Is A Hardened Heart A Shield For Painful Memories?

My hardened heart is so hard I fear it will break one day. It needs a fortress and a caretaker for protection. I built the fort, and what better caretaker than me.

Sometimes, I think it doesn’t beat anymore, but that can’t be since I am alive. It’s as hard as bricks, yet, I feel. I don’t know why. I still feel.

I thought hardening my heart would eliminate the painful memories ripping me apart. Silly me forgot memories live in the brain, not the heart.



Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

8 thoughts on “Is A Hardened Heart A Shield For Painful Memories?

  1. Re: “I built the fort………” As far as I know, that’s just a metaphor. You’ve never built a real one. So you’re still stuck in the real world, a world Jiddu Krishnamurti once said of: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” I on the other hand, together with Lucitta, built a real one. Nobody could enter it without our permission, not even our yards. One could say, we were living in two different worlds. One we simply had to live in, and one we created ourselves. The latter one was purposely disconnected from the one Krishnamurti was talking about. So whenever it suited us, we closed the place up, and entered our own world, a world where no hardened hearts were needed, a world far away from the one you are still living in. After her death I continued this. Doing so helps me to keep on living, and deal with that other one as well.

    1. I reside in the real world but I was never well adjusted to it. I’ve never had a relationship where I felt safe or protected . I don’t know what that feels like. My hardened heart is a metaphor to protect my shattered heart. In this life, we have to find ways to protect ourselves from a profoundly sick society.

      1. Re: “…….to protect ourselves from a profoundly sick society.” And that’s what i did. Doesn’t mean I don’t use this world and won’t make it work for me when it suits me.

        I never belonged to any organization, party, or whatever. I wasn’t attracted to any of them. On the contrary. The time my parents thought it was a good thing to enroll me with the local boy scouts club (I was 6 years old) the leadership kicked me out within two days 😝 Reason? They told my parents I was violating too many rules, and made fun of them. The real reason? I asked too many questions (yup, one of my many disorders already at that time) and knew more of the woods than the leadership 😊

  2. This was a very relatable post. As I get older, I’ve been stepping back to realize how I’ve been affected without me even noticing at first. My heart certainly hardened over time, so I hear you right there. Even when I stood up for myself, I was treated like I was the bad guy while others acted out way worse while not getting the same treatment while at the same time never owning up to their wrongdoings. It also ticked me off when people would give me all these labels that were exaggerations at best or untrue at worst. Look, I’m no angel and far from perfection, but I can’t stand when people act like they are somehow beyond flaws. Back then, I wondered if those same people were so insecure and I must have lived rent-free in their heads even when I didn’t do anything to them. It’s certainly been a long and ongoing process trying to make sense of the different causes and effects. Thanks for posting this.

    1. Hey Curtis. You got it! When I was younger I internalized and thought something must be wrong with me. Little did I know, I was feeling the persecution of bigotry. They mind rape us over and over and over again. There is no stopping them from fucking us in every way possible.

      1. Thanks! I had those same feelings with internalizing everything especially anger and depression ever since I was a child. There were plenty of times where I thought something was wrong. Mind rape is such an appropriate term for that kind of trauma. I even thought that this form of psychological abuse was a kind of rape or molestation without any kind of physical content. These forms weren’t always in the form of straight-up insults as I’ve learned how there were just little digs and dog whistles of course. It was tough deciphering everything at first especially since I tend to speak with a literal sense as opposed to being sarcastic (even when I am sarcastic, I have to spell it out that I’m emoting as such because I can have a deadpan approach). Perhaps, I always assumed that people would have literal meanings, but I didn’t think then that there would be nuances that I didn’t pick up on sight then.

        1. I hear ya. Same here. I was NAIVE! I didn’t understand the little digs and had no clue what dog whistles were about. It’s their way of ensuring you are irreparably damaged. What get’s me now is the feigned ignorance. They knew then and they know now exactly what they are doing. It is deliberate! We need to teach each other how to navigate their cruelty and the insatiable pleasure they get from doing harm to us.

          1. Yup. I underestimated how naive I was when I was younger. Glad you feel the same way because I thought I was going crazy for not realizing these things back then. It’s one thing when people are openly insulting, but the low-key stuff was harder to decipher and I didn’t even know what the term “dog whistle” meant in that context until a few years ago. It has been a learning experience finding out about different comments or words used in a dog whistle context. I didn’t realize people used words like “Canadians” as a diversion from using the N-word to avoid being called racist or how the word “articulate” can be a backhanded compliment just for talking eloquently for example. Sometimes it’s in the tone and/or context of the discussions.

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