Getting your feelings hurt by the people you love is just something you can’t avoid.
But the thing is, although they may have hurt you, they’re someone you consider special so a part of you still wants to save the relationship… and this is why it’s difficult.
Here are 18 important tips to keep in mind when dealing with someone who hurt you emotionally.
1) Distance yourself to process your feelings
The worst thing you can do after someone has hurt you emotionally is to react immediately.
You need to give yourself time to cool your head off and process your feelings. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing or saying something you’ll regret.
For that same reason, you also need to have some distance between you and the person who has hurt you. All the time in the world won’t help you cool off if you’re near each other.
No matter how tempting it may be, try to walk away as calmly as possible.
They cheated on you? Let them talk…but then walk away.
They told someone about your secret? Tell them you’re aware of what they did…and then walk away.
Don’t do this to guilt-trip them so they’ll chase you and beg for your forgiveness. Do this because it’s a necessary step for you to recover.
2) Care for your body
In times of great distress, it’s essential that you take care of yourself. Sometimes we forget to eat because all we want to do is cry. But this isn’t just bad for our bodies, it can be bad for our sense of judgment, too.
Caring for your body helps you handle your emotions better. And that means getting enough nutrients, sleep, and getting your body moving.
Exercise makes your body release endorphins, which are chemicals that help keep you happy. This is why people suffering from depression are often told to exercise. And besides, there’s just something cathartic about hitting a punching bag.
Rest, on the other hand, helps your mind catch up to what you’ve been going through and process the strong emotions you’ve been suppressing while you’re awake. So when it feels like you just can’t keep going, grab a pillow and sleep it off.
Doing all these can help you keep your mood up and your head clear—both of which are important in your situation.
3) Understand that your feelings are valid
Either way, it’s important that you defend yourself against this. Emotions are irrational by nature, and you shouldn’t let yourself be carried away by them.
But even then, you should keep in mind that your feelings are valid and that nobody has a right to dictate how you should feel.
If they tell you you’re just being highly sensitive, consider that possibility but don’t let them negate your feelings. After all, you can be sensitive and they can still be at fault.
4) Don’t play the blame game
They might be tempted to blame whatever happened on you.
They might say that you aren’t doing enough, or that you did something that forced them to act the way they did. You might also be tempted to blame them back in return.
You should avoid this!
Don’t get stuck playing the blame game, because that will only lead to things getting worse for everyone involved. Remember that when people say something like “look at what you made me do!”, whatever they did was something they chose to do.
Be the bigger person and eject yourself from drama. Gather your thoughts for now so you can communicate them well later.
You’re adults, not kids pointing fingers at each other.
If they blame you, don’t indulge.
If you feel the need to blame them, get out of the room and distract yourself. It’s a total waste of time.
5) Think about how you may have contributed
Just because you shouldn’t play the blame game, however, doesn’t mean that you should ignore the possibility that you may have made the situation worse.
During your argument, did you raise your voice, get argumentative, or bring up topics that should have been set aside?
Let’s say that someone threw a glass at your car because you yelled at them for being drunk and standing in the middle of the road. It might have been their decision to throw something at your car, and to be drunk, but things wouldn’t have been so bad if only you didn’t shout at them.
Aside from that, think back of how you may have contributed to them actually doing the thing that hurt you.
Did you neglect them for so long? Were you critical and arrogant towards them? Surely, you also have some flaws.
Give it some thought and don’t let your pride get in the way of your self-reflection.
6) Write to reflect
Writing about your problems is a simple yet effective way to make it easier for you to grasp and process them.
Grab a piece of paper or turn on your laptop, then write about what happened. Then when you’ve done that, describe the things they have done and said that contributed to you feeling this way.
Did they keep on ghosting you on dates?
Did their big mouth get them to share too many personal secrets of yours?
If you feel it is even remotely relevant, write it down. You’re free. Don’t filter yourself.
Once you’re done, read what you’ve written. It’s easier to grasp your feelings when you’re looking at them instead of drowning in them.
7) Try to truly understand the situation
Nobody does anything without reason.
It can be a bottled up emotion finally bursting to the surface, a stressful day getting to their head, or rumors and hearsay pushing them to all the wrong conclusions.
Trying to figure out the reason for the situation—which can sometimes, but not always, be as simple as asking them about it—can help you process the situation better and figure out how you want to deal with it.
If they deliberately betrayed you, it can be quite difficult to find any reason other than their selfishness and lack of concern for others. But you don’t have to forgive them. All you have to do is understand the situation and analyze from all corners.
While doing this, it helps to treat it like you’re an outsider, perhaps like a scientist trying to examine a specimen under a microscope.
Remove your feelings and try to see things as objectively as possible. Your goal is not to empathize with someone who’s hurt you because it’s too big of a task. The goal is simply to see things more clearly.
8) Think about their history
Having your emotions hurt by someone once or twice is something that you can perhaps assume to be honest mistakes worth forgiving. But when it’s something that has happened over and over, you should be careful because there’s a chance that you’re stuck in an abusive relationship.
Because of that, it’s very important that you take the time to really think about how they have treated you in the past.
Try to see if there’s a pattern to the emotional hurt you’ve been receiving, and how long it’s been going on.
Don’t think that it’s just the big things that matter either. Even small betrayals, when they come often enough, come together to create big gaping wounds in your heart. There’s such a thing as death by a thousand cuts, after all.
9) Think about what they mean to you
When you have calmed down and had the time to process your emotions, think about what they mean to you.
Are they someone you truly love?
Do you think they’re really good people to the core and what they did to you was just out of character?
If you’ve been friends for decades, maybe it’s time to look at who they are now and not get nostalgic of the past version of them. Maybe that person you used to love is not the same person you have now.
Assuming they don’t ever change, are they worth the pain they may bring to your life?
This won’t automatically lead you to clarity, of course. But it could help to think about who they are and what they truly mean to you right now and in your future. Some people and some relationships are still worth fighting for.
10) Get a second opinion
Never underestimate the importance of having another perspective on the issue.
You can’t be completely objective no matter how hard you try and, while other people aren’t necessarily going to be objective either, they can at least maybe see something that you can never see no matter how much self-reflection you do.
But do be careful. Choose someone who’s truly sensible. Tell them you really need sound advice, and not just comfort. Tell them that it’s okay if they will not “side” with you because you really want the truth.
While it’s tempting to talk to friends and family about your issues, you must be very careful that no gossip will ever make its way back to the person who had hurt you, or otherwise you’ll end up making things even worse.
It is for this reason that a counsellor—a professional, bound to an oath of confidentiality—is your best option, if not necessarily the cheapest one.
11) Focus on yourself
Selflessness is good, but it’s a trait that’s all-too-often abused.
People who inflict emotional abuse on others like to take advantage of their kindness and generosity.
It’s also frustratingly common in love. It’s not unusual to hear of guys who would abuse and control their partners to the point where she wants to leave… but can’t, because when she tries to, he would threaten to hurt himself.
There’s a point where you should put your foot down and focus on yourself.
You don’t have to be the more understanding one. You’re dealing with adults, not kids who are still struggling to figure out what’s right and wrong.
Ask yourself a simple question. Will keeping them in your life make you happier?
If the answer is yes even if they hurt you now, then go ahead and try to give your relationship another shot. If the answer is one big no, then you’re not obligated to be kind to them. You’re not Mother Theresa.
12) Let go of anger
It’s incredibly tempting to fume and fantasize about revenge when you’ve been hurt. That anger is only natural, and it would in fact be concerning if you feel absolutely nothing after a painful incident. But you shouldn’t let that anger consume you.
Think about it this way. Who’s the one hurting when you’re stuck thinking about the hundred different ways you can take revenge? You, of course.
They’re living rent-free in your head when the thought of them pains you, while they on the other hand probably aren’t even thinking about it.
Look. They’ve already hurt you, don’t let them do it twice by staying angry.
It’s just that much more productive and healthy for you to set aside your anger. This isn’t going to be easy, but a good start would be catching yourself whenever you get angry, and instead trying to think about it, distract yourself.
Then read up on tips on how to handle anger better. It’s a skill we all must learn to lead a stress-free life.
13) Try to talk over it
Any kind of relationship needs good communication. They say that any problem can be solved by simply talking.
Whether your decision is to leave them, or to try to fix the problem with them, one of the most important things you can do is to talk it over. But do so only when you have calmed down and have come to terms with your feelings.
Try to talk to them about what they have been making you feel. About what it is that they’ve been doing that you don’t like, how, and what it is that you’d like to see changed… if you still want to give them a chance. Try to negotiate then and find a middle ground that makes you both happy.
Do stay calm, and to avoid throwing accusations at them. If tempers start flaring, then perhaps you can try talking again at a later date.
14) Don’t expect anything
It can be tempting to think that, once you’ve figured out the problems, you can just talk about it and everything is going to be fine.
Sadly, you’re going to have to put those expectations down.
While it’s good to hope for success, you should also drop any expectations you may have.
When you approach them to have another talk, don’t expect that they’ll say they’re sorry. When you decide to give them another chance, don’t expect that they won’t hurt you again.
This way it will be easier to accept failure as it comes, and every success becomes a pleasant surprise.
15) Don’t force a reconciliation
The ideal resolution to any conflict would be talking things through and working for a compromise. But sometimes it just isn’t worth it.
Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses instead of forcing a reconciliation that they don’t want, or one that would be incredibly unfair for you.
They can apologize as much as they want for any mistakes they might have made, but you’re not obligated to accept their apologies just because they gave them.
In the same vein, you can’t force them to apologize for something that they just aren’t willing to apologize for.
Sometimes reconciliation is just impossible, and that’s fine. Don’t force yourself, don’t force them.
16) Be ready to forget them
This might sound like a drastic measure and, honestly, it is…but it’s the best approach if you still have negative feelings towards each other. If what they did is truly hurtful to you and you just can’t see them getting better anytime soon, then it’s much better for you to cut your losses.
Otherwise, you’ll only end up trapped in a toxic relationship.
But hey, it doesn’t mean you’ll close your door forever. In fact, forgetting them now can actually be good for your relationship years from now. You can’t gain good insights and grow if you’re still intertwined. You have to cut the cord.
Try to stop yourself every time they cross your mind. Try to stay away from everything that reminds you of them for a while. Stay away from old photos, the places you used to hang out, meeting common friends.
Do the things that can help you forget them. You’ll meet again once you’ve become better versions of yourselves. Who knows, your relationship later will become stronger because you ended things.
17) Turn the experience into a lesson
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… or at least it should.
Simply reflecting on what you have gone through isn’t enough if you simply decide to forgive and forget, thinking that it won’t happen again.
Think about what has brought things to this point, see what is within your ability to avoid in the future, and remember those things often.
As an example, maybe one of your flaws was that you kept minimizing their feelings. You thought they’re just being needy! Now you know what you should improve in yourself so your relationship will work.
And if you both decided to move on, now you know that next time you’re in a relationship, you have to nurture your partner and try to meet their needs…or better yet, find a partner who’s not as needy.
18) Don’t let the experience make you jaded
Gleaning lessons and learning from the experience is a good thing, but at the same time you should remember to not let it get to you and make you jaded.
There are people who get hurt by their partners and go around yelling “all men/women are cheaters” and it’s just unfortunate.
They got hurt and, instead of placing the blame on the person who hurt them, they blame it on their sex, societal status, or even nationality. They would even vow not to fall in love again.
But people don’t always fit into these nice little boxes that a jaded person imagines they do. Sure, some men cheat, as do women. But some is not all, and by thinking this way they’re writing off so many good people they could have become friends with.
Don’t be afraid to start friendships and relationships again just because one or two or five failed. Every person is different, that you can be sure of!
Keep in mind that all people are flawed—even you. And the closer we are to each other, the more obvious our flaws become.
This is the reason we hurt and get hurt by the ones we love the most.
Whatever conclusion you might arrive at, keep in mind that you and your feelings matter. It won’t be easy, and sometimes you’ll have to let go, but trust your gut and your heart.
Relationships come and go. In this world, you’re your best ally. Think of what’s best for you even if it might be difficult or painful for now. One day, things will hurt less and less and you’ll be able to see that things happen for a reason—especially the hurtful ones.
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