The “Karma” phrase does not help me. 

Whenever a “bad” person gets hurt, maimed, killed, it is said, “Karma.” I have never, not once, heard the word Karma used in a positive way. Ever! I only hear the word Karma when one person thinks another person is suffering due to their own earlier infliction of suffering to someone else. Someone has a stroke, “Karma.” Someone gets cancer,  “Karma.” Drunk driver gets killed in a car accident, “Karma.” So, by those OFTEN heard statements, I am to infer that bad things happen to bad people who deserve it. SO, what about the other person who died when the drunk driver hit them? What about the little girl who gets cancer? What about the newborn baby who has a stroke? No one ever says that is Karma. That is a tragedy. Utterly tragic. When bad things happen to innocent precious people it is not considered Karma. So when I hear someone label an individual with this situational Karma I can’t help but wonder about myself. When someone hears I got a muscle disease do they say, “Yep, Karma.” When someone hears I got Lyme disease do they say, “Karma caught up to her.” NO of course not. The “bad” things that have happened to me cannot be explained by the bad things I have done because I have not done bad things. 

It is a phrase I do not like. It is a statement I do not like. It goes on the assumption that if you do good, good will come, and if you do bad, bad will come. If you have done bad, and bad is happening, then that is the work of Karma. 

I understand the concept. This is in no way a religious post. I am very well versed in many religions. This has absolutely nothing to do with religion or spirituality. This has to do with a common phrase that I find insensitive. It cannot be applied to all so it should not be applied at all. The phrase. The word, only used when you find out someone has finally paid the price for what they did wrong. But what about the innocent that are suffering? Do you think it makes them question themselves? It shouldn’t. But I have heard MANY a child ask if they did something wrong to deserve this, whether it was rape, or illness. 

I actually do believe that because I choose to do good things, I have been blessed with wonderful things. I choose to see the good and therefore I do. But I did not choose to be molested. I did nothing to deserve being molested. I did not choose to get sick. I did nothing to deserve getting sick. Telling me that Karma is the reason so-and-so got hit by a car gives me no solace in the fact that the man who molested me is still walking around like he never did anything wrong. Telling me that Karma is the reason so-and-so got colon cancer gives me no peace about the fact that the man who held me hostage in his garage yet is now floating  on a 100,000 dollar boat sunning himself. If the word Karma only works when the sayer of the word deems it appropriate, then it makes the rest of us sufferers feel pretty awful. It insinuates there is something we have done to bring this to ourselves. And even if you do believe that is true, it is not something a victim should ever have to hear. 

I try not to internalize what other people say about other people. I try not to make it about me and just allow that person to label as they see fit to help their own healing. I try. Most of the time it has nothing to do with me anyway. But sometimes using the word Karma, feels a lot like blame. The absolute LAST thing a victim of abuse needs to feel is blame. I’ve seen it taken to the extent of, “You chose this in a past life,” or “This bad that has happened to you now is just setting a past life straight because of what you did then,” or, ” God let this happen for a reason.” Let me tell you, if you believe those things, that is your absolute right. But saying them to a victim of abuse is not. There is no peace in those phrases or words. There is only blame. There is shame. It is painful and hurtful and completely unnecessary. Those feelings and comments are best kept to yourself as they only cause more harm. 

Everyone has their beliefs. I have mine. You have yours. Phrases and words of blame, regardless of where they are stemmed from can do great harm to someone trying to overcome abuse. As a person that was abused, who has heard these phrases many times in my life, I can assure you, no healing comes from them. Sometimes it is best to stay silent and let the one who has been silenced, speak, and come to their own conclusions as to how and why this happened.  Hopefully, the victim, such as myself, will come to the conclusion, that we did nothing wrong and the ONLY blame lies on the abuser. The only “reason” this happened is because a monster chose to harm us and we were defenseless. We did nothing wrong at any point in our life that resulted or caused us to be abused. The ONLY conclusion is we were and are innocent and nothing that a criminal does to us will ever change that. 

Many years ago I was a volunteer chaplain. I learned it was not what I believed to be true that should be spoken. I gained great wisdom in being silent. In that silence I was able to hear what THEY felt caused their suffering. If THEY thought it was Karma or God or the absence of both. I did not hand out MY phrases that I thought would comfort them. I showed them the love and understanding and listening that I would have loved to have gotten. In that, they were able to gain their own wisdom. In being a chaplain I learned of many ways. I visited Native American Indians, Christians, those of the Jewish faith and many many others. I loved each of them. Love is universal. Through my own healing process I will say that of all the phrases that did not help me at all, those who loved me through it gave me the greatest gift. Those catch phrases are a dime a dozen and hold no value. Giving and showing love is truly priceless. 

9 thoughts on “The “Karma” phrase does not help me. 

  1. You are right, that used too freely, the concept of karma can definitely feel like another example of victim blaming. I wish people wouldn’t toss off simplistic explanations or platitudes about the suffering of others. I know sometimes they are trying to be comforting, or funny, or make sense of something they don’t really get. But about the most helpful thing I’ve heard people say to me when I am sick or hurting is, “Tell me how I can help you,” or “I’m here if you want to talk, or even if you don’t.”

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  2. I agree that making statements that are unhelpful and unfeeling, suck out loud. People misuse the concept of Karma all the time, and often make statements using it that are just plain wrong. Even when they use it correctly, unless the people listening totally understand it, more emotional pain can result. It is a complex concept that most people don’t really understand.

    Karma doesn’t mean if you do something bad that you’re going to get punished by some mysterious force. Or that if you get cancer or an illness, you somehow deserve it. My own understanding of it speaks to lessons and experiences our soul wishes to experience, that our human brain has no knowledge of. As for doing bad and then receiving bad, that speaks more to attracting what you put out.

    Lots of ignorance out there for sure. You said it: when someone is in pain and is hurting, the best thing to do is to love them. So many people have been brainwashed to look for who or what to blame, instead of just being in the moment and offering love and compassion.

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  3. The idea that God rewards the virtuous with good health and prosperity and the evil with affliction and poverty is an ancient one. It is also outmoded, disprove and no longer acceptable in the modern world. it was also dispensed with by the teachings of Jesus who encouraged us to move beyond our hatreds and to travel the path of compassion into the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s frustrating to suffer when people go out of their way to add to the pain.

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    • Yes I agree. I wish more walked in compassion. I think you got to the root of my thoughts here. You just worded it a little better😊 . Thanks for your comment. If more people followed these ways of love and compassion it would lessen the suffering of others. since they do not, we have to come up with ways to cope with them and release them which is sometimes more difficult than it seems.

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