12 Things You Could NEVER Understand Until It Happens to You

There are many things in life that you will never understand unless you go through it yourself. Here are a handful of common experiences that confirm it. Do you agree?

1. Not Having Enough Money Due to Unforeseen Circumstances

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Not all poor people are in their financial condition due to poor decisions. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can financially destroy a person. I can relate to this. From car accidents that were not my fault to having a stroke that resulted in me not having my manager’s salary position — overnight — life never stays the same.

What is today won’t be your tomorrow. From living in a country with a healthcare system that will bankrupt you if you have an accident or fall ill to losing your financial partner — life happens. However, not everyone will know this burden and can never fully understand the magnitude of not having enough money.

2. Homelessness

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Homelessness carries a stigma, suggesting people are there due to laziness, mental illness, and substance abuse disorders. While those are all valid reasons (they still deserve shelter), it’s not true for many people living on the streets. There are plenty of homeless people with full-time jobs who are still without a home. 

The hate you experience from even existing is something you cannot know unless you are living it. I’d imagine the closest understanding you may have to that statement is reading any comment section about tent cities. So many Americans do not love their neighbors and say inhumane things. Many dismiss homelessness as a choice, noting resource programs and assistance to help. 

An online forum member clarifies their experience: “Shelters are dangerous, filthy, abhorrent places, understaffed, and simply don’t have the funding to do much good. 

Everything is a waiting game. Rapid rehousing in most of the country isn’t rapid. You will be on a waiting list forever. When politicians want to save a few bucks or show how fiscally conservative they are, guess whose funding gets cut first?

Never mind the trauma of never having privacy, a bathroom, a place to sleep safely, a place to keep any belongings without them being stolen, the constant threat of being robbed in your sleep or assaulted if you’re female, or maybe some teens feel like pelting you with eggs. Etc.” Nobody should be living this reality, and I’m sorry for those who are. 

3. Being Bullied

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Being bullied chips away your self-esteem, confidence, and sometimes, even your will to live. It’s an awful experience that is impossible to fully understand without having been through it. Much like other circumstances, you may deal with victim blaming. “What did you do to provoke them?”

Nothing. We did nothing. These bullies act on their own accord, which can hollow you out. I was bullied so unmercifully that I remember my bullies missing their bus to follow me on my walk home, throwing rocks at me, and threatening me the entire way.

It wasn’t uncommon for my head to be slammed into a locker. The constant fear of thinking you will be beaten up every day weighs on you. It’s scary to get up and go to school. I started skipping school, which led to other poor decisions, including substance curiosity and use.

4. Substance Abuse Disorders

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As someone in recovery, I can tell you that people are all over the spectrum regarding understanding addiction. People who say they don’t understand are often unaware of or in denial of their vices because they aren’t substances. There are plenty of other addictions that people have normalized to participate in without guilt or accountability.

Nonetheless, if you’ve never dealt with a substance abuse disorder, you will never understand its torturous hold. It’s apparent every time I read comment sections regarding the issue. The lack of compassion is astounding.

Fighting with your moral compass as you spiral out of control is a uniquely terrifying experience. You start doing things outside of who you are entirely — to supply a habit that won’t let go. The withdrawals are as close as you can get to living in hell on Earth. The guilt that consumes you until you can’t care anymore because you’re so sick you have to chase another bag — is heavy.

You can’t look at yourself in the mirror. It gets harder to ignore that persistent oppression of that damning internal voice. It taunts you, advising that you are worthless and will never get better. Being judged by strangers and family alike without mercy or compassion because you “did it to yourself” is a condemning pain unlike any other.

At that moment, you are the sickest you have ever been in your life, in desperate need of medical and mental health assistance. But are often dismissed as a stain on society, unworthy of receiving help, especially at taxpayers’ expense.

5. Losing a Parent

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I’ve recently lost both of my parents, and it is a grief unlike any other I’ve known. Suddenly, your support system is gone, and holidays will never be the same. The grief hits you at random times. A song comes on the radio, a familiar smell tickles your nose, and your spirit reacts without warning, regardless of where you are and who is around you.

My husband lost his mother when he was still a kid, and that is an entirely different grief than I’ve known. Without experiencing these things yourself, you’ll never understand the unanswered questions, guilt of not spending more time, tears that appear out of nowhere, and many other things involved when grieving the loss of your parents.

6. Being With an Abuser

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“Just leave!” It’s easy to say that you would never stay with an abuser, put up with verbal insults, or being hit, but life may surprise you. Abusers are often narcissistic and master manipulators.

People remain in these relationships for dozens of reasons, and it doesn’t make them stupid or unworthy of compassion. Being in an abusive relationship is something no one understands until they find themselves in one.

7. Being in a Car Accident

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Unless you’ve been in a car accident, it’s impossible to comprehend the experience. Everything happens so quickly you barely have time to react. The adrenaline that hits you can cause you to forget things and not handle the situation accordingly.

For example, I was so shaken by being hit that I didn’t go to a doctor. I wasn’t in pain, that is, until day three, when I woke up in excruciating pain called — whiplash.

For some, getting back into the driver’s seat causes anxiety and fear. When someone swerves in front of you without a blinker, speeds up behind you in your rearview mirror, or tailgates you, it can trigger anxiety attacks and PTSD. 

8. Pregnancy & Giving Birth

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On a more positive note, there is no way to convey to a person the feeling that rushes over you when you see your baby for the first time. After all the painful contractions and pushing, it immediately fades away, and you know a love like any other you’ve ever known or will ever know in life.

People frequently say this, but unless you’ve experienced the morning sickness, headaches, sciatica pain, cravings, peeing yourself from laughing too hard, foot under your ribs pain, kicks in your belly, hormonal outbursts, hearing their heartbeat, and all the other things that accompany pregnancy and birth, you can’t understand the work and reward of having a baby.

9. Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA)

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Sexual assault of any kind is an experience you can’t understand unless you have been through it. Nonetheless, I’m speaking about CSA because I can speak from a place of experience. 

It changes who you are in the long run of your life. It never goes away. There is no getting over it. The guilt and shame are unmeasurable and unlike other fits of those emotions.

As a child, adults are supposed to be trustworthy. The violation of that trust is confusing and frightening. You immediately become a liar, coaxed on what to say — or not say. 

Everyone’s experience is different. I didn’t tell anyone about my preschool-aged CSA from our “family friend” until I was 13, at which point I was called a liar. I finally confided the truth at 18 with my father. But by then, there was nothing we could do. 

While not all survivors of CSA respond the same, it’s not uncommon for them to live promiscuous lives with substance abuse and mental health disorders. It shapes your personality and how you engage with the world for the rest of your life. 

10. Clinical Depression

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Clinical depression is impossible to comprehend without going through it yourself. Being told to “smile” or that “you should be grateful because at least XY and Z” isn’t helpful. Similarly, hearing that at some point, you need to just “pull yourself by the bootstraps” doesn’t offer resolution.

Depression is not just “feeling sad” or something you can “get over.” Another commenter from the forum explains: “It’s like having your high school bully live with you, going everywhere you go, constantly hurling insults and throwing jabs.

Suggesting what you should do — and deserve to have done to you — every awful thing you can imagine. And the worst part is that no one else can see or hear them except you. ” The thoughts sound like you — it’s incomprehensible for an outsider.

11. Working in Food or Customer Service

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Have you ever worked in food or customer service? It is the worst. People treat you like you are subhuman and with no room for error. Many admit that working in customer service destroyed their “faith in humanity.”

These are also the jobs (essential) that half of the population believes are beneath them. Meanwhile, they are the ones treating wait staff and retail workers like garbage. Unless you’ve had a customer berate you to the point of being in tears in the walk-in cooler — you could never understand. And it happens daily in restaurants across the States. I promise you that.

12. Being Cheated On

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The ultimate feeling of devastating betrayal is when your partner, whom you trust and love, cheats on you. It changes you. You start trying to make it make sense. You may end up even blaming yourself for their affair as a means of rationalizing their betrayal. The pain you experience after being cheated on is unlike any other and — for some — is unforgiving.

25 Groups of People That Society Has Absolutely No Sympathy For — Do You?

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Is there a group of people who you have zero respect or sympathy for today? You’re not alone. After someone polled a popular online community for examples of said groups, here is what they agreed on. Do you?

16 Super Creepy Things That Are Totally Legal — Why?

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Have you ever given thought to the creep factor on some things that are still legal today? There are quite a few. For example, everything on this list! After someone polled an online forum for examples of said things, here are their honest confessions. Do you agree?

Illegalize It Now: 18 Legal Things in America That Really Shouldn’t Be

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According to an online community, there are dozens, if not more, of legal things that should be illegalized immediately. Here are their top-voted suggestions. Do you agree?

22 Best Physical Sensations According to Women

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Nothing compares to the feeling of my toddler tickling her little fingers up and down my arm, mimicking when I tickle her arm to get her off to sleep. Accompanied with, “Mommy, I love you,” it melts my heart. There are hundreds of wonderful physical sensations in the world. Here are what women voted as the absolute best. Do you agree?

22 Behaviors That Warn Others You Are a Terrible Person

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Are there any telltale signs that someone is a terrible person in your eyes? You’re not alone. According to an online community, some undeniable signs signal to others when you are a horrible person. Here are THEIR honest confessions.

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.