How Saying Hurtful Things In A Relationship Affects It

Saying hurtful things
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We often say hurtful things in a relationship during a fight or a disagreement. At that point in time, in the heat of the moment, it doesn’t occur to us that we may be damaging a relationship by saying hurtful things. We don’t take into account how our partner might have felt when we said those ominous words. 

Realization always hits later, and by the time we cool down and begin to understand how we might have caused our partner pain, it is too late. Sometimes, a simple sorry just doesn’t cut it. The damage is done. When a relationship matures, we don’t mince our words. While this is good as we tend to be more open with our partners, the same fact can also take an ugly turn as we tend to take things for granted.

When your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend says hurtful things when angry it does have long-term consequences for the strength of the bond holding you together. In author Laurell K Hamilton’s words, “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”

We become too lax and end up saying hurtful things we don’t even mean in a fit of rage. When a man says hurtful things or a woman lashes out at her partner, more often than not, it is to score a point, to have an upper hand in a fight, to assuage one’s ego. However, relationships are not boxing matches, and even there, hitting below the belt is considered unacceptable.

The next time you are tempted to deal a low blow to your partner, remember, they may forgive you but they don’t forget that generously. Too many of these instances can make your relationship an emotionally abusive one. So, it’s imperative to tread carefully and always be mindful of how saying hurtful things in a relationship affects it.

How Saying Hurtful Things In A Relationship Affects It

When you say hurtful words to your partner, these toxic phrases begin to weaken the foundation of your relationship. You’re basically damaging a relationship with words. Saying hurtful things in a relationship can slowly drive you and your partner away from each other. Loss of interest in the relationship can be a common side-effect when you’re constantly disrespecting your significant other or being disrespected in a relationship.

Besides, a pattern of one partner lashing out at the other can turn into a trigger for discord. When partners find themselves in a similar situation where hurtful words have been exchanged in the past, the tension between them can be palpable. For example, if your spouse says hurtful things when drunk, their drinking habits can become a bone of contention in the relationship. Even if the erring partner apologizes for their actions, it doesn’t make the hurt go away.

“My partner uses the most hurtful things to say to someone to put me down whenever we argue and I cannot deal with it. “I don’t know how to get over hurtful words in a relationship.” The person who is at the receiving end of hurtful words and scathing remarks is often left grappling with such thoughts. Poisonous words strike a blow on your self-esteem and have a negative impact on your mind. They start to negate the positive feelings that you had for a person which in turn damages your relationship. Here are 8 ways in which saying hurtful things affect a relationship.

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1. It scars the relationship and shows that you don’t care

Saying hurtful things to your partner can be the beginning of an abusive relationship. You might not realize it but your relationship begins to scar. Your partner might feel shocked to hear these words. Even more so by the fact that you are willing to spew poison and willing to intentionally hurt your partner. These words will echo in their ears for a long time.

saying hurtful things
Saying hurtful things scars the relationship

A mental scar of the incident will always remain in your partner’s mind. Saying hurtful things to someone you love is unacceptable. Claudia, a college student, says, “My boyfriend says hurtful things when angry. Does he mean what he says when he’s angry? I’m constantly worried that things can escalate. If he can be verbally abusive, who’s to say he won’t take a swing at me in a fit of rage. Besides, every time he says mean things, it just chips away at the love and affection I have for him.”

2. Your partner loses respect for you

When you use toxic phrases in a relationship, your partner begins to feel that you don’t understand and respect them enough. In turn, your partner begins to lose respect for you. If you say, “My boyfriend puts me down jokingly,” do you get his sense of humor as time goes by? No, you don’t. You start losing all respect for him, don’t you?

This respect is replaced by anger and hurt. Your partner might even begin to fear you instead of respecting you. If you don’t respect your partner, you don’t deserve their respect either. Remember a verbally abusive relationship can even turn into a physically abusive one.

“My husband says mean things about my family whenever we have an argument. No matter what the issue at hand, he cannot resist dragging my parents through the dirt, and I’m beginning to resent him for it. Does he mean what he says when he’s angry? I do not know, but it certainly has impacted the health of our relationship,” says Radhika, a Mumbai-based lawyer.

3. Your partner will become distant

What to do when your spouse says hurtful things? How do you react to your partner’s angry outbursts? How do you build a loving relationship with someone who is looking for reasons to obliterate your sense of self-worth with their words? A person who is at the receiving end of a verbal tirade may find themselves wrestling with these questions. However, they may eventually tire out and give up.

After all, as Atticus, the mysterious poet, says “Words will scratch more hearts than swords.” When a spouse says hurtful things to you, it plays on the mind of the one at the receiving end. Your repeated habit of saying mean things in a relationship will make them feel overwhelmed. You may regret your actions later and lament, “I said hurtful things to my boyfriend/girlfriend, and I feel awful”, but your feelings of guilt won’t make their hurt go away.

Eventually, they would want to distance themselves from you for some time because it’s not always easy to figure out how to get over hurtful words in a relationship. Toxic words spew negativity and if that’s all you have to give, you can’t blame your partner for wanting space. A toxic relationship can be emotionally exhausting and mentally scarring.

4. Your partner will become hostile

“My husband said hurtful things I can’t get over and now it’s beginning to affect our relationship. What should I do?” Many readers reach out to our panel of counselors with such or similar issues. And understandably so. If hurtful exchanges of words are a pattern in a relationship, partners may begin to feel hostile toward one another.

Or worse, start looking for ways to get back at each other, trapped in a vicious cycle of who can hurt whom more. As a result, your partner will start seeing you as someone who doesn’t understand them. They may be physically present in the relationship but might have checked out mentally and emotionally.

This is because of the frustration that has been piling up for quite a while now. Their eyes that once looked at you with love will now look at you with confusion and hurt. If your boyfriend says hurtful things when angry, you will feel upset the moment he loses his temper because you know what’s coming.

At this point, the relationship may be beyond the point of figuring out what to do when your spouse says hurtful things or how to handle your partner lashing out at you. The only way to salvage this bond is with concrete corrective measures from the partner who has been resorting to willfully hurting the other with their words.

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5. The frequency of your fights will increase

Even if you realize your mistake and ask for forgiveness, there are chances that this topic becomes a bigger issue in your future fights. Your partner may not be able to totally forgive you and will bring it up in other fights as well. As a result, you will have even more heated arguments with your partner.

As they say, “Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.” When a man says hurtful things to his partner, “my boyfriend or husband said hurtful things I can’t get over” is a natural and expected reaction. Likewise, if a woman is overly critical of her partner or disrespects him with her words, all the potshots can become an arsenal fueling resentment and negativity.

Practicing forgiveness in a relationship fraught with so much negativity and toxicity isn’t easy. Every fight, every argument, every new tirade of verbal abuse or hurtful words becomes an act of picking scabs off old wounds, leaving them tender and hurting all over again.

6. Your partner may feel unloved

Saying hurtful things to your partner in a relationship lowers their self-esteem, making them feel vulnerable and unloved. They might begin to feel that you’re behaving this way because you don’t love them anymore. They could feel underappreciated and feel like you are taking them for granted. They start doubting themselves even though you try to tell them you didn’t mean what you said.

When a spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend says hurtful things when angry, they are essentially telling their significant others that they are not valued, respected, or cherished in this connection. In that situation, it is only a matter of time before they begin to doubt the sincerity of your feelings for them.

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7. Resentment seeps into your relationship

Saying mean things to say to your boyfriend or girlfriend when you’re angry or in the middle of a heated argument can have a lasting impact that can alter the nature of your relationship. All those hurtful jibes and deliberately attacking each other’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses can cause resentment to seep into your relationship.

Letting go of resentment in a relationship can be one of the hardest things a couple has to contend with. All the mean, nasty things you say to your partner or they to you compound into overbearing emotional baggage. Then, every time you find yourself caught in a fresh spell of disagreements, you not only have to deal with the present problems but also the weight of this baggage. You can wonder how to get over hurtful words in a relationship all you want but there is a good chance that neither of you will be able to forget how the other hurt them with their words.

8. Your relationship turns toxic

“I said hurtful things to my boyfriend.” “I lashed out at my girlfriend in anger and said some mean things.” The weight of your actions will press upon you, you may experience guilt and vow to never resort to such behavior again. Yet, when the next fight happens, you find yourself going down the same rabbit hole of hurling nasty words and insults at one another.

If not checked right in the beginning, this can easily become a pattern that can turn you into a toxic couple. To understand how to break this pattern, you need to first understand why do we say hurtful things when angry. Simply because it is the easiest way to vent out our frustration and anger, certainly a lot easier than focusing on your issues and working on resolving them.

9. You both start looking for love elsewhere

It takes one negative to overshadow all the positives. Similarly, saying mean things in a relationship can overshadow all the months or years of love between the two of you. This is because those toxic words begin to play on your mind and you start to doubt your relationship.

The love starts to fade away and you involuntarily start seeking love elsewhere. This does not mean cheating on your partner. It simply means that you start appreciating those old and new suitors who seem to always treat you better than your own spouse. This could be the beginning of an emotional affair, which will only drive your partner further away from you.

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10. They abandon you

There’s a limit to everyone’s endurance. Constant verbal abuse can lead to completely damaging a relationship with words. Author Gemma Troy puts it succinctly, “Words hurt more than hands do.” It hurts, even more, coming from someone you love. When a man says hurtful things to his partner repeatedly or a woman uses her words to put her significant other down, every blow drives that victim away.

Your partner may not show that she/he wants out of the relationship but might just silently observe your behavior. When they realize that they can’t take any more of your toxic behavior, they will abandon you. People often start damaging a relationship with words without even realizing it. They eventually feel sorry and apologize to their partner who then forgives them. This can become a vicious cycle as they begin to take their partner for granted and saying hurtful things becomes a habit. 

What they don’t realize is that each such incident scars the relationship even further. By the time the person realizes it, it’s too late. Don’t let your anger damage your relationship. Think before saying hurtful things to your partner as words cannot be taken back, what is left is a mental scar.

Whenever you find yourself wondering about how to get over hurtful words in a relationship, remember these wise words from the iconic Julia Roberts, “I wish I were a little girl again because skinned knees are easier to fix than a broken heart.” So the next time, you’re tempted to hurl a few insults at your partner, make a conscious effort to restrain yourself. Take a deep breath, walk away from the fight if you need to and then revisit the issue when you’re calmer and more in control of your emotions.


1. Is it normal to say hurtful things in a relationship?

No, it is not normal to say hurtful things in a relationship. Once or twice during an argument, something hurtful can slip out involuntarily. You or your partner might regret it instantly and ask for forgiveness. But saying hurtful things during all kinds of arguments is not normal at all.

2. Why does my boyfriend say hurtful things?

He says hurtful things because he feels a sense of power when you get upset. Because in all probabilities he’s had toxic parents who threw hurtful words at each other. Your boyfriend says hurtful things when angry because he is unable to control his anger or his words.

3. What to do when your husband hurts you with words?

If your husband is sarcastic and says hurtful things then it becomes a very difficult situation for you that can push you into depression. The best thing you could do is zone out when he is angry and not listen to a single word he says. If he apologizes later it’s fine. But if his behavior keeps troubling you, consider seeking relationship counseling.

4. Is it easy to forgive someone who said hurtful words to you?

Some people do have the habit of saying hurtful things when angry but then they would tell you they didn’t mean a word of it. They would apologize and do everything to ensure you don’t feel hurt anymore. In that case, it is easy to forgive someone who said hurtful words. But if this becomes a pattern you cannot forgive every time.

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