Many of you know we have a 4-month old puppy named “Mex,” which I will be referring to as Lela’s dog for the purpose of this discussion. Normally I and play with him before we leave, after we come home, and before we go to bed in order to get some of that pent up energy out of him. Otherwise, he becomes restless and destructive. Mex is at that period where he loves to bite things, no matter what it is. This appears to be typical given the fact that he is still teething. One of Mex’s toys is a tug-o-war rope that has three knots in it (bottom, middle, and top). For some reason, Mex likes to go for the highest knot, the one I am holding, but I usually pull the rope away so he doesn’t bite me in the process. Lela’s dog got me this morning though…and he got me good. For some reason, he didn’t let go of my hand right away and he broke skin in about four places. So, I distracted him to get him to let me go and that was effectively the end of play time. I found myself angry and even contemplating causing him the pain he inflicted upon me. We’ve been bit before in the course of play but this one was the worse yet. I put him in his crate and I withdrew while I processed what had happened. I’m sure Mex had no premeditated intention to hurt me but that didn’t cause that bite to hurt any less.
Dealing with people can be a lot like that in the sense that we find ourselves inadvertently being bitten. In fact, getting bitten is inevitable unless you live your life as a hermit. It could be that rude person that cut us off on the freeway or that coworker that really knows how to work our nerves. Those bites hurt a lot more when it’s inflicted by our child, a significant other, a parent, or a close friend. We feel hurt and then we become angry and perhaps vengeful. It is at this time that we need to take a step back and put things into perspective. People rarely do things with the intention of causing hurt or pain even though this sometimes happens. So, the next time you find yourself reeling in the pain of being bitten, take a step back and give yourself some time to put things into perspective before reacting. It’s been said that “hurt people, hurt people” so sometimes it’s helpful to put yourself in the position of the other person and practice empathy for why he or she might have hurt you.