Innocent things can hurt our feelings, but we have to move on. These tips for overcoming hurt feelings will help you learn how to deal with accidental and intentional hurts in relationships.
If you suspect or know deep down that your partner is deliberately hurting you – such as in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship – read The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond by Patricia Evans.
She offers strategies, sample scripts, and action plans designed to help you deal with different kinds of hurt caused by an abusive partner. She also discusses the rise in verbal abuse, and outlines the Levels of Abuse – from subtle, insidious put-downs that can erode your self-esteem to full-out tantrums of name-calling, screaming, and threatening that can escalate into physical abuse.
Overcoming Hurt Feelings
Learning why we hurt the ones we love is a good way to overcome hurt feelings. It’s important to remember that our partners don’t often set out to deliberate hurt us. Sometimes they simply act without thinking, and don’t realize how their behaviors and words affect other people. Your partner’s motivation for the action or words that hurt you might change how you deal with your feelings. If you don’t know why he acted the way he did, you might try talking to him about it. Find out what he was thinking – or if he was thinking anything in particular!
Acknowledge your hurt to yourself
Don’t ignore how you feel, or allow your feelings to explode in areas of your life that aren’t related to the hurt you feel. This is where the “Have a bad day at work, go home and kick the dog” cliché comes in. Sometimes we’re angry, depressed, or frustrated and we don’t know why – and it’s because we didn’t acknowledge our original hurt when it happened. We avoided the hurt and it grew and grew.
Overcoming hurt feelings that have been festering for days, months, or years is more difficult than dealing with them in the first place. But before you can deal with hurt, you need to acknowledge it.
Talk about your hurt feelings
You don’t need to blame your partner or the person who hurt your feelings, but you should seriously consider telling him how he hurt you. You might even communicate that you are taking ownership for overcoming your hurt feelings and that you know your hurt is your problem. The reason you’re talking about your hurt feelings is that you want your partner to understand what happened.
Talking about it might be difficult, but it’s far better than ignoring it or passively aggressively telling him that he hurt your feelings.
Identify patterns and plans
Do you find your feelings get hurt by the same people who do the same things? For instance, in Boundaries in Marriage there is an example of a couple who cycle through the same patterns of hurt feelings over and over – and they haven’t found ways to overcome the hurt. Their problem was that when they got busy as a family, the wife always felt imposed on and taken for granted. She took care of most of the details of their busy life, and her family didn’t seem to notice or appreciate her. As a result, her feelings were constantly hurt. Overcoming her hurt feelings became a constant issue for her and her family.
This is a difficult question to answer, but I’ll ask it anyway: How have your past hurts affected how you respond to relationship problems and issues today? For instance, I grew up neglected and in foster homes. I didn’t have a dad, and my mom was wasn’t really there for me emotionally or practically. I’ve recently noticed that I tend to hide behind my walls and withdraw when I’m hurt. That’s not an effective tip for overcoming hurt feelings – but the first step is seeing how your past affects your current ways of relating to your partner.
There is a big difference between overcoming hurt feelings because your boyfriend forgot to call, versus overcoming hurt feelings because your husband cheated or left you. If you’re facing a separation or divorce, read Coping With Confusion and Hurt When Your Husband Walks Out.
Get into “healing mode”
If you’re aware of a pattern of hurt in your life, it’s time to get help with it. Overcoming hurt feelings once and for all is a dream that’ll never happen – so I wouldn’t recommend striving to never get hurt! Rather, it’s important to pursue healing. And remember that healing patterns in your life that have existed for years or even decades can take time. Healing is possible, but Mother Nature sometimes works more slowly than we’d like.
These four tips on overcoming hurt feelings are based on information in Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It’s an excellent book for couples who want to build a strong marriage, whether they’ve been married for two or 22 years.
What are your thoughts on overcoming hurt feelings? Comments welcome below! I can’t offer advice, but sometimes it’s helpful to write your thoughts down.
Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious. – Phillips Brooks.