How Much Does Labeling Hurt?

How much does it hurt when parents or others unfairly label us? An acquaintance recently told about how, after her 13-year-old daughter broke her wrist playing sports, her Dad, who had taken her to the hospital, responded to her expressions of pain by telling her, “Don’t be a wimp.” Later, when Mom showed up, the daughter’s first words were not about her painful injury, but an outraged and accusatory: “He called me a wimp!”

The painful physical injury was insignificant compared with the emotional hurt of being unfairly labeled.

Dad probably meant well, but I can easily picture that girl in therapy, years from now, telling the therapist about how, when she broke her wrist, her dad told her not to be a wimp.

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