was compared to my siblings and cousins because I was quiet, and less prone to being emotional. As such, my family began to treat me as if I was unaffected by things they said or wanted from me. I wasn’t unhappy, I wasn’t sad. But I never could figure out how to express things in a way they seemed to find acceptable. So, they assumed my “even keel” personality meant that 1. I was the strong sibling, and 2. I was not effected by anything. It never mattered what I said, just how my words were presented though emotions I apparently didn’t understand.

I mostly accept my story of coming to Christianity as my own and worthy, though I still have doubts. The churches I grew up with don’t seem to care if your story of Faith is simply “I thought about it and decided this is what I want.” Also, becoming a Christian as a young teen in an unbelieving home had it’s own issues. Nobody demeaned me for making that choice exactly, but they made it clear they did not wish to discuss it with me, either.

I was able to work through this a bit in college, as I had a wonderful professor who asked me to work though some of the emptiness I had in papers for class. This helped, because for the first time, someone was listening to what I said. I didn’t have to sound happy, or sad, what I had written on the pages was what mattered.

I worked on myself some. I took to heart what people were saying, and tried to see if I could “meet in the middle,” so to speak. I could probably work on how I present myself a little bit, and I could also try and explain, again, that I need my family to just listen to what I’m saying because adding more to the words is hard, but that I am trying.

Then, my brother died. It was extremely sudden. He had an unexpected health event. I was able to come home for 1 week. While at home, my family spent the entire one week telling me to check on my siblings. Extended family would call me, to ask about how other immediate family members were doing. Neither I, nor my best friend who was with me, remember one person asking me how I was doing. They all just assumed I was fine. When some of my family found out I found dealing with his death hard after just 2 months, they told me they were surprised. They thought I would have “gotten over it” by then. This hurt, a lot, obviously. I’m not heartless.

Now that I’ve graduated, on most day, I’d say that I am ok. Overall, my life is fine. But there is an ever present empty feeling. I’m not heartless, I’m not emotionless. But if it requires pulling feelings into verbal words rather than written ones, I’ve got nothing. Over the years I think I’ve just shit everything down. It doesn’t seem to matter if you can feel things. It only matters if you can express them properly.


Sorry to hear about your brother and you sound young as well, that must be hard, i feel that.
Men are expected to be “strong” i say this as i experienced that from my family in a fashion as well. Not till later was it more evident i just had no way to express my feelings properly. It was not for lack of them quite the opposite. Sometimes they would avoid telling me things, as they thought i couldnt handle them which only made me more closed in.
As i got older i also learned that parents for the most part really dont know what they are doing, mostly guided by there parents and experiences. Once i kinda understoond that from my family i found ways to bridge the gap over time. And learned that my parents also had issues they were dealing with as well as time goes by. My mom got addicted to xanax for 20 years i had NO idea…then she got, suicidal, went thru shock therapy, then came out the otherside and opened her own business in a retirement home and well helps people there now… Meanhile i was like WOW ok my mom was known as june cleaver among friends as i grew up its hard to tell how your parents might really be coping , as parents instinct is to protect there children.

I cannot speak much about the church, only that across most of them, there are very common threads , these to me are universal and i can really trust, if that makes sense.
Verbal and Written. Both are important! Speaking them is also the hardest. But can provide most of the reward for you and others.

just my thoughts on hearing you , i learned something from you as well. Thank you.

Hey silenthurtingnotenough,

Thank you for sharing your story and telling us more about what you’re going through. I think there’s just a misperception that we have to have some grand “dramatic” story that we can tell others to get their respect. I lived under that kind of feeling for a while, and I didn’t really overcome it until I got married. You and my wife are actually a lot a like. She never had a troubled childhood, or lived in an abusive home, or had those crazy college years where she did drugs and partied really hard. She’s mostly just been like this_______________a straight line.

When she met me I was so convinced that I needed to have an impactful, dramatic story to impress her and others, and for her it was annoying. Because even if I was the butt of the joke of the story, it was still just all about me, what I had been through, how I overcame it. I didn’t pay enough attention to her story because there was no “rock bottom” or sensational part.

So what I’m saying is that I think you’re fine. I think you’re leading a great life, and whether other people notice is irrelevant. I would say to spend time serving others and helping them to discover themselves as well - as someone who’s not wrestling deeply with something, you can do this. The best way to get people interested in you is to be genuinely interested in them.

I hope that helps!


Thank you so much! It did help a lot! I really appreciate the time you took to read and reply, thank you!

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Thank you! I appreciate your time and response! I have good parents, but we seem to have some sort of lasting communication error that I have yet to figure out how to overcome.

Thank you for your reply. It helped a lot.

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Hey good deal, we’re here for you. :fist: