When People Hurt You: How to Deal with the Pain and Respond to Them

Getting hurt is an inevitable part of life. Even if you don’t want to hurt, expect it to happen. So how do you deal with the pain when people hurt you?

We all get hurt. We get a bruised ego from a mean comment online or when our partner forgets our anniversary. And when people hurt you, there are many ways to react to that. You can scream and cry. You can vent or shut down. But, how you respond to pain when people hurt you shows your true character.

The thing is, while we can’t control how we feel, we can always do something about how we respond. It shows true strength if you’re able to react calmly and rationally, even when people hurt you. Even if it’s easy to lash out and show your anger in several ways, there’s so much to be said when you do the complete opposite.

What do you do when people hurt you?

Before getting into how to react when people hurt you, think about what you currently do. The last time you felt hurt, how did you respond? Did you drink until you’re wasted or give them the cold shoulder? Did you take some time to cool down before reacting?

This is quite probably the hardest life skill to practice because when someone hurts us, the last thing we think of doing is behaving calmly and rationally. But you also have to ask yourself – what purpose does your anger serve? You often won’t think of a logical answer to that question.

Let’s say your partner lies to you about buying something you disagreed on. You would feel betrayed or disrespected. You would be upset, and you should be.

But, if you lash out at them or try to get revenge by doing the same to them, that doesn’t really do any good. That just extends the pain for both of you.

It is very tempting to give in to your emotions, especially when they are fresh from someone hurting you. But, that can often lead to regret and make things worse rather than better.

How do you properly deal with it when people hurt you?

Rather than immediately seeking revenge or acting out on your anger, the best thing to do is act calmly. This might be the hardest thing to learn, but acting on your impulses and emotions all the time isn’t wise either. Try to control your emotions first before you end up doing or saying something you’ll instantly regret.

This doesn’t mean repressing your emotions or changing them, but simply not acting on them right away. Try to think what’s the best way to properly deal with the situation when people hurt you.

Can what you feel be solved by anger, or can you simply talk things out without having to lash out or attack one another? More often than not, the latter is the wisest choice. 

What to do when people hurt you

When people hurt you, it sucks. You want to lash out. You may want to hurt them back. We are human and far from perfect.

But, knowing what to do when people hurt you so that the situation improves can help you in every aspect of your life. Whether a friend betrays you, a partner forgets something important, or a coworker steals your idea, knowing what to do when people hurt you will take you far. 

1. Breathe

The first thing you should do when someone hurts you is to breathe. Try to let go of the initial anger you feel. If you react immediately, not only could you potentially say something you’ll regret, but you won’t know how things could have worked out if you were calmer.

Breathing is often the last thing on our minds when someone hurts us, but it’s often necessary. Really, just take a moment to catch your breath and calm down. In the midst of being hurt by someone, your emotions are heightened.

Once you cool down, focus on how you really feel and make more rational decisions. Go for a walk, exercise, or even have a snack and then return to it. 

2. Think about it

Think about the situation at hand once you have taken time away from the initial shock of being hurt. Were you overreacting? Did someone hurt you directly or indirectly? Was this intentional? Consider all sides of what happened.

Are you only looking at this situation through eyes of pain and rage, or are you seeing it clearly? It’s important you ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. Because really, you’re only lying to yourself. Even if it’s difficult to admit your flaws, it’s crucial that you become self-aware when people hurt you.

3. Talk about it with someone else

it can be the most challenging thing to talk about your pain and frustration when people hurt you, but you have to let yourself be vulnerable.

This isn’t necessarily towards the person you’re angry at, but with people not involved in the situation. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you feel and what happened.

They may be able to offer advice or even another perspective on the situation. It can be annoying when friends don’t take our sides, but playing the devil’s advocate can actually be a lot more helpful in the long run. Really listen to what they’re trying to tell you without feeling offended or hurt if they speak honestly. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship – 16 steps to a better love]

4. Talk to them

Once you cool down and think about your feelings and the situation, talk to the person that hurt you. Let them know how what they did made you feel. Are you angry, sad, disappointed? Let them know what they can do to make it up to you. Do you need space and time or just an apology?

Being passive-aggressive where you pretend everything’s fine but act rudely towards them won’t do you any good. You have to be willing to communicate with them and talk about the situation rationally and calmly. 

5. Ask yourself if it is worth it

It is always important to be open and discuss the issue with them when people hurt you. That is how you keep the lines of communication open and prevent bitterness and resentment in relationships. But, also pick your battles. This person may have hurt you, but was it an honest mistake, or was it an intentional slight? Was it something worth fighting over?

You don’t have to make every issue something more significant than it actually was, especially if the problem was quite petty. So really assess if the reason you feel hurt is worth making a fuss over.

6. Is your trust broken?

When people hurt you, it can be in all sorts of ways. But, when people hurt you enough to break your trust, getting over it can be a lot more difficult. And in that case, let them know that your trust is broken, or else they will never know they need to regain it.

In a way, trust is like glass. When you break it, it’s going to take a lot of effort to mend it back to what it was *and sometimes, it’s not possible to fix*.

Is there anything they can do to gain your trust back, or do you just need time? Can you get over it at all? Is the trust gone for good? If what they did was really that bad that it’s impossible to trust them again, well, you have to let them know.

7. Can you forgive them?

Trust and forgiveness are two different things. Trust is vital in relationships and can be rebuilt over time. But forgiveness is something else. Even if the person that hurt you gains your trust back, if you can’t forgive them, that puts a constant strain on the relationship.

A lack of forgiveness leaves room for inequality and contempt. Forgiveness is not always easy to give, but if you can’t give it, moving on from this hurt will never happen.

No matter how much you care about them, you should never force yourself to forgive them if it’s just not possible. You should only do so when you’re emotionally and mentally ready, not because you feel obligated to.

8. Manage your reactions

You can’t control how you always feel, but you can control how you respond. It’s essential that you know how to manage your reactions accordingly when people hurt you. It’s easier said than done, but it’s necessary.

Even if you feel betrayed, angry, devastated, and hurt by what others did to you, there’s always a choice you can make on how you choose to react. If you lash out your emotions to others, will your situation change?

We’re guessing your answer is probably no. So you have to manage your reactions if you want to learn how to deal with the pain adequately.

9. Create space between them

Distance is something that can significantly help when others have hurt you, as you’ll never be able to heal from the hurt and pain if you’re always near them. Even if you care about them so much that it pains you to be apart from them, it’s necessary you do this for yourself.

It could do you a lot of good by changing your environment and creating space away from them. It’s not forever, but only until you heal from the pain they’ve caused in your life. There will always be a reminder of the pain as long as you keep seeing them.

10. Be kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself is the last thing you think of when people hurt you, but that’s precisely why you need to do so. You’re already hurt enough, so being hateful towards yourself will only do more damage to the situation you’re in.

If there’s anything that can counter all the anger and resentment you feel within, it’s kindness and compassion. It’s important to give yourself the care you need and treat yourself the way you would do to a friend.

11. Forgive yourself

Just as it’s important to forgive those who hurt you, the same goes for yourself. Regardless of who hurt us, we tend to spiral into self-blame when we’re hurt. So instead of dwelling on what you could’ve done differently, forgive yourself for not knowing better and use it as a learning opportunity.

Don’t dwell on how others have taken advantage of you or betrayed you but instead, forgive yourself and know what to do the next time around.

12. Be okay that they might not apologize

Closure is essential when people hurt you, and you just want to close this chapter of your life. However, you need to be okay with the fact that they might not say sorry, ever. Forgive them eventually, at least for your own sake.

Even without an apology, you need to be capable of moving on. It’s on them if they refuse to say sorry but you can’t wait forever for them to apologize. What if they never do? You’d be waiting for nothing, and building up a lot of resentment and anger as well. So just move forward with your life, with or without an apology.

13. Seek professional help

You’re not insane or weak for seeking professional help. If you really want to deal with the pain adequately and incorporate healthier coping mechanisms, seeking therapy or counseling can do you a lot of good.

It’s a great way to talk about your feelings of anger and resentment without judgment. Your therapist might even help you understand why you feel so angry and why you have trouble letting go of the grudges.

14. Move forward

If you found a way to forgive this person, move forward. When people hurt you, it is normal for lingering pain. But once you forgive them, the pain becomes dull and eventually disappears.

We want to keep dwelling on how others have wronged us and seek revenge in whatever way we can. But if you’re going to deal with it rationally, it’s best you move forward. Letting go of bad emotions when people hurt you shows you are a bigger person.

It shows you don’t hold grudges and lets people work harder in the future to make sure they don’t hurt you again. And most importantly, offering a second chance to those who hurt you and moving forward illustrates your maturity.

15. Learn from this experience

Take each and every one of these experiences with you into the future. Every time a person hurts you, there is something to be learned. Whether you become more tolerant or more insightful, it doesn’t create scar tissue but gives you strength each time you are hurt by someone.

There are several approaches to take when people hurt you.

For starters, you can choose to hold a grudge forever and be miserable. Or find a way to let go of all that anger and resentment in your heart.

As hard as it is, you need to be willing to be the bigger person and learn to let go at some point in time.

Now that you know what to do when people hurt you, take it into every one of your relationships and make them stronger. Remember, your pain doesn’t have to define you. 

Source: When People Hurt You: How to Deal with the Pain and Respond to Them

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