What To Say To Someone Who Hurt You Emotionally – A Complete Guide

what to say to someone who hurt you emotionally
Spread the love

We’ve all been hurt by the people we love at some point in our lives. Be it intentional or unintentional, we’ve all survived emotional hurt that might have scarred us for life. While some may choose to let it go, we think 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.

Keeping all the pain and negative feelings bottled up inside is only going to hurt you in the long run and also ruin your relationship with the person who hurt you, to the point of no return. It’ll leave you feeling bitter and resentful, which is why it is better to face the situation and deal with it in a healthy way. We spoke to psychologist Nandita Rambhia (MSc. in Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling, to understand what to do when someone has hurt you deeply and how and what to say to make someone realize they hurt you.

What To Do When Someone Has Hurt You Emotionally

Before figuring out what to say to someone who hurt your emotions, you need to understand what you are going through. You need to comfort yourself and figure out what you need. 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. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. Let the feelings wash over you and accept the hurt. When you accept and acknowledge, you will experience a shift in emotions – you could 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. Instead of sitting and wallowing for days or lashing out at others, express that hurt in the following ways:

  • 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

Process your hurt and figure out how to 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.

For more expert-backed insight, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. Click here.

3. Try to see things from the perspective of the person who hurt you emotionally

When we experience emotional pain, 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 thinking about the situation from their perspective. However, sometimes, a shift in that mindset can help. Nandita suggests that you “try to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view” if you want to deal with the hurt.

She explains, “When it comes to emotional hurt, more often than not, people don’t realize that their words and actions have had a terrible effect on their friend or partner. It is often unintentional, which is why you should initially give them the benefit of doubt.”

Newsletter Subscriber
Get your dose of relationship advice from Bonobology right in your inbox

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. Talk to them, give them a chance to explain themselves, understand their perspective, and let them know that their words/actions hurt you a lot emotionally.

4. Stop playing the victim or the 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. Yes, horrible things were said and done to you even though you weren’t at fault.

But Nandita says that feeling bad for 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 healing 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.

Related Reading: I Don’t Feel Loved: Reasons And What To Do About It

5. Focus on your happiness and well-being

When someone hurts your feelings and doesn’t care, you might want to isolate yourself and not do anything that you enjoy. Don’t do this. It is detrimental to your physical and mental well-being. Make a little room for some happiness amidst the gloom.

Nandita says, “You have to focus on yourself. It can be devastating and distressing to be hurt emotionally but you still have to focus on self-care. Try to follow your routine as much as possible. Don’t 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 things you do or positive activities you indulge in whenever you feel upset or you have some spare time on your hands. There’s so much you could do to uplift your mood and comfort yourself, like:

  • Watching the sunset
  • Traveling
  • Yoga and exercise
  • Taking a walk
  • Reading a great book
  • Taking an art class
  • Going out for a meal on your own or with your loved ones
  • Watching a movie
  • Playing your favorite sport

6. Practice self-compassion and forgiveness

When you’re hurt, it is easy to blame yourself even if you 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 learn to forgive yourself. Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with empathy and try to move on instead of submitting to misery.

Forgiving yourself for what happened and choosing to be at peace is any day better than being angry and disappointed with yourself. 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

One of the best things to do when someone has hurt you deeply is to seek professional help. When we are 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 on. 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, it is definitely possible to overcome the hurt and heal the relationship 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 and move on. Next up, let’s discuss what to say to someone who has hurt you emotionally.

make someone realize they hurt you

What To Say To Someone Who Hurt You Emotionally

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? Well, here are a few pointers that might help.

Nandita explains, “Communicate in a calm manner. Do not lash out in anger or make accusatory statements at that moment. 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 hurt your emotions 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. It will not make someone realize they hurt you, if that’s your motive behind these accusations. Therefore, don’t make statements like:

  • All you do is scream
  • You always insult me
  • You never seem to care about my feelings

Instead, 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 fix the relationship.

2. Avoid bringing up the past

This goes without saying. When you’re addressing a present hurt, the thought of bringing up the past 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 the person who hurt you, making it difficult to focus on the needs of the current situation.

If you want to mend your relationship with someone who hurt your emotions, talk to them about the pain they caused you currently. 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 you still want to be in such a relationship.

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, “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 would have 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 triggered them. 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, but I still believe it doesn’t justify your behavior

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. 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. 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. Always respond in a calm manner when they tell you their side of the story.” It puts you in control of the situation and ensures a better outcome.

It is better to have a conciliatory and accepting attitude in such situations. 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 says, “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 triggered 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.

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.

6. Make someone realize they hurt you by telling them in brief what felt disrespectful

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 says, “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 is to 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. 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 heads. 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.”

Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good

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 might want to reconsider your relationship.

This Reddit user explains, “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.”

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.

10. What to say to someone who hurt you emotionally – 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. Let them know they are important to you and that you still care about them, but there are certain boundaries they cannot cross.

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.

Stories about suffering and healing and more

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 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 or control. 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, “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.

3. 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. 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. You could try showing compassion by saying:

  • I care about you and our relationship, which is why I want to resolve this conflict
  • You are important to me and, therefore, 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, which is why 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 solve the situation at hand. “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.

Related Reading: 20 Proven Ways To Make Him Feel Guilty For Hurting You

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, which is why setting boundaries or personal limits is imperative.

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 on. Understand whether you’re ready to forgive them and, if you are, does that mean you still want to keep a relationship with them? Decide your boundaries before you approach the person who hurt you.

5. Know that being hurt does not take away your personal happiness

Don’t let the hurt become a part of your identity and determine your happiness and attitude in life. You don’t have to wallow in your hurt forever. You can let go of it and move on. It is possible to forgive the person and yourself for whatever happened and move past it. Choose to forgive yourself, pick yourself up, and let go.

Key Pointers

  • When someone has hurt you deeply, sit back and process the hurt and anger. Allow yourself to feel the emotions you’re going through
  • Find healthy ways of venting – talk to your loved ones, journal, rant, etc.
  • Explain what hurt you and then listen to their side of the story
  • Talk to the person who hurt you. Respond but don’t react, don’t bring up the past or play the blame game
  • 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. We hope the above tips help.


1. Should I tell someone they hurt my feelings?

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 in 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.

2. What do you do when someone hurts you and doesn’t care?

One of the first things to do when someone hurts you and doesn’t care is to understand the pain and 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.

3. How do you empathize with someone who hurt you?

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.

Making Peace With Your Past – 13 Wise Tips

9 Signs You Have Serious Communication Issues In Your Relationship

19 Examples Of Healthy Boundaries In Relationships

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.