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What Should You Do When Your Spouse Says Hurtful Things To You?

What Should You Do When Your Spouse Says Hurtful Things To You?

It is really hard to stay calm when your spouse says hurtful things to you, either in the heat of the moment or involuntarily.

Hurtful words are like swords; they stab you in the heart and leave you speechless.

Yup, relationships can be really hard sometimes but both happy moments and those less happy are an inevitable part of it.

You will argue, cry and say something you don’t really mean to each other and you cannot influence any of these things.

However, what you can do is choose how to react when your spouse says hurtful things to you.

If this doesn’t happen that often (but usually during an argument), then chances are your spouse accidentally said something regrettable and inappropriate.

But if it happens on a regular basis, it may be the beginning of an abusive relationship, so you should pay attention to that.

Perhaps they said something bad about your friends or family, your flaws, habits or appearance and now you can’t stop thinking about it.

The reason why you can’t stop thinking about it is because you feel hurt, offended and disappointed in your partner.

You want to let it go and forget about everything that happened but it’s easier said than done, right? Also, holding grudges is not a healthy option.

So, you basically have two choices here:

a) You can pretend that nothing happened (but this will result in the accumulation of negative feelings)

b) You can do the following:

DO NOT strike back

Oh, I know that you want to say so many things to them, force them to apologize to you and point out all those harsh words they said to you. But trust me, it’s not worth it.

No matter how hard it is to stay collected and not say a few mean things to them as well, try not to attack back. Why? Because it will not solve the problem but it will only make it worse.

When your spouse says hurtful things to you, you need to show them that you’re not like them.

There’s no point in saying something bad to your partner when you know that you will end up apologizing for it sooner or later.

The best bet is to leave things as they are for the time being and wait for them to apologize for hurting you. And if they don’t, then it’s time to re-evaluate your marriage.

Calm down and re-evaluate the situation

It’s truly amazing how one person can distress you so much but you need to know that fighting back is not an option.

What you need to do is calm down, take a deep breath and know that you’re not alone.

Don’t immediately think that your partner doesn’t love you, that they hate you or that they want a divorce.

80% of the time, these hurtful things are things said in the heat of the moment and they are not directly connected to the quality of your marriage. Keep that in mind.

There are so many reasons why your partner would unintentionally hurt you with words.

Those reasons are not necessarily linked to you but they might be a part of stress accumulation due to work, chores or other obligations and problems.

What you need to do is think about the context in which your spouse said all those bad things and how they have been acting lately.

Ask yourself the following questions:

• Was my spouse recently in some stressful situations?

• Are they sleep-deprived?

• Are they acting differently from before?

• Are they treating their friends and family in the same way?

The answers to these questions will help you understand whether your arguments and their hurtful words are just a form of venting for your spouse.

Accept and validate your emotions

Don’t strike back and don’t overreact but also don’t act like it’s not a big deal. I know it is and you know it is too.

It is okay if those harsh words have impacted your self-esteem and made you feel less worthy.

I mean, that’s what words do. They hurt us and it burns like hell. Because of that, we often succumb to the temptation of suppressing our feelings but this will not make them go away.

On the contrary, it will prolong the pain you are feeling at the moment.

So, the only logical thing and the best thing to do is ACCEPT the situation and VALIDATE your feelings. Embrace what you feel instead of trying to erase it.

We all know very well that one cannot do that, no matter how hard we try so don’t pretend that you’re made of stainless steel when you yourself know that this is a lie.

You’re a human being and you’re allowed to feel things; to feel hurt, sad, happy and whatnot. That’s the beauty of being one.

Your emotions are not things you should be afraid of (especially if you’re a guy because guys are told that validating or expressing their feelings is not a masculine thing to do).

Well, be it masculine or not, it’s NECESSARY.

Write down your thoughts and feelings

This is one of the most helpful methods and I use it every time I find myself in distress or hurting. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you better understand how you feel.

When something bad happens, some people call their best friend and tell them what happened, some choose to go for a walk and some choose to write down how they feel.

All of these methods are equally helpful and it’s just a matter of preference which one you’ll choose as a coping method.

If you ask me, writing things down is the most practical method and it can give you the best insight into the overall situation.

There are no rules here. Just start writing whatever comes to your mind first.

For example: “I feel hurt because my spouse said something really insulting to me today. I know that they probably don’t mean it but it still hurts and I don’t know what to say or do.”

Writing down your thoughts will help you when it comes to the next step and that is talking to your spouse. Basically, what you write down on a paper is what you can tell to them face-to-face.

Talk to your spouse about it

What to do when your husband says hurtful things or when your wife says hurtful things? TALK to them.

Once you calm down and accept what happened, it’s time to talk to your spouse about it.

The most important rule to follow when it comes to communicating with your spouse is the following: Do not yell or attack them.

Even though yelling is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about communicating with someone who hurt you, you shouldn’t do it.

Instead, you should talk to them openly and honestly without accusing them.

Did you know that different structures of your sentences can convey different meanings?

For example, if you say to your spouse something like: “You called me stupid the other day. You’re so mean,” they will feel attacked because you’re blaming them for it.

Because of that, they might say more hurtful things while trying to defend themselves.

Now, let’s rephrase that sentence into the following: “I feel really hurt and disappointed because of the things you said to me the other day.” Do you notice the difference?

This type of sentence will not directly attack them but it will tell them exactly how you feel about the whole thing and this is the message you want to send them.

You want them to know how their words made you feel. You want them to feel the weight of all the things they said to you. That’s the only way to motivate them to apologize to you.

When a person is feeling attacked, there’s not a chance they will apologize for their behavior.

But when you give them some space to see what they have done and understand the damage of their choice of words, they will apologize and think twice before repeating the same mistake in the future.

See also: How Do You Cope When Someone You Love Hurts You Deeply?

Observe the situation from your spouse’s point of view

This is one of the most difficult things you’ll need to do but it’s necessary for two reasons:

a) It will help you understand how they felt during the argument

b) It will help you forgive them

When you observe the situation from their point of view, you will understand their rage or whatever they were going through during the argument. You can compare it to your experiences of total madness.

You probably said something you didn’t mean before just because you weren’t in control of your vocabulary at that moment. Once you know that, it’s easier for you to understand them and forgive them.

Don’t let their words affect you negatively

Whatever your spouse said to you, you shouldn’t take their words seriously.

You shouldn’t think that they are your enemy because they aren’t. They are still your best friend, confidant and partner in crime.

The things they said during an argument shouldn’t change what they mean to you. Also, you shouldn’t let those words make you feel less worthy or influence your self-esteem in one way or another.

I know it’s hard to think positively in this situation but you have to at least try to. Their words shouldn’t make you insecure because you yourself know that whatever they said to you is not true. And they know it too.

Take as much time as you need to heal

When your spouse says hurtful things to you, it feels like your world is literally falling apart. All you can think of is how they made you feel miserable and hurt your feelings. And that’s totally okay.

You shouldn’t suppress what you feel but take as much time as you need to heal!

Now, what does it mean to heal? Every person has their own healing concept. Some people find it helpful going for a walk, talking it out with their friend or finding a new hobby and focusing on expressing themselves.

In order to start the healing process, you need to get out of your head and the easiest way to do that is by expressing yourself. You can scream, sing, draw, write or do whatever feels good to you.

The focus is on getting those negative feelings out of your system and you’ll do that by expressing yourself both emotionally and physically. Going for a run or meditating are also great alternatives.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t force yourself to forget everything but instead focus on the healing process.

Re-evaluate your relationship

Another important step is the re-evaluation of your relationship. You need to ask yourself the following question: Has my spouse constantly been saying hurtful things to me for some time now or has this happened only once or a few times?

If you can’t even remember when your spouse started saying harsh words to you, chances are it’s been happening for a long time now. If that is the case with you, we might be talking about emotional abuse.

Constantly belittling your feelings with harsh words is a form of verbal abuse that can decrease your confidence and hurt you emotionally in the long run.

If you’re still in love with them, you might be having difficulty realizing that this is the case.

It’s true that couples in a long-term relationship (especially married couples) face lots of problems but they shouldn’t be constant. If they are, then this could be a potential dealbreaker.

Do you ever ask yourself the following question: Why did I get married in the first place? If yes, then you know something is not right in your relationship.

Talk to your friends and family

Your friends and family should be your biggest support (especially in difficult times) so don’t hesitate to contact them and tell them how you’re feeling.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Take a deep breath and say: My wife/husband says hurtful things when we fight. I feel hurt and helpless.

Perhaps your parents or some of your friends have been through the same, so they can give you some helpful advice on that matter.

If, for some reason, you cannot talk to your friends or family, then talk to your coworker or a random stranger if needed.

I’ve realized that sometimes the greatest advice comes from people you barely know.

Seek professional help

If all else fails (and even if it doesn’t fail), you can always seek professional help.

There are many marriage counselors, dating experts and relationship experts out there, ready to give you plenty of helpful relationship and marriage advice.

It doesn’t matter whether this is happening to you for the first time or has been for some time now, it is never too late to seek advice from professionals.

9 Quotes About When Your Spouse Says Hurtful Things

1. “’Sorry’ we all say ‘Sorry’ for the wrong things we say and do. But do we always think about the people we love dearly who we say hurtful things to? I don’t think so because if we had think about it sorry wouldn’t have become such a popular word today. Sometimes we say so much and act immature as adult. We didn’t take the time to realize how much hurt and pain we put that individual in we never took the time to think of the reaction, the feelings and the consequence that we might have to face if what we do turns out to be a matter of life and death.!!!” ― Napz Cherub Pellazo

2. “Silly words cause trills because they’re ludicrous and funny. Happy words paint endless smiles and swallow troubles whole. Thoughtful words are thus because they make the day feel sunny. But hurtful words are such that pierce the heart and weigh the soul.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich

3. “When the person you love can’t see your love for them beneath the painful things you say when they reject you, remember this: Love is blind.” ― Shannon L. Alder

4. “When someone tells you that you have done something that has hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” ― Karon Waddell

5. “Honesty hurts and depending on the situation you should really think twice about your words. They can be hurtful and have a bad influence. Once they leave your mouth they can cause allot of soul damage and heartache.” ― Lily Amis

6. “Yes, a person can accept your apology and forgive you for what you’ve said, but they will never forget how you made them feel at that very moment. Words can stick in a person’s mind, heart, and spirit long after the words have been spoken. Don’t be in denial; words have GREAT power. Be wise when you speak!” ― Stephanie Lahart

7. “Dogs bite sometimes, people bite at all times, with their hurtful words.” ― Mehmet Murat İldan

8. “’Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ This is a lie. What we say matters. The unkind things we communicate can soil the best of relationships; even with the deepest of regrets… what lingers is a stain of hurt that may fade but will never truly go away. The wounding words we say are like feathers released in a harsh wind, once said; we will never get them back.” ― Jason Versey

9. “It hurts when you go through something that kills you inside but you have to act like it doesn’t affect you at all.” — Unknown

55 Quotes That Will Help You Forgive Your Spouse

1. “Forgiveness is a sign that the person who has wronged you means more to you than the wrong they have dealt.” — Ben Greenhalgh

2. “To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it.” — Unknown

3. “You’ll never know how strong your heart is until you learn to forgive who broke it.” — Unknown

4. “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” — Catherine Ponder

5. “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” — Wayne Dyer

6. “Without forgiveness life is governed by… an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” — Roberto Assagioli

7. “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” — Paul Boese

8. “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” — Robert Muller

9. “Forgiveness is a powerful tool to reconnect with the offender and your true, inner self.” — Unknown

10. “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” — Alexander Pope

11. “People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” — Joseph F. Newton

12. “Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” — Emma Goldman

13. “Forgiveness is the best form of love. It takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive them.” — Unknown

14. “It’s not easy to forgive and let go but remind yourself that harboring the resentment will only aggravate your pain.” — Unknown

15. “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” — Fawn Weaver

16. “Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.” — Mason Cooley

17. “The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.” — Louise Hay

18. “Forgiveness is a powerful weapon. Equip yourself with it and free your soul from fear.” — Unknown

19. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Lewis B. Smedes

20. “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” — Ruth Bell Graham

21. “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” — Anne Lamott

22. “The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.” — Unknown

23. “Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?” — Leo Buscaglia

24. “Learning to forgive will help you remove a major roadblock to your success.” — Unknown

25. “Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.” — Robin Sharma

26. “Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.” — Thomas S. Monson

27. “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” — George MacDonald

28. “As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind.” — Isabelle Holland

29. “Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.” — Marlene Dietrich

30. “Forgiveness is just another name for freedom.” — Byron Katie

See also: How To Save A Marriage: 10 Proven Methods That Always Work

31. “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” — Nelson Mandela

32. “Forgiveness stands for giving up something for yourself, not for the offender.” — Unknown

33. “Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.” — Unknown

34. “Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” — Marvin J. Ashton

35. “Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.” — Peter Ustinov

36. “Forgiveness is liberating and empowering.” — Unknown

37. “Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” —Hannah Arendt

38. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” — Mahatma Gandhi

39. “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” — Bryant H. McGill

40. “Never bring up mistakes of the past.” — Unknown

41. “It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.” — Tyler Perry

42. “Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet on the heel of the one who crushed it.” — George Roemisch

43. “We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

44. “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” — Marianne Williamson

45. “Sometimes you will just have to learn to agree to disagree. Every fight or argument doesn’t need to end with ‘You’re right’ or ‘You’re wrong.’” — Unknown

46. “Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours.” — Phillips Brooks

47. “I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.” — T. D. Jakes

48. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

49. “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” — Jonathan Lockwood Huie

50. “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.” — Cherie Carter-Scott

51. “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer.” — Denis Waitley

52. “The remedy for life’s broken pieces is not classes, workshops or books. Don’t try to heal the broken pieces. Just forgive.” — Iyanla Vanzant

53. “When we… go back into the past and rake up all the troubles we’ve had, we end up reeling and staggering through life. Stability and peace of mind come by living in the moment.” — Pam W. Vredevelt

54. “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” — Dalai Lama

55. “To understand somebody else as a human being, I think, is about as close to real forgiveness as one can get.” — David Small

Final Thoughts

When your spouse says hurtful things, remember not to fight back. Calm down, re-evaluate the situation, talk to your spouse about it and take some time to heal.

Also, consider seeking professional help, especially if you think that your marriage has some underlying issues that need to be addressed. Good luck!

See also: How To Fix A Broken Marriage: A 15-Step Rescue Plan