How to Deal With Someone Who Hurt You Emotionally (40+ Ways to Cope)

There’s nothing more frustrating than being hurt by someone you care about. You keep hoping that things will change, but they never do.

It can be tough to move on from the experience and get your life back on track, but thankfully, there are things you can do to make the healing process easier.

According to experts, here are the best ways to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally, along with ways to move on from the pain:

Bethany Webb, LCSW-C

Bethany Webb

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Grounded Roots Therapy and Consulting, LLC

Someone in your life has hurt you emotionally. You are left feeling hurt, confused, and alone. If this hurt came from someone close to you in your life, you might also feel betrayed.

So now what? What do you do? There isn’t one simple answer to this question, but let’s think about some different scenarios and options:

Communicate your feelings to a trusted loved one

Maybe this is a trusted person in your life who has hurt you. This is out of character for this person. What do you do?

Let’s start with history. This is a great opportunity for open and healthy communication with this person about how you feel. This person has not harmed you in this way before, and you typically feel safe sharing with this person.

So if you have decided this person is safe to share your feelings with, you want to start by asking this person if they are open to a conversation about what has happened.

If so, when and where would be a good time for them? For example, “Would you be open to having a conversation with me about lunch yesterday? If so, when would be a good time for you, and where would you like to meet up?”

As important as it is for you to feel safe and ready for this conversation, if you want to have a productive conversation, you want the other person involved to feel safe and prepared as well.

Next, we want to start the conversation with a good old fashioned I statement, “I felt… when you….” Why is this important?

Starting a statement with “I” rather than “You” can feel safer and more disarming to the person you are speaking with because it comes off as less accusatory, and it is clear what you are discussing.

Saying to someone, “I felt sad and embarrassed when you made a joke about what I said in our group of friends,” rather than “You embarrassed me in front of all of those people,” comes off a bit differently, doesn’t it? And it is far more clear.

Another important step in this conversation is to pause and be open to hearing the other person’s reaction to what you have shared.

Ideally, this is a space for this person to recognize your feelings, express an apology, or share how they felt or misread the situation. The goal of this option is to mend the relationship and be heard.

Hopefully, if this person is a trusted person in your life, this was a misunderstanding, and this healthy communication ends up strengthening the trust between the two of you and makes for a stronger relationship.

Set a boundary with a repeat offender in your life

Your friend is constantly crossing your boundaries. They have a history of hurting you and repeatedly do so even after you have communicated your feelings with them. It sounds like it is time to set a firm boundary with this person.

The thing about firm boundaries is you have to be ready to enforce them.

An example might be: “Jill, yesterday at lunch, you made fun of something I said in front of our friends. I have told you this hurts my feelings. Next time you do this, I will take a break from this friendship and will not be going to lunch with you.”

This gives this person a chance to change their behavior but also sets a clear expectation for this person of what will happen if change does not happen. This is where it is very important for you to uphold this boundary.

If next week at lunch Jill makes fun of you in front of your friends again, you have to be willing to take a break from that friendship; otherwise, setting this boundary serves no purpose.

Related: How to Deal With Someone Who Doesn’t Respect Boundaries

You should be ready for this person to no longer be in your life

This option is so tough, but unfortunately will be a reality for most of us at some point during our lives. Sometimes having someone in our lives is so harmful to our well-being that we cannot continue that relationship.

So if you have made it to this realization, what do you do? Our first reaction might be revenge or, “I need them to know how horrible of a person they are and how much they hurt me.”

I hear you, and I feel that (big but here). How does that really serve you? How does that benefit your well-being? If we are all answering honestly here, it doesn’t, and sometimes it will further harm your well-being.

So we know what is not helpful in this situation, but what is? This looks like honoring your experience and feelings by acknowledging the harm this person has caused you and taking loving action for yourself by exiting that relationship.

This can be done in many ways, but I always err on the side of being clear and concise. An example might be saying to this person, “Right now, I am no longer available for this relationship. I wish you the best. I will now be discontinuing contact.”

Dealing with hurt and conflict in any relationship is not easy. This is your reminder that you are not alone and healthier relationships are soon to come.

Related: How to Deal With Hurt Feelings in a Relationship

Iqbal Ahmad

Iqbal Ahmad

Founder and CEO, Britannia School of Academics

As an educationalist who is responsible for training and mentoring teaching professionals, I often get to discuss how to respond to the feeling of being hurt.

I will share some tips below that have worked well for me:

Understand that it will happen

This is more like a priming strategy than a response strategy. As professionals, we should all anticipate instances where people will respond poorly to us for all kinds of reasons.

Anticipating that it will happen and having thought through how we would handle the situation will make it less shocking when it does, and we are likely to react to the situation more strategically than impulsively.

This is not to say that we should be stressed all the time about someone possibly hurting us; it’s just that we should understand that this is part of professional life, and we will need to be prepared to handle any possible instance wisely.

The first few moments after the “hurt” incident are very important

This one comes from my own experiences. Looking back, I have reacted to the same situation differently, and I noted that my immediate response set the tone for what followed.

For example, I was once teaching a session where a student misbehaved, and I asked the student to leave the class, or I would leave. He refused to leave, so I left the class. My colleagues convinced the student in question to leave after a lot of effort, after which I returned to the class.

However, I did not have a good feeling about the entire situation, and I never repaired my relationship with that student. On a separate occasion, I felt hurt by a remark from a student and decided to ignore it and kept on with the lecture.

Delay your response

During the break, I had a word with the student, who apologized and explained how she got off the wrong side of the bed and unintentionally took it all out on me. It was all fine, and we actually happened to have an improved working relationship following that incident.

Both instances started off the same, but my immediate response dictated how things moved forward.

In the first situation, my impulsive reaction meant that I had no option to change path — either the student or I would leave the room once I had made the statement. In the second, however, I had more time to think, and by delaying my response, I was able to act wisely.

Therefore, my advice will be to stay in control and delay your response. You are very unlikely to regret a professional response than an impulsive response full of rage.

Understand the situation and act appropriately

Delaying your response will also give you time to think about what just happened. Chances are that you either misunderstood the situation or your brain reacted disproportionately to the action or comment, even if it was meant to hurt.

Nobel Prize winner psychologist Daniel Kahneman has devoted his life to explaining how our brain tricks us into forming opinions intuitively that are often irrational and based on bias. However, we will only stand a chance to overcome that bias if we take time to think of why the person acted in the way they did.

For example, a good friend did not turn up for a coffee. To make it worse, you had canceled an important meeting to be there. You are trying to reach the friend, but he is not taking the calls. You are about to leave the coffee shop and have prepared a nasty message on your phone that you are about to send.

As Kahneman would say, your brain has quickly summoned memories of that friend when they have let you down in the past as well, and perhaps memories when you did not let them down.

This unfair and biased comparison will mean that you feel hurt, and you must respond to this feeling of hurt by acting appropriately, and the most appropriate response is to send that message.

The reality might be very different, though. Your friend might have been caught in a difficult situation that they will only be able to explain when they are in touch.

It might still be that they forgot, but chances are that you are more likely to rationalize and contextualize the situation if you take your time and do not act impulsively.

Adopt a long-term strategy

The consideration here is slightly different — each situation is different, and we must react in such a way that there is a long-term benefit to us.

Respond kindly to the hurt

For example, if a comment from our partner hurts us, then we should respond keeping in mind that our long-term relationship is more important than feeding our rage and perhaps ego.

Similarly, responding kindly to a feeling of hurt from the partner is likely to result in the partner realizing that they were at fault and will appreciate that you did not retaliate. This should help strengthen the relationship and will earn you respect.

However, in a different situation, your long-term strategy might differ.

Imagine the hurtful comment that came from a repeat offender; perhaps the friend who did not show up has done this a few times before. You probably want to consider parting ways without making a fuss or a scene, as you don’t want to be hurt again or be put in that awkward position again.

And what if it’s an important client who is critical for your promotion that you have been working hard for? In this case, you probably want to be the least emotionally invested. You should just get on with your work by ignoring the hurt and continuing the professional relationship as if nothing has happened.

Understand that it’s not always about you

If you are confident that it was not your fault, then you must also be clear that it’s not about you and that it’s the other person who needs help.

Don’t ruin your peace of mind by overthinking the situation.

I have had situations in my life where a friend, colleague, or employee acted in a way that I found to be unfair and mean. However, I am quick to realize that I have lost nothing, and it’s actually a blessing in disguise that I got to know the person better before it was too late.

People closer to you who end up hurting you should be seen as a natural filter so that they can choose to allow them to remain in your life or decide to limit the nature/level of the relationship.

Be careful, though, not to use this filter too harshly against people, and don’t judge people disproportionately for their mistake(s).

Apologize if it’s your mistake

I often hear talks of how admitting your fault makes you appear weak and not in control — I absolutely do not agree with that. Much of what we discussed above covers situations where someone hurt you unfairly, so you are thinking of a strategy to respond.

However, what if you quickly realized that you were at fault? You should be brave enough to accept your fault and offer to right the wrong.

This, too, comes with a warning that it’s never helpful to you or the other person if you apologize for something that’s not your fault. It will make you feel guilty and embarrassed, so you are clearly being unfair to yourself.

And it will give the other person a false sense of authenticity and pride, despite that they have wronged you, and they will probably do that again either to you or someone else.

Stay in control

No matter what strategy you use and what discretion you make, always stay in control. Our emotions are good servants but terrible masters. We cannot allow our emotions to dictate our conduct.

When we look back at the incident, we should be proud of the professionalism, ethics, and control that we exercised rather than be embarrassed about how we fell too low in trying to feed our rage.

Similarly, people witnessing the event will also look favorably if they don’t lose control, no matter how bad they were made to feel.

Related: How to Control Your Thoughts

Becca Smith, LPC

Becca Smith

Chief Clinical Officer, Basepoint Academy

Feeling our emotions is a natural and essential part of being human. Our brains process and store emotional experiences, helping us navigate and make sense of the world.

This way, we can learn from experiences and make decisions to protect ourselves in the future.

For example, if a friend betrays us, our brain might remember this feeling and help us steer clear of similar situations. However, when we experience emotional pain and hurt from someone, it can be difficult to process and move on.

Here are some tips for dealing with emotions and healing from hurt caused by others:

Allow yourself to feel your emotions and acknowledge them fully

Feel the emotions that you are experiencing. This may include feeling sadness, anger, hurt, or betrayal. Avoid suppressing or pushing away unpleasant feelings, as they will only resurface later on in a potentially unhealthy manner.

If you can, try expressing these feelings in a safe and healthy way, such as journaling or talking with a trusted friend or therapist.

Practice self-compassion and forgiveness

This does not mean excusing the other person’s actions or minimizing your own emotions. Instead, it means acknowledging that we are all imperfect and capable of hurting others. You are equally capable of hurting someone else, even if unintentionally. We can all make mistakes, but that does not mean we are inherently bad people.

Forgive yourself for being hurt, and acknowledge that this experience has allowed you to grow and learn.

Take time to reflect and evaluate the relationship with the person who hurt you. This can be a difficult process, but it may be necessary to move forward healthily.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Is this a pattern in the relationship?
  • How have boundaries been respected or violated in the past?
  • Are there ways to improve the relationship and prevent future hurt?
  • If not, is it necessary to distance yourself from this person to protect your emotional well-being?

Communicate openly with the person who hurt you

This can be a difficult conversation, but it may provide closure and understanding. In some cases, they may not be aware of the emotional impact their actions had on you. Still, this is not an excuse for their behavior, and it is crucial to set boundaries to protect yourself.

They may not mean it to be hurtful, but that does not mean the hurt is invalid or should be minimized. We feel things differently; our tolerance to emotional pain may vary.

Dr. Jay Serle, LMFT, Ph.D

Jay Serle

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist | Clinical Director, The Ohana Luxury Alcohol Rehab

How you deal with someone who hurts you emotionally depends entirely on the situation and your relationship with the person.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • “How valuable is this relationship?”
  • “Is this someone with whom you want to continue the relationship?”

People who have offended us emotionally may be better avoided in many instances. However, if the other person is a coworker, family member, or significant other, we need to learn how to navigate the process of both advocating for ourselves and protecting ourselves from further harm.

Here’s how to do that:

Communicate the right way

Communication is the key in these situations. It is important to be honest in your response. Set a time to talk to them when you are both calm. Be honest about your feelings and the fact that their actions hurt you.

One step might be to describe to the other person what you are feeling and subsequently describe how you would better receive information. It is important to do this in a non-accusatory manner.

An individual can ask for clarification, such as the offending person’s intent. Did the person intend to harm you? Did you receive the information they were trying to convey accurately? These are some good starting questions to ask yourself when you feel you have been harmed emotionally.

Resist reacting out of anger

It is best to resist responding in anger or impulsively. You want to evaluate the situation. First, consider how they hurt you and what their intentions were. Was it unintentional or intentional? Do you want to salvage the relationship? These questions will help you determine the best course of action to take.

It is important to convey information in a manner that does not lay blame on the other party but seeks to express how one may be feeling.

Communication delivered in anger is frequently not received well because that places the other person in a defensive manner which shuts down the listening process.

Let them know how you feel

A clear demonstration of how you feel harmed can help express to the other person how you were affected emotionally. Using “I” statements is helpful because it takes the focus off of the other person and more narrowly focuses on your personal experience.

Often, miscommunication or harm occurs when two people have different communication styles. It is important that we get to know ourselves, how we communicate, and how we best receive information to teach others to best communicate with us.

In communication, the vast majority of information is transmitted via body language. Body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions are all more readily received than actual words.

Related: Why is Body Language Important?

Sometimes physical touch effectively conveys a feeling or garners someone’s attention. A simple touch of the shoulder can tone a situation down and gain attention. It should be noted that communication style here is important.

For instance, someone with an avoidant personality or with a history of trauma may not respond as well to physical touch. If at all possible, it is best to understand and know the communication style of the person with whom you are speaking.

Set reasonable boundaries

Boundary setting is a healthy and important part of adult life and navigating relationships. It is best to learn and understand what our own needs are so that we can accurately portray them to another.

A person may not be very good at communication first thing in the morning; this person would best be served by letting their partner know that perhaps they need a certain amount of time before they are ready for conversation in the morning. Or perhaps someone is triggered by lab voices due to growing up in a hostile environment.

In a second scenario, a reasonable boundary would be telling someone that if they speak to you in an elevated voice, you are not willing to continue the conversation but will do so once they have toned things down. Other boundaries can be pretty clear such as refusing to be yelled at, belittled, mocked, or otherwise verbally attacked.

It is also essential to consider that lack of communication may need boundaries. If you have a person with whom you are communicating that frequently omits information or fails to communicate, this can also cause problems.

In situations like this, it’s important to convey to the other party that you need more communication.

Gain distance from the person who hurt you

If the person hurt you intentionally, it’s important to set limits and boundaries with the person. That might involve gaining some distance from the person.

Focus on “you”

At the end of the day, it is your needs that need to be considered. As adults, we need to advocate and teach others how to meet our needs. This is not selfish; it is an act of self-love and a demonstration of self-advocacy.

The key is to learn to do this in an emotionally neutral manner — learning to support ourselves in healthy ways with clear communication.

Consider your actions and how they might have contributed to the situation. Consider what you could have done differently if your actions were a contributing factor. Realize that you may not have done anything to cause their actions.

However, it’s up to you to choose to move on and not hold on to anger and resentment. It’s important to remember that staying angry and resentful hurts you most of all.

Related: How to Let Go of Anger and Hate 

Consider seeking help or therapy

Communication is hard, and many people are not taught healthy or effective communication while growing up. If you find yourself struggling with communication with others, help is available.

Marriage and family therapists are a great resource for assistance. Urgent family therapists are trained in systemic communication and the dynamics behind faulty communication patterns.

Help, however, is not limited to marriage and family therapists.

Psychologists, social workers, and mental health counselors can help individuals develop self-care plans, improve communication, and learn how to meet their emotional needs.

Heather Wilson, LCSW, LCADC, CCTP

Heather Wilson

Executive Director, Epiphany Wellness

One of the most difficult things to deal with is being emotionally hurt by someone close to you. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or romantic partner, it can be incredibly tough to come to terms with the fact that somebody you care about has caused you pain.

After the hurt, what are you supposed to do when it comes to dealing with this person? Should you confront them, try to work things out, or just move on?

Decide if the relationship is salvageable

If you’re not sure if the relationship is worth saving, ask yourself some questions:

  • Do they show genuine remorse for hurting you?
  • Do they seem willing to change their behavior?
  • Are they taking steps to make up for what they did?
  • Can you forgive them and move forward?

If the answer to these questions is yes, it might be worth trying to work things out with the person who hurt you.

However, if you’re unsure or the answers are mostly no, maybe letting go of the relationship is the healthiest course of action. Verily, the answer would depend on a case-to-case basis.

Don’t downplay your emotions and the impact of their actions

If they try to make amends or give excuses for their behavior, make sure they know and acknowledge the damage they’ve done.

This isn’t about guilt tripping or holding grudges but about allowing them to take responsibility for their actions. If they don’t understand the gravity of what they’ve done, they wouldn’t be able to change their behavior.

Set healthy boundaries moving forward

If you’ve decided to forgive them for hurting you, it does not automatically mean that the relationship can go back to what it was like before.

Set healthy boundaries in order to protect yourself from getting hurt again. This might mean setting up some ground rules for communication or limiting what you share with them. They should understand that your trust will have to be something they need to earn back.

Lindsey Rae Ackerman, LMFT, CHHC

Lindsey Rae Ackerman

Primary Mental Health Clinical Director, Clear Recovery Center

When it comes to our emotions, there are important nuances to learn and utilize when figuring out how to navigate situations that cause discomfort, specifically in relational dynamics. We can all hurt each other, and it very often happens unintentionally.

This is why clear communication, self-awareness, and boundaries are key components in any relationship.

Emotionally hurt vs. emotional abuse

There is an important difference between being emotionally hurt and being emotionally abused. Emotional abuse is never acceptable. What we are exploring here is emotional hurt and the discomfort that comes from that experience.

What is emotional pain?

Emotional pain can happen when our core negative beliefs are activated. Often this happens when we feel we are being or have been rejected.

When we are in emotional pain, we can perceive relational ruptures as bigger than they are because they will feel that way; therefore, it’s important to clearly understand the core negative beliefs you hold about yourself.

This will help you discern between the reality of what is happening in the relationship and the presence of past experiences that could be distorting how you see the current situation. This will prevent overreacting and further rupture.

Related: How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts?

Communication is key

Communicate clearly to the person who hurt you. Tell them exactly what they said or did that caused the pain. Then tell them if there is a boundary you’d like them to be aware of and honor.

Give yourself a break

Stay mindful of how you speak to yourself during these situations. Your inner dialogue is an important part of caring for yourself during emotional hurt. Give yourself extra support and encouragement just like you would for a close friend.

And remember, experiencing emotional discomfort isn’t a bad thing. It’s a natural and normal part of being human. And sometimes, it is an indicator that you are growing.

Chris Rabanera, LMFT

Chris Rabanera

Licensed Online Therapist | Founder, The Base EQ

People hurt each other emotionally. It’s a part of life, and everyone experiences this. We experience both being hurt, as well as hurting. When we are on the receiving end of being hurt, many of us don’t know how to deal with that person.

So how do you deal with someone who hurt you emotionally?

Take a step back from the situation

I always first recommend people take a step back from the situation. People jump headfirst into situations when their emotions are red hot. When emotions are high, many don’t fully recognize what is happening and what they need.

Their emotions are getting the best of them and taking over the situation. They are not able to think clearly. Take a moment to process your emotions about the experience.

Questions to ask yourself include the following:

  • Who is this person?

We start with this question because the person that hurt you will matter significantly.

Is this your father? Your partner? A co-worker? A random person at the bar? Depending on how close this person is to your inner circle will affect how you deal with the situation.

You would put more energy towards the situation if this person who hurt you was your best friend versus the barista at your local coffee shop you visit once a year.

  • Is this worth your time and energy?

Based on who this person is, it might not be worth your time and energy to do anything about it.

Take, for instance, the barista at your local coffee shop who was disrespectful and rude. You may say a short piece about how they were rude and disrespectful and leave it at that.

If it was your best friend, it’s a different story because you might want to keep them in your life. If you do, you’ll need to put more time and energy into dealing with this issue.

  • Was this a random occurrence?

Get a clear understanding of what happened. Play back the situation and try to build a fact-based understanding of what happened. Was this a random occurrence? Was the situation planned? This can be tough because our own biases can come into play.

  • How do you feel about the experience?

Put a name to the emotions you are feeling. You can be red hot or frustrated, or sad. You can feel a million different emotions, and that is okay. Every emotion you feel is normal and natural.

Taking a step back when you have had a moment to have your emotions cool off, how do you really feel about the experience? Was it enlightening and eye-opening? Was it heartbreaking and devastating? Name your emotions.

  • How do you want to express your feelings?

You can do this in a lot of different ways. You can express yourself by acknowledging your emotions. You can journal or free-write about what you are experiencing as well as your emotions.

You can express yourself through movement and dance. You can create art with your emotions. The ways to express your emotions are endless. Find a way to express the way you feel.

  • Do you need to rethink your boundaries?

Boundaries are set between individuals. Each individual says what is acceptable and unacceptable in their relationship. Whether it’s a relationship between parent and child, friends, or lovers, there are always boundaries.

Some boundaries are explicit, and others are implicit. This may be a time to maintain or change boundaries. Maybe this person moves from the inner circle to an outer circle. Think about your boundaries with this individual.

  • How do you want to approach a conversation with the person who hurt you?

The overall goal of this conversation is two-fold. The first goal is to be able to say what you need to say. You do this by using “I statements.” Examples of “I statements” are “I feel … I need….”

In this conversation, you talk about your feelings and needs. What you are looking for is to be heard. You aren’t looking for instant solutions.

You aren’t necessarily looking for an apology either, though it may be nice. You are looking to see if this person validated you and heard what you said.

The second goal is to set your boundaries. Based on if this person validated and heard what you said, who this person is, the situation, and your needs, boundaries will be maintained or changed.

A conversation can be had. Your relationship with this person may end, take a change of direction, or may continue on the same path as before. Either way, maintain the healthy boundaries you set based on your needs.

Finally, move forward. After you’ve taken a step back, processed the experience and your emotions, and had a conversation with the person who hurt you, it’s time to move forward.

Moving forward means you’ve worked through your emotions from the experience, said what you needed to say, and are not as attached to the previous experience. This may take some time, but this is normal.

It takes time to process emotions. It may take time to move forward.

Dr. Maggie Tipton, PsyD

Maggie Tipton

Senior Director of Psychological Services, Caron Treatment Centers

Advocate for yourself and your self-care

The truth is there is no rule that says we must put ourselves in a situation that is not good for us, and the holiday season is no exception.

Practicing self-care means we have a right and even a responsibility to consider whether participating in certain activities will bring us joy or leave us emotionally drained.

If you’re concerned about relationship choices or current abuse, I recommend undertaking this evaluation with therapeutic support.

Setting boundaries is an opportunity to advocate for ourselves and our self-care. Boundaries create a safe space — emotionally, cognitively, and physically — and empower us to make healthy choices.

Many people think of boundaries as physical or temporal: “I’m not going to that event, I’m not willing to drive four hours to Aunt Jean’s for that holiday party, or I need to be in bed by 11 o’clock.”

But emotional boundaries are just as important — whether that means topics and conversations that make us uncomfortable or people who tend to trigger us.

There are also cognitive boundaries, where we recognize there are certain patterns in our own thinking that don’t always serve us well.

Dr. Ramona Palmerio-Roberts, PsyD

 Ramona Roberts

Executive Director, Caron Treatment Centers

Talk to the supportive individuals in your life

Let’s face it: Some relationships are just not good for you, and it’s not your responsibility to make them okay.

Here, I think the first step is to talk to the supportive individuals in your life — people in the rooms, sponsors, a therapist, a partner, or your best friend.

Use them as a sounding board to establish an appropriate boundary, whether avoiding the situation entirely or making it clear in advance that you will not discuss specific topics or engage in certain behaviors (for example, the annual game of beer pong).

Role-play what you might say and how you will handle a confrontational response. Addressing these issues and practicing the conversation in advance will help you feel grounded and give you the strength to stick with your plan.

Even if another family member asks you to “make an exception this time” or attempts to make you feel guilty, I encourage you to maintain your boundaries. It’s important to understand that setting a boundary is about prioritizing your well-being and not hurting others.

Ellie Borden, BA, RP, PCC

Ellie Borden

Registered Psychotherapist | Certified Life Coach | Clinical Director, Mind By Design

Many conflicting feelings may arise when dealing with someone who has hurt you emotionally. One thought you may be strongly considering is whether or not to stop having contact with this person.

You may also wonder what you may have done to contribute to this situation. Whatever your thoughts are, it is crucial to properly assess the situation to make the most sensible choice possible.

Sometimes, emotional hurt can be the result of physical violence. This is never acceptable.

And if you feel that your safety will again be endangered, particularly if it is at the hands of an intimate partner or if you have children who may also be exposed to violence, the best thing you can do may be to break off contact with this person and, if necessary, involve the police.

Ask why one or both parties feel hurt

Other times, emotional hurt may be caused by legitimate disagreements or disputes. When this is the case, it is necessary to ask why one or both parties feel hurt.

Taking the time to deal with these painful emotions is essential. The best way to find out why someone is acting the way they are is usually to simply ask them.

When communicating with someone who has hurt you emotionally, using “I” statements instead of “you” statements can be helpful and not make the other person feel accused or unnecessarily confronted. Also, make sure you do not avoid responsibility for what you may have contributed to this situation is important.

Likewise, it is crucial to take on only what is required. You should not apologize if you have not done anything wrong. You want to remain assertive at all times.

Being assertive is different from being confrontational or hostile, as the goal is not to ‘win’ the argument but to achieve a satisfactory resolution.

You can also ask yourself what your triggers are and if they played a role. Most, if not all, of us are needlessly sensitive about something, and our reactions to perceived slights when the other person meant no harm could lead them to hurt us emotionally.

On the other hand, your concern could be legitimate, and it is essential to discuss it with the other person so that you are not consistently triggered by it.

Validate their objections or grievances

Another thing you can do to help someone genuinely understand how they have hurt you is to first validate their objections or grievances so that their defenses go down and they are more receptive to what you have to say. This involves listening and often summarizing what the other person has said to show them that their concerns are valid.

With summarizing in particular, try to use the great psychotherapist Carl Rogers’ suggestion of repeating to the person what they said in a manner they find accurate before speaking, as this can help resolve conflicts.

To do this, Rogers suggested, “Each person can speak up for himself only after he has first restated the ideas and feelings of the previous speaker accurately, and to that speaker’s satisfaction.”

This ensures that we truly listen to the other person and try to work out a genuine compromise instead of winning the argument by trying to strawman what the other person is saying.

Then you can begin by saying something like, “I understand that you are frustrated with…” It is important to not use “but”after a validation nor use words that imply comparison.

Remember, the goal when dealing with someone you are not in an adversarial relationship with is not achieving victory; you want lasting peace, which involves patience, understanding, and the willingness to compromise.

Kate Schroeder

Kate Schroeder

Licensed Professional Counselor | Owner, Transformation Counseling, LLC

It’s an “inside job” — choose to feel your feelings and learn from them

When someone hurts you emotionally, it’s tempting to blame them for how you feel. But the truth is, your feelings have nothing to do with the other person. It’s all about you.

The other person is not responsible for causing your feelings. In reality, what happened between you and this other person is a catalyst for stirring up feelings that are already inside you.

The more “stuck” you feel in the situation, the more likely your feelings aren’t even related to the present moment.

The emotional spaces where we get stuck and feel like it’s difficult to move on are really about early emotional experiences that we did not have the emotional support to process, heal and learn from.

Related: How to Build a Personal and Family Support System

This is exactly the reason why some people believe that when we get into relationships, the unfinished places inside of us, still in need of attention and healing, get brought to the surface.

Effectively dealing with others who hurt you emotionally is an “inside job.” Sometimes people hurt us, and sometimes, those people are the ones we love the most. When you’ve been hurt by someone emotionally, the only thing that really matters is how you choose to feel your feelings and learn from them.

The takeaway here is that our feelings about what happened aren’t about the other person at all. They’re about you. However, these feelings are an opportunity for self-reflection and deep emotional healing.

They’re also an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your boundaries so that the next time something like this happens, you’ll have an idea of how to handle it more effectively (if there is a next time).

Sarah Almendariz Rivera, LPC-S

Sarah Almendariz Rivera

Owner, La Luz Counseling, LLC

Set “emotional” boundaries

One word: Boundaries. Boundaries are the key ingredient to keeping you and your heart safe, especially if you have been hurt emotionally.

Emotional boundaries are very much the same as physical boundaries like a fence line between two neighbors.

It tells you and the person next to you where your personal property starts and ends. It lets people know who is allowed in and who must stay out. Only select people have permission in and out of your fence line.

Boundaries are the expression of your thoughts, your feelings, and your behavior towards others. Boundaries allow others around you to know exactly where you stand in situations and in relationships. Emotional boundaries showcase to others what you hold as important and valuable.

Boundaries define things for you, such as what you think, what you feel, and how you behave:

  • Boundaries say things like, “No, I am going to pass on going to the bar after dinner. I have work in the morning and want to be rested for that.”
  • Boundaries think things like “No, I will not answer a late-night phone call from my ex. We ended things for a reason.”
  • Boundaries feel things like “I feel confident about my decision to quit my job. I will not feel guilty for their lack of planning and volatile work environment.”

Silvi Saxena, MBA, MSW, LSW, CCTP, OSW-C

Silvi Saxena

Licensed Social Worker | Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Choosing Therapy

Set some boundaries

This is important so you can protect yourself and clarify what you will and will not engage in. If you are feeling hurt, boundaries can be a way to protect your heart while still keeping the other person in your life.

Allow yourself to feel what you feel

Allowing yourself to feel your feelings is important when trying to heal from them. Acknowledging them and being able to validate yourself in your feelings is important. 

When you re-engage, discuss what happened 

It’s important to ensure people in your life are not hurting you and take zero accountability. 

Sometimes we hurt one another by accident, and regardless of the reason or explanation of why, the hurt person deserves the other person to take accountability for their actions, words, or mistakes in the communication and make sure they are opening space for the hurt individual to discuss their feelings safely.

Make ground rules

When you are stressed or tired, it can be harder to think before you speak, so if there is something pressing, having ground rules to fall back on is important. 

For example, if there is a serious topic that needs to be discussed, but one of the individuals is mentally tired to talk about it, ground rules can help give a structure that the topic will be discussed when everyone is ready and that it can be discussed within the next 24 hours. 

Hence, one feels like they have to wait a long time to talk about it. Ground rules make it feel fair for everyone and maintain a balance of control in a relationship. 

Christy Piper

Christy Piper

Coach and Speaker | Author, “Girl, You Deserve More

If someone hurt you emotionally, it’s best to admit it to yourself. Identify what specifically hurt you. Try to see what their intention was: was it on purpose or accidental?

Many times, people don’t understand what we are sensitive about. Recognize that it’s common for someone to say something that we misinterpret based on our own experiences and insecurities.

To bring it to their attention or not?

If it’s a recurring issue or they embarrassed you publicly, you should definitely bring it to their attention. Otherwise, it could rot away the relationship.

Many times, this can be talked out. That way, the misunderstanding is resolved. You feel better, and it won’t happen again.

Forgive them — no matter what

If they don’t apologize, try not to take it personally. If it feels right, distance yourself from them for a while. Maybe they will come around. If not, it’s your choice whether to continue the relationship with them or not.

But it’s important to forgive them, even if they do not apologize. Remember that forgiveness is for you and gives you peace. It is not for the offender.

Related: How to Forgive Someone Who Hurt You Emotionally

Sameera Sullivan

Sameera Sullivan

Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers

Take a step back to process your emotions

Reacting right away is the worst thing you can do if someone emotionally injures you. You must give yourself enough time to collect your thoughts and consider your options. Otherwise, you risk saying or doing something that you’ll later regret.

You must maintain some distance from the individual who injured you for the same reason. If you’re close to each other, no amount of time will help you relax.

Try to leave as calmly as you can, no matter how tempting it might be. Don’t try to guilt-trip them into running after you and pleading for your pardon. You must take this action in order to recover, so do it.

Recognize that your emotions are valid

It’s likely that someone who has emotionally wounded you would attempt to make you question who you are and what you are thinking, a technique known as gaslighting. There are those who do it on purpose, but there are also those who are so preoccupied with themselves that they are unaware of what they are doing.

Related: 20+ Examples of Gaslighting (According to Experts)

In either case, it’s crucial that you protect yourself from this. You shouldn’t let yourself become overwhelmed by your emotions because they are irrational.

Even yet, you should always remember that no one has the authority to invalidate your sentiments or tell you how you should feel. Consider that possibility if they say you’re just being too sensitive, but don’t let them invalidate your sentiments.

Christina E. Foxwell

Christina E. Foxwell

Founder, Ignite Purpose

Stay safe from emotional abuse

“You need to hold the hand that hits you,” was said to me repeatedly during my hard time. It’s not helpful. You need to recognize that you are worth more than this. How do we do it? We set boundaries! We recognize what is okay and what is not, and we share these from a place of self-love and peacefulness.

We never wrestle about right or wrong; they will always win. We simply recognize that this was not good for us, and we choose to value ourselves more (thereby setting the boundary).

We remind them who we are and don’t get caught up in their negative messaging. My favorite way to address it is, “That was not okay for me, I need to reflect with you on what is okay, and here it is…”

We also need to choose if this space is good for us to stay in. Mostly it won’t be, but I have seen when we learn how to communicate boundaries and start connecting with ourselves and our own worthiness, we can be whole around these people and situations.

We also recognize that we need to consider they are doing the best they can with what they have. The wrestle they are experiencing must be really challenging; therefore, the emotional abuse they are giving us mirrors the one they give themselves. (This allows us empathy that helps when we are setting boundaries).

Staying safe from emotional abuse is key. Recognizing that we are worth more is the next important step.

Finally, there is a possibility for things to get better because you are better. The other person starts understanding the boundaries and seeing how you are honoring yourself with love and setting boundaries with love too. This allows respect to re-develop.

Of course, we need to call out that some people are in such a place of needing power over others that they might not be able to cope with boundaries or with not being in control. These are the times when leaving or removing yourself from their space is the only answer.

Remember, you are always worthy of love and connection. Your worthiness is never something that gets negotiated with anyone.

Ashley Williams, LMHC, NCC

Ashley Williams

Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Cardinal Hope Mental Health Counseling Services, PLLC

Take time to acknowledge your emotions

Often times when we experience emotional hurt, we quickly want to avoid and dismiss the emotion. It can be seen as a way to “protect” us from further hurt by just imagining it never occurred.

While this can provide a temporary fix for the moment, in the long term, avoiding our emotions only increases the chances of the emotions being displaced or manifesting in a potentially unhealthy way.

Processing the emotional hurt is the ideal way to overcome it in the long term. Allow yourself space and time to identify how the hurt has affected you. Are you sad? Angry? Ashamed? Put a name to it. You’ve identified how you feel. Now what?

Take a further dive into why this relationship, friendship, event, etc., has caused you to feel the identified emotion.

What role did this relationship or event play in your life? Are you worried about how your future will now look? Are there any additional thoughts you are experiencing that have contributed to furthering this emotional hurt? Asses what are the additional factors contributing to your present feelings.

Communication is key. It is okay to communicate your emotional hurt. Once you feel you have been able to settle in your emotions, you can then begin exploring if you desire to vocalize your experience. You owe it to yourself to state how you feel.

Lucky for you, there are many ways to communicate your emotions, and surprisingly, it doesn’t always include face-to-face conversation!

If you intend to have an in-person conversation, using “I” statements allows you to take ownership and accountability for how you feel without contributing to blaming or “finger-pointing” statements which could lead to the receiver becoming defensive.

Communication also can be in the form of writing to yourself (journaling) or recording a voice note without the intention of sending it to a particular person.

No matter which forum you choose, allowing yourself the time, space, and moment to vocalize or write out your emotions helps to decrease the chances of internalizing your emotions overall!

Jewel Weah, M.A

Jewel Weah

Licensed Professional Counselor, Cornerstone Mental Health

Practice vulnerability is a helpful way to self-advocate

Emotional pain, unlike physical pain, doesn’t leave a visible scar. Suffice it to say that everyone has experienced some form of emotional hurt, but that’s not something that one can readily see by just looking at a person.

When someone’s words or behavior impacts you emotionally, it can be, at times, easy to retreat or isolate as a measure of self-preservation. “If I maintain some physical or emotional distance, then this person cannot hurt me.” While this is one measure of self-protection, it’s not as helpful as it might seem.

Often, we expect people to know how their words or behavior impacts us, but the reality is the only surefire way to ensure that others are aware of the impact of their behavior is to be open and honest. And that’s not always easy.

Being open and honest requires a certain level of vulnerability which can be difficult when you are experiencing emotional hurt.

Why would you want to risk being vulnerable with someone who has hurt you emotionally? Practicing vulnerability is a helpful way to self-advocate and show up for yourself in relationships, and allow your needs to be met.

Hoping that someone will recognize that you have been hurt is an unhelpful way to deal with your emotions because that looks like putting your needs in an external source.

Self-advocacy is a gift to yourself as it allows others the opportunity to show up for you the way you’d like to be treated within your relationships. Advocating for yourself is another way of setting boundaries within your relationships.

Sharing boundaries in relationships allows you to gain an understanding of whether a person can respect and maintain your boundaries, and that is critical information that can be used to redefine the relationship.

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

Unfortunately, it happens. Someone does something or says something that hurts you emotionally.

This doesn’t mean when someone accidentally bumps into you and you fall and scrape your knee. It’s when someone says something, and those words hurt us on the inside and make our hearts stop for a beat.

How do you deal with someone who hurts you emotionally?

Ask yourself why you feel hurt

Take a step back and ask yourself why you feel hurt by what the other person said. Was it what they said or the way that they said it?

Try to uncover any reasons why you feel this way. Determine if you should be hurt. If yes, is there something you can do about it? I have told my husband and others that we can’t control how we feel but can control how we react. You don’t want to act rashly or do or say anything that you might regret later.

Take the time now to understand your feelings and prevent yourself from feeling remorse later.

Tell them about it

Telling a person they hurt you does not need to be done maliciously or accusingly. People may often hurt us without even realizing it. Maybe the other person was joking and thought their comment was taken in the fun tone in which they meant it.

Whatever the reason, the only way to ensure they know you feel hurt is by letting them know. Plus, telling them will allow them to apologize, if appropriate. It can also allow the two of you to discuss what happened.

By talking about it, you can each see the situation from the other person’s point of view.

Determine if this behavior is habitual or a one-off

Does the person that hurt you have a history of hurting you? Or was this an isolated incident where they unintentionally hurt your feelings? If it’s the latter, then talking to them about it (as previously mentioned) should help resolve any issues.

However, you might want to consider your relationship with this person if it’s the former. Is this someone you should continue communicating with? Or is this someone that if they were no longer in your life, you wouldn’t be hurt or otherwise negatively affected by it?

Reach out for help

In life, there are many things we can do on our own and many things we can use help with. If you find that people are frequently hurting you emotionally, you might start to think, “It’s not you. It’s me,” and you might be right.

That doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. You aren’t broken. You aren’t otherwise “not right.” It means that you might benefit from talking to a professional about your feelings and what you can do to prevent yourself from feeling hurt.

Remember, as the Beatles sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Sometimes those friends are people we haven’t met yet.

Develop a statement that helps you calm down and feel better about yourself

When someone has hurt you, it’s hard to look at it objectively. But you should at least consider whether the person did it on purpose.

Sometimes, what hurts you is just that they are being who they are, and their behavior has nothing to do with you.

If that’s the case, then you need to stop taking it personally. Perhaps you had unrealistic expectations or have something else in your past that what they did reminds you of. If so, you need to let it go.

If they did seem to do it on purpose, that’s different. In that case, you need to judge whether they are a safe person. You might need an outside view to help you figure that out.

If they’ve been physically abusive in the past, even if not directly to you, then they aren’t safe. They’re not safe even if they’ve only been verbally abusive (for example, yelling and name-calling). You shouldn’t confront a person like that; you won’t get anything from it.

In either of the above cases, you still need to heal, but the healing can’t come from the other person — it has to come from somewhere else.

One thing you can do is develop a statement that helps calm you down and helps you feel better about yourself. But if the person is safe, then you might be able to have a difficult conversation and talk about how your feelings are hurt.

If they apologize, that’s great. If they promise not to do it again, that’s even better. Even if they don’t do either, pat yourself on the back for courage and standing up for yourself. And circle back to what you can do to help heal yourself.

Daniel Ploof

Daniel Ploof

Author, Wilderness Survival | Founder, Wilderness Survival Training

Getting hurt emotionally by those we love seems inevitable in life. The more we care, the greater the sting feels when trust is broken and our feelings are taken for granted.

However, whether we choose to forgive is arguably the greater question we must answer to have any chance of overcoming hurt and not being held captive or enslaved by our emotions.

No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the mistakes of others or the consequences of their actions which impact us personally.

However, we can choose whether we’ll react out of pain or respond in love, and that decision all comes down to our perspective on grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Take back control over your emotions

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Forgiveness is power. No matter how bad someone may have hurt you, the choice is yours to either allow their mistakes to haunt your mind or take back control by choosing to rise above the ashes.

Keep in mind that forgiving an offense is not the same as forgetting the pain. You’ll likely never forget what happened because future life circumstances will mirror present pain, reopening your wounds when you least expect it.

That is why self-control is critical to surviving emotional hurt, and forgiveness is the remedy to solving the psychological war in our minds.

In other words, forgiveness simply means, “I’m not going to sit around and wait for you to own your mistakes and ask me to forgive you. I’m choosing to forgive first so that I am no longer held captive by frustration, anger, and bitterness.”

Resist the urge for retribution

It’s easy to let your emotions run wild when your loved one hurts you. Your flesh will crave justice and retribution, assuming that revenge will somehow ease the pain.

Make no mistake; retribution will not solve anything nor heal your pain because you are not your loved one’s judge or executioner.

You’re simply the one in the greatest position to show grace and mercy to someone who least deserves it, for there is peace that transcends all understanding when you choose forgiveness despite the pain you feel.

Emotional freedom will never come if your mind is thirsting for blood to make your oppressor pay for their mistakes. Rather, forgiveness allows you to cope with your pain more easily and effectively.

Guard yourself against self-righteousness

It is easier to forgive others when you recognize you’re not perfect, either. Granted, that doesn’t mean the pain you’re feeling is insignificant or easily forgotten. Mistakes were made, and your loved one hurt you deeply.

However, it is far easier to forgive others when you realize how often others had forgiven you and exhibited grace and mercy when you least deserved it.

It requires a psychological shift in perspective, which helps guard your heart from holding a posture of self-righteousness toward your loved one.
Granted, it’s not easy to step down to the level of others who have hurt you and forgive them when they least deserve it.

However, healing is possible when grace, mercy, and forgiveness are freely given in the valley rather than withheld from the mountaintop looking down.

Don’t hold their dark past against them

If you don’t want to be identified by your past mistakes, don’t hold the dark past of others against them either. They are not a product of their mistakes, just as you are not a product of yours.

Therefore, recognize that you can experience incredible victory over pain and disappointment when you bury the hatchet and resist placing a scarlet letter of guilt, shame, and regret on your oppressor.

Related: What Is the Difference Between Shame, Guilt, and Remorse?

It also means giving your loved one a second chance to change for the better, so long as accountability measures are specifically defined, understood, agreed upon, and implemented for rehabilitation and healing to occur.

However, in the end, you will experience indescribable peace and emotional victory when you let go of past darkness and live in the present light, where pain is a distant memory.

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