We’ve all been hurt by someone we love at some point. Be it intentional or unintentional, emotional hurt scars us for life. But we do survive it. While some may choose to let it go, we think that one of the ways to deal with it or lessen the pain is to figure out how and what to say to someone who hurt you emotionally.
When someone hurts you deeply, it’s completely natural to feel at a loss for a while, not knowing how to process and move forward from that unpleasant incident. Especially if they are your romantic partner or a good friend. Holding grudges or keeping all the pain and negative emotions bottled up inside is only going to leave you feeling bitter and resentful in the long run. It’ll also ruin your relationship with that person, often to the point of no return.
So, before you put together mean things to say to someone who hurt you, how about we speak to an expert? Today, psychologist Nandita Rambhia (M.Sc. in Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling, shares her inputs on what to do when someone has hurt you deeply.
What To Do When Someone Has Hurt You Emotionally
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We will address many of your queries today: How to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally? How do you forgive someone who KEEPS hurting you? Do you even have to? What do you tell them? See, before figuring out what to say to someone who hurt your emotions, you need to understand what you are going through. You have to comfort yourself and figure out what you need. We can’t stress enough on self-love and self-care to soothe your aching heart.
On those days when you are left feeling hurt all by yourself, confiding in a trusted friend might give you much-needed perspective. It’ll help you decide whether this person is worth fighting for or you should cut ties with them for good. Here are 7 things you can and should do when someone has hurt you emotionally:
1. Accept the hurt and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling
The first step in the healing process is to acknowledge and accept that you’ve been hurt. Nandita explains, “Acknowledge that you’re feeling hurt. Someone you care about deeply has broken your trust and that betrayal in the relationship is bound to sting. There’s absolutely no shame in embracing your negative emotions even if it makes you feel weak as a person. Let the feelings wash over you.
“When you accept and acknowledge, you will experience a shift in emotions — You might feel despair, disappointment, and anger. Accept those feelings and wait for them to dissipate.”
2. Find healthy ways to express the hurt
Next, find healthy ways to express that hurt in order to heal from the pain. And listing out hurtful words to say to someone who hurt you doesn’t count. Quit sitting and wallowing for days or lashing out at others. You can’t let all the other relationships in your life suffer due to one person. The best way out according to us is to express that pain. Our tips on how to get over hurt feelings eventually:
Related Reading: Why Does Love Hurt So Much and What to Do?
- Write down your feelings in a letter and rip it up or burn it
- Rant all you want, scream, or speak out loud everything you want to say
- Talk to your friends and family about it
- Cry and let it all out because if you don’t, it will negatively impact your mental health and how you feel about yourself
- Think about what you can do next, even if it’s a small action, to cope with the circumstances
We will deal with the “How do you make someone realize they hurt you?” problem later when you feel ready for the confrontation emotionally. But first, process your damaged feelings and manage your anger instead of resorting to unhealthy ways to deal with the pain. You might not be able to communicate how you feel to the person who caused you emotional pain, but don’t let yourself feel alone.
3. Try to see things from the perspective of the person who hurt you emotionally
When it emotionally hurts, we tend to put all the blame on the person who hurt us. We think they’re terrible and insensitive, which usually prevents us from shifting our mindset. Nandita suggests, “Try to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view if you want to deal with the negative emotions.”
She explains, “When it comes to emotional neglect and hurt, more often than not, people don’t realize that their words and actions have had a terrible effect on their friend or a romantic partner. It is often unintentional, which is why you should initially give them the benefit of doubt.”
It is possible that they may have had a bad day or were going through something traumatic themselves, which caused them to react in the way they did. They may have been joking around, unaware that their words could cause so much hurt to you. So, how to tell someone they hurt you? Talk to them, give them a chance to explain themselves. Try to understand that person’s feelings and perspective, and let them know that their words/actions hurt you a lot emotionally.
Related Reading: 23 Signs Of Emotional Invalidation In A Relationship
4. Stop playing the victim/blame game
This is one of the most important things you need to do when someone hurts you emotionally. We’re not saying that you weren’t the victim in the situation. Nor are we trying to trivialize your feelings. Yes, horrible things were said and done to you even though you weren’t at fault. But self-pity is never the answer if you want to come around from that episode and move forward with your life.
As you learn how to get over hurt feelings, Nandita reminds you that pitying yourself or playing the blame game will only do you more harm than good and hold you back from healing. You need to take responsibility for your recovery and happiness. You may not be responsible for what happened to you, but you can’t let someone else’s actions of the past overpower your present. Don’t let the hurt become your identity.
5. Focus on your happiness and well-being
When someone hurts your feelings and doesn’t care about what they did, you might want to isolate yourself and not do anything that you enjoy. Some of us even go to the extent of cutting off other relationships and secluding ourselves in a cocoon. Don’t do this. Don’t let the hurt or the guilt trip dim everything around you that brings you happiness. It is detrimental to your physical and mental well-being. Make a little room for some self-love amidst the gloom.
Nandita tells you how to deal with emotional pain in a relationship: “You have to focus on yourself. It can be devastating and distressing to be hurt emotionally, but you still have to finds moments of self-care. Try to follow your routine as much as possible. Even if you are hurt by someone you love deeply and it stings every time you think about it, try not to skip your workouts and meals or sleep hungry. A routine helps you be more in control of yourself and overcome the hurt in a better manner. So, go ahead and pamper yourself as much as you can.”
We’re sure there are positive activities you indulge in whenever you feel hurt or even when you have some spare time on your hands. There’s so much you could do to uplift your mood and comfort yourself rather than sinking in self-pity, like:
- Watching the sunset
- Yoga and exercise
- Taking a walk, alone or with a loved one
- Reading a great book
- Taking an art class
- Going out for a meal on your own or with a good friend
- Watching a movie with someone
- Playing your favorite sport
Related Reading: I Don’t Feel Loved: Reasons And What To Do About It
6. How to get over hurt feelings: Practice self-compassion and forgiveness
When a person’s feelings are hurt, it is easy for them to blame themselves even if they didn’t do anything wrong. Always remember that irrespective of what happened, it is never a good idea to feel regret and carry the burden, which is why you need to start practicing forgiveness and self-compassion. Treat yourself with empathy and try to move on instead of submitting to misery.
Practicing forgiveness for yourself and the other person and choosing to be at peace is any day better than being angry and disappointed. However, we often see this query: How do you forgive someone who keeps hurting you? The thing is, you don’t have to forgive them every time, or even the first time they hurt you. You get to decide.
Like this Reddit user says, “I think forgiveness is about yourself. You don’t want to hang on to anger and have it ruin your future. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean trusting them or necessarily letting them back in the same place in your life. It is just letting go of the power their actions had to control your emotions.”
7. Seek support after someone hurts you
The best thing to do when someone hurts you deeply is to seek professional help. When we are left feeling hurt, we tend to act out of impulse. We tend to say things we might regret later or lash out unnecessarily over trivial matters. Consult a therapist who will help you figure out what to do when someone causes you emotional pain. You can process and work through your feelings with them, so that you can heal and move forward. It won’t be easy but it is needed.
Nandita says, “Even though you are emotionally hurt by another person, if you work on your feelings at the right time and take positive action, and set boundaries to heal the relationship, it is definitely possible to overcome the hurt and live a more positive and healthy life.” If you’re going through a similar situation, reach out to Bonobology’s panel of licensed and experienced therapists.
Remember that you don’t have to let the hurt define you. You can choose to heal in your own time and move on. Next up, let’s discuss what to say to someone who has hurt you emotionally.
Related Reading: Romantic Manipulation – 15 Things Disguised As Love
What To Say To Someone Who Hurt You Emotionally
If you thought we would help you come up with mean things to say to someone who hurt you, you are gravely mistaken, my friend. When we experience emotional pain, the first reaction, usually, is to lash out and hurt the person back. But doing so only leaves both of you feeling even worse, causing irreparable emotional damage to both parties. This isn’t going to solve the matter at hand, especially if that person is an inseparable part of your life. So, in such a situation, what to say to someone who hurt you emotionally?
Nandita explains, “Communicate in a calm manner. Do not lash out in anger or make accusatory statements in that moment. Set healthy boundaries if parting ways with this person is not an option. There are times when our spouse or partner makes us feel betrayed and shattered by their actions or words. That doesn’t mean this one incident would determine the validity of your relationship.”
Our expert tells you what to do when someone hurts you emotionally: “At times like this, you may need the emotional endurance to have compassion for someone who hurt you, and to be the bigger person. Don’t bring up past events or connect them to the present situation. Focus on the moment and the matter at hand. Focus on your feelings.”
1. Avoid making accusations
The first rule to follow when you confront someone who has made you feel hurt is to avoid making accusations. When you accuse someone of wrongful behavior, the first reaction is usually to turn defensive, turn the conversation into an argument, and eventually into a fight, if things get heated. All of this will not make someone realize they hurt you, in case that’s your motive. We get it, you’re still learning how to how to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally. But don’t make statements like:
- All you do is scream
- You always insult me
- You are the worst thing that ever happened to me
- You never seem to care about my feelings
Then how to make someone realize they hurt you? Talk to them about how you feel. Says this Reddit user, “When you do approach your partner, avoid evaluative statements like “You did this” or “You did that.” This disempowers you and creates a victim mindset. Instead, retain your power and dignity by identifying your feelings and informing your partner of what you are experiencing.”
Start your statements with ‘I’ when addressing the issue. For example, “I felt hurt when you used abusive language against me.” Make sure that you keep the focus on how you feel instead of judging them for being rude and insensitive. This removes the hostility from the conversation making it easier to arrive at a mutual understanding and create a safe space for you both in the relationship.
2. Avoid bringing up the past
This goes without saying. When you’re addressing a present hurt, the thought of bringing up a past hurtful incident, which has already been addressed, can be too tempting. But don’t fall into the trap. When you bring up the past hurt, the current pain becomes all the more difficult to bear. Moreover, the negative feelings of the past and present mixed together strengthen your bitterness and resentment toward this person, making it difficult to focus on the needs of the current situation.
Avoid saying things like:
- This is not the first time you have belittled my accomplishments. You implied that my first promotion was a fluke too. Are you jealous of my success?
- Last year, I wanted you to spend the holidays with me. But I guess your friends were more important. I was not your priority then. I am not your priority now
So, how to tell someone they hurt you without getting carried way by the memory of the previous conflicts? If you want to fix your relationship with someone who hurt your emotions, talk to them about the pain they caused you currently. Staying angry forever or rehashing the past will only mess things up even more. However, if this person has had a pattern of causing you pain, then you probably need to reconsider whether this relationship is worth saving or you should have ended things long ago.
Related Reading: 15 Questions To Ask To Rebuild Trust In a Relationship
3. What to say to someone who hurt you emotionally? Recognize your role in the matter
Nandita elaborates, “Sometimes a little self-reflection goes a long way in acquiring the much-needed perspective when someone you care for hurts you to the core. Suddenly, your whole life feels like a lie. Acknowledge your role in the matter. Understand what you did or did not do that might have contributed to that particular reaction from the person. Was there something you could have said so that things turned out differently?”
This is crucial if you want to improve and strengthen a relationship with someone who hurt you emotionally. Before you speak to them, analyze and recognize the part you played in the whole matter. It is possible that you misunderstood them or said something you shouldn’t have, and that compelled them to be rude. It doesn’t justify their actions but it definitely helps explain the situation. You could say:
- I’m sorry my actions hurt you and that I made you feel that way
- I apologize for my behavior. At the same time, I also believe that what you did/said was wrong
- I admit I made a mistake and am sorry. Is that why you said <insert the hurtful remark>?
At times, people tend to deflect the blame and make it seem like it was all your fault. Apologize for your mistake but make it clear that you aren’t taking the blame for what ‘they’ did. Healthy boundaries and healthy communication are the right ways to go when you’re learning how to get over hurt feelings. Don’t fall into the trap of accepting false guilt.
4. Don’t react. Respond
This requires a lot of self-control because reacting to what they say will only make the situation worse. The conversation will be over before it even starts. Take a pause before replying even though your gut instinct might prompt you otherwise. Take a deep breath and think about your response instead of letting your emotions get the better of you. It is difficult but you need to stay calm and level-headed when responding to someone who hurt you emotionally.
Nandita explains, “Try your best to not react to the situation. If someone is in the process of saying something hurtful or is behaving in a way that is hurting you, avoid reacting in the same way as them. Try to feel grounded and remain calm when they tell you their side of the story. It puts you in control of the situation and ensures a better outcome.”
The best way to deal with this is to have a conciliatory and accepting attitude. It doesn’t mean that you agree with what they’re saying. At the end of the day, you are there to mend things and make your relationship work and not ruin the equation you have with each other.
5. Listen to their side of the story
Nandita explains what to do when someone hurts you emotionally, “As much as it is important to convey what you feel, it is also necessary that you listen to what the other person has to say. Listen to them and accept what they are saying without judgment. It is only when you are an active listener that you will be able to overcome the feeling of hurt and find solutions to the problem.”
When you are talking to someone who hurt your emotions, remember that it is possible that you weren’t the source of their anger and that it was something else that upset them. It doesn’t justify what they did but they deserve a chance at the table. After all, having a conversation is a two-way street.
We understand that it’s not easy showing compassion for someone who hurt you. You might not like what they say, but if you want them to listen to your thoughts and feelings, you also need to be willing to listen to theirs. You need to give them a chance to share their perspective on the whole situation. Once you’ve heard their side, it’ll put you in a better place to respond to their thoughts.
Let’s try to understand how to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally. You can start the conversation with:
- I care about you and our relationship, which is why I want to resolve this conflict
- You are important to me. That’s why I want to talk to you so that we can move past this
- I want to openly discuss this with you so that we can understand each other better
- I respect and care about you a lot. I want to talk about this so that we can avoid such a situation in the future
Such statements will show them that you care about them and the relationship, and encourage them to open up and resolve the situation at hand.
Related Reading: What To Say To Someone Who Has Betrayed You?
6. How do you make someone realize they hurt you? Tell them in brief what felt disrespectful
If this person is worth keeping around for the long term, the best thing would be to tell them what hurt you. Don’t go into long explanations or details of what happened. Don’t defend them by saying, “I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.” Identify the feelings their actions triggered. They might try to interrupt you. In that case, tell them politely that you definitely want to hear their thoughts on the matter, but you would like to be heard first.
You could say something like:
- When you made this statement, I felt humiliated and hurt
- When I was trying to explain my point of view, you used abusive language and that really hurt me
- When I shared my problem with you, you made me feel like it was all my fault and that I brought all the trouble upon myself
Nandita shares her insights on how to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally, “When you feel you’re in control, tell the other person about your feelings. Do not lash out or have a major showdown because it will make things worse. Say that you were hurt by what they said or did to you. But don’t hit below the belt. Your way of communication is important.”
7. Give up the need to be right or to defend your stance
Another important tip on what to say to someone who hurt you emotionally: Resist the urge to defend yourself or prove that you are right. When someone has hurt you deeply, there is a tendency to become defensive and try to prove that the other person is in the wrong. Avoid doing that. Offer your point of view and remove any hostility or defensiveness that exists in your tone. Agree to disagree.
8. Take breaks if you need to when you’re speaking to someone who hurt you emotionally
Having a conversation with someone who hurt your emotions can be quite an intense and exhausting experience. This is exactly why you should never hesitate to take a break if it gets too much for you to handle. Unless you feel grounded and composed, you won’t be able to convey your emotional turmoil to the other person. If the conversation isn’t going well, put it on hold for a while. Explain to the other person that you need a break and your reason for wanting one. You could say:
- I want to resolve the issue between us but, at the moment, this conversation is getting too overwhelming for me and, I guess, for you too. Can we please take a break and come back to it when we’re both ready?
- This conversation is making me feel too emotional and exhausted. How about we take a half-an-hour break and then resume?
- This conversation is getting too intense and I agree that we shouldn’t continue talking. But I want to resolve the matter instead of letting it drag for long. Are you free to talk about it tomorrow?
It is crucial that you come back to the conversation instead of letting it hang over your head. If you don’t resolve it soon, it’ll become harder to get back to it later. This Reddit user says, “If I’m not ready to give equal space to their feelings, I politely tell them I’m a little overwhelmed right now and need space but I will reach out to them when I feel better. Then, when I’ve collected myself, I try to approach the situation with curiosity.”
9. Decide what you want to do about the relationship
It is not always necessary to mend the relationship. When someone hurts your feelings and doesn’t care, it is best to put an end to that dynamic instead of constantly being at the receiving end of hurt. All you can do is explain to them that they’ve hurt you and since they’re not willing to acknowledge or accept that they were wrong, tell them that you may need to reconsider your relationship.
On how to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally, this Reddit user has the answer: “Communicate that their habits hurt you and you don’t want to be around them … People have bad habits for many reasons. It’s good that they get the feedback mechanism that they are doing something consistently that hurts. I believe (and you can debate this) that most humans who hurt are not evil, but so scared or angry that they don’t know what else to do.”
Thinking about what to say to someone who hurt you emotionally? Try these:
- I am done tolerating the disrespect for days on end and I think it will be best for both of us to go our separate ways
- To be honest, at this moment, I am not feeling extremely hopeful about the future of this relationship. Unless you realize the emotional damage you have caused me and make some effort to heal our bond, I would like to take a step back and rethink the whole situation
- I hope you understand that you have hurt me bad this time even though it was unintentional on your end. We both know we can’t do without each other. So, how about we do something to reconnect after this big fight and feel close again?
However, before you tell them that, make sure to not expect too much. If they don’t think they’re wrong, they won’t apologize, which is why focus only on your feelings and decisions when setting boundaries. Even if they do apologize, remember that you don’t have to forgive them or keep them in your life. If you think they are toxic and their behavior is too much to handle, step away from the relationship. Or stay friends – it’s completely up to you.
Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good
10. Tell them what you would like them to do differently
Once you’ve addressed the problem and gotten your thoughts and feelings off your chest, try to find a solution so that such a situation doesn’t arise again. If you’re still keen on keeping the relationship, tell the person what you would like them to do differently in the future and explain your reasons behind it. Set boundaries and make sure the other person respects you and your limitations. Let them know they are important to you and that you still care about them, but there are certain lines they cannot cross.
What to do when someone hurts you emotionally? Frame your concerns this way:
- I think if we stop pointing out each other’s mistakes constantly and stop fighting over every little thing, we will have our peace of mind back
- I would be really comfortable if you didn’t raise your voice while discussing a problem we are both trying to solve. It makes it easier for me to keep an open mind about your concerns
- You should realize that saying curse words in the middle of a fight is extremely disrespectful to me. Can you stop doing that?
In a relationship, it is obvious that the people involved will get on each other’s nerves every now and then. There will be times when both parties will say hurtful things to each other. When such a situation arises, it is easy to lash out. But keeping the conversation civil when you are upset and hurt will help mend the relationship. If not mend, it’ll at least give you closure.
5 Things To Keep In Mind While Communicating
Improper communication is one of the major reasons for the downfall of a relationship. When someone has hurt you deeply and you intend to confront them about it, make sure that you talk to them in the right way. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while communicating with the person who hurt you emotionally:
1. Understand the cause of the hurt
Before figuring out what to say to someone who hurt you emotionally, think about what happened and try to understand why you are hurting. Remember that hurt is not always intentional. Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Maybe they didn’t realize that it would affect you so much. Accepting this might help you deal with the situation better.
“After you’ve accepted your feelings and are in a better mental space, try to understand these things: What was it about the other person that hurt you? Was it their words, actions, or the way they behaved or did not behave? Were you expecting them to behave in a certain manner? Ask yourself why you feel the way you do,” says Nandita.
Look at the situation in an objective manner and trust your gut instincts. When you’re hurt, it can be easy and tempting to dig up past hurts and bring them up in the present situation. The current hurt can trigger the grief of the past and let loose emotions that can be too overwhelming to manage. However, you have to remain focused on the current situation so you can process the hurt and control the anger you’re experiencing.
2. Think about what you want to say
After you’ve understood and processed all the hurt and anger, organize your thoughts carefully and plan your response. It can be a difficult experience confronting or talking to someone who hurt you because there’s a high possibility that you miss the point or approach the conversation in the wrong way, or end up using words that you might regret later.
This Reddit user explains how to deal with emotional pain in a relationship, “If you feel the need to immediately distance yourself, use that time to collect your thoughts, and identify your feelings so that you can address the issue with your partner.” Therefore, think about what you want to say and how you want to approach the conversation to avoid letting intense emotions get the better of you.
Related Reading: Emotional Baggage – Causes, Signs, And Ways To Cope
3. What to do when someone hurts you emotionally? Be compassionate
This is one of the most important tips to keep in mind while communicating with someone who hurt you. Sometimes, it so happens that the person who has hurt you has done so because they are in pain themselves. While this doesn’t justify the hurt they’ve caused you and doesn’t mean that you should let them get away with this behavior, it helps understand them better.
It is important to make someone realize they hurt you and to do that, you need to talk to them with compassion. Don’t go in with the aim to scream and shut them down. Don’t look up hurtful words to say to someone who hurt you. Try to understand where they’re coming from. The idea is to communicate in a civil manner, put your thoughts and feelings on the table, listen to their side of the story, and then arrive at an amicable solution.
“The other person might be going through a tough time. There could be other factors responsible for their behavior. There has to be a reason — whether it is valid or not is to be decided later. Once you acknowledge that, it becomes easier to show compassion and communicate in a way that can mend the relationship,” Nandita explains.
4. Set your personal limits
Not all relationships last forever. One of the important things to keep in mind while talking to the person who hurt you is that you don’t need to go back to how things were before the incident. Instead, you should ensure that you are not forced into such a situation again. And for the same reason, it’s important you set boundaries or personal limits to create a safe space in the relationship for yourself. Our tips on how to deal with emotional pain in a relationship:
- Analyze and decide what behavioral patterns of the person you’re willing to accept and what is unacceptable
- Understand your own needs and whether you’re ready to let go of the hurt and move forward
- Understand whether you’re ready to forgive them and, if you are, does that mean you still want to have a relationship with them?
- Try to listen to what your gut is telling you and decide your boundaries before you approach the person who hurt you
Related Reading: 20 Proven Ways To Make Him Feel Guilty For Hurting You
5. Know that being hurt does not take away your personal happiness
Even though you feel betrayed and heartbroken at the moment and everything seems bleak, don’t let the hurt become a part of your identity. Don’t let it determine your happiness and attitude in life. You don’t have to wallow in your hurt forever, and it is possible to move on. It is possible to forgive the person and yourself for whatever happened and move past it. So, prioritize self-care every day, pick yourself up, and eventually, let go.
- When someone has hurt you deeply, sit back and process the hurt and anger. Allow yourself to feel the emotions you’re going through
- What to do when someone hurts you emotionally? Find healthy ways of venting — talk to your loved ones, journal, rant, etc.
- Talk to the person who hurt you. Respond but don’t react. And don’t bring up the past or play the blame game
- Explain what hurt you and then listen to their side of the story
- Remember to practice compassion when communicating with the person who hurt you
When you experience emotional pain, many might tell you to just let go and forget about it. Understand that it is not a valid or healthy solution. The festering hurt will eat away at your peace of mind and lead to you expressing your emotions in toxic ways. You need to process your hurt and anger, talk to the person about it, learn to heal, and find your own comfort and happiness.
What did you think of our tips on how to deal with emotional pain in a relationship? We hope they brought you a little clarity and peace. We are rooting for you as you plan your next steps.
Yes. If someone has hurt you deeply, you should talk to them about it. If you don’t, you’re sending the message that it is okay to treat you the way they did. And that is not a healthy foundation for a relationship. You need to respect yourself first and understand that you do not deserve to be treated in such a manner.
One of the first things to do when someone hurts you and doesn’t care is to understand the pain. Process the hurt and anger. Allow yourself to feel what you’re going through and find healthy ways of expressing your emotions. Also, try to see things from the perspective of the person who hurt you. It might help deal with the situation better. In the process, don’t forget to focus on your happiness and well-being. Seek professional help if needed.
We must understand that no one is perfect and, sometimes, our own expectations contribute to how we are feeling. When you see things from their perspective and acknowledge your role in the matter, it becomes easier to empathize with the person who hurt you. Sometimes, you may not be the source of their anger or it could have just been a misunderstanding. In such situations, learn to be compassionate and forgiving.