Being heartbroken by someone you love is hard. However, if you’re not a bad person or a narcissist, you can also go through a tough time when you hurt someone else.
That is exactly what’s going on with you right now. The guilt is killing you because you’re aware of your harmful actions.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your significant other, a coworker, a friend, or a family member, the bottom line is pretty much the same: You broke your loved one’s heart and you’re looking for ways to fix things.
Well, you’ve come to the right place where you’ll get all the professional advice you need. Here is exactly how you should behave and what you should do when you hurt someone.
Remember that you’re a human being
First and foremost, you should always keep one thing in mind: You’re just a human being made out of flesh and blood. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to do whatever the hell you want.
However, one mistake doesn’t automatically make you a bad person either.
The fact is that you’re not a robot or a preprogrammed machine that is not allowed to make mistakes. You might have tried running away from this fact but the truth is that you’re far from perfect.
You have your set of flaws and whether you like it or not, now is the time to accept them. Knowing this, will make it easier for you to come to terms with the fact that you’re simply sinful, just like the rest of us.
On the other hand, precisely because you’re a human being, it also means that you have a conscience.
You have a mind and therefore, the ability to repent for those mistakes and to eventually correct them.
Tricky position, I know. Except, this very combination of qualities is what brought you here in the first place.
It’s what made you hurt the person you love and it’s what made you feel guilty for your actions.
Don’t defend your wrong action
What you did wasn’t right. When you hurt someone who cared for you, you didn’t only cause their heartbreak, you also stabbed them in the back. You violated their trust and you killed their faith in people.
Therefore, the consequences of your actions are numerous and the pain you’ve caused won’t go away overnight.
Instead, your victim will have to go through a healing process. Let’s be real: It’s all your fault.
According to most relationship coaches, the worst thing you can do at this point is to try and pretend that you haven’t done anything that wrong.
In fact, defending your actions might be even more painful for the victim than what you did in the first place.
When you do something wrong, you’re the only one responsible for it. There is no point in looking for excuses or justifications.
Your mistakes are not canceled by the fact that you were “provoked” to behave like this, that your victim “made you” hurt them, and so on.
You have to be accountable enough to stand behind your actions, like a real grown-up.
Please, avoid the blame game at all costs.
I’m not saying that the other party is perfect or that they never did anything to hurt you, but this is beside the point; you’re looking for redemption for your harmful behavior.
The only way to do that is to accept full responsibility, without trying to escape it.
Acknowledge the other person’s emotions
What you have to be aware of is that we all have big differences in character. Therefore, someone is not weaker than you just for having a harder time accepting the things you’ve done to them.
Maybe you wouldn’t be this hurt if you were in their shoes and that’s your right. However, the other person is clearly heartbroken and they’re entitled to feel that way.
So, please, acknowledge the other person’s emotions, even if you don’t fully understand them. Give them the right to feel sadness and pain.
They feel betrayed or disappointed by something you did. It’s just how things are and you don’t have a say in that.
The worst thing you can do in this case is to try and diminish the other party’s hurt feelings. Don’t even think of accusing them of being too sensitive or overly emotional.
If you do this, you’ll show that you actually have no remorse whatsoever. You’ll show that you’re only apologizing because it’s the right thing to do, not because you really are sorry.
Furthermore, this will be proof that you’re completely unaware of your mistakes. You’re not aware of the magnitude of your actions nor of the effects they had on someone else.
Approach your victim as gently as possible
What you need to know is that your victim’s heart is fragile right now. They have hurt feelings and the last thing they need is someone aggravating their wounds.
Therefore, you have to approach them as gently as possible. While you’re trying to repair your broken relationship, pay attention to their mental and emotional state.
There is no fighting, no screaming, no blame games, and no expectations that are too big.
This doesn’t mean that you should walk on eggshells around them or that you should treat them like a little child.
However, you definitely have to be careful not to do anything to hurt them all over again.
Yes, you might think that they’re too sensitive now. Nevertheless, don’t forget that you’re the cause of their sensitivity and if you want them to forgive you, you’ll just have to deal with it.
Don’t rush the process
When you hurt someone you love and want their forgiveness, you’ll probably push them as hard as possible to get it.
You want them to see how eager you are to come back into their life and you don’t miss any opportunity to reach out.
You have the urge to call them, text them, show up in the places where you expect them to be, or even go knocking on their door. However, that can only be counterproductive.
By doing this, you’re putting an unbearable amount of pressure on your victim. You show them that their forgiveness is more important than the way they feel.
Basically, you’re apologizing because you want to clear your conscience, not because you want them to feel better.
Consequently, when you pressure your victim, you make them feel guilty. They don’t feel ready to forgive you just yet but can’t seem to get rid of your presence in their life.
On the other hand, your victim can get angrier at you. You’re not giving them space or time to clear their head and to reach a conclusion.
Instead, you’re constantly on their back, without any understanding of the way they feel and for the problems they’re facing.
Therefore, the best thing to do is let time work its magic. Show the other person that you’re there and that you don’t mind patiently waiting for them to be ready for you.
Engage in self-forgiveness and self-care
While there are people who act as if they didn’t do anything wrong, there are also the ones who beat themselves up too hard.
Being here and looking for things to do when you hurt someone, clearly makes you part of the second group.
Even though not taking responsibility for your own actions is not acceptable, judging yourself too harshly is not healthy either.
In fact, it would be best if you could find the middle ground and balance between the two.
Accept that your behavior was not okay and that it caused someone’s emotional pain, but don’t see it as the end of the world and as something you can’t correct.
You see: The other person can forgive you for everything you did to them. After all, that’s what will happen sooner or later.
Nevertheless, letting go of self-judgment is even more important.
You need to clear your conscience and get rid of your guilt if you want to preserve your mental health and engage in some self-care.
Beating yourself up and calling yourself a narcissist won’t get you anywhere.
Every time these negative feelings overwhelm you, remind yourself that they’re completely pointless and will achieve nothing.
You can’t turn back time as much as you might want to, can you? Therefore, you won’t erase your victim’s pain by overthinking your actions.
Ask for another perspective
If you feel lost and as though you don’t know what’s the smart thing to do, the best thing is to look for another opinion and perspective.
After all, you’re emotionally involved in this entire situation and you can’t be objective about it, despite all of your efforts.
Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself. At the same time, there is also a possibility that you’re justifying your actions and looking for excuses for thems.
Either way, you’re not being neutral here and neither is your victim. They’re the ones hurt in this case and it’s possible that they’re blowing things out of proportion and looking for attention as well.
That is why you should turn to someone you trust and tell them about this entire situation. Pick an honest friend, a coworker, or a family member, even if you’re afraid that they’ll be too harsh.
After all, that is exactly what you need: A harsh truth from a loved one. You need someone who will take off your rose-tinted glasses and make you face reality.
This doesn’t mean that they should tell you what to do with your own life or that you should listen to them blindly. Instead, they’re just there to offer you a fresh point of view.
Just be careful about the ones you tell your secrets to. If you’re not sure whether you have loyal people around you, ask for professional advice.
There is no shame in talking to a therapist about things that are bothering you.
Another great piece of advice is to try walking in your victim’s shoes. Put yourself in their position and look at things from their perspective.
What do you do when someone hurts you? What’s your first instinct when someone causes you heartbreak? What can they do to fix things?
Do “the friend test”
Another great thing you can do is “the friend test”. This will help you detach from the situation and make it possible for you to move in the right direction.
Imagine that your friend has the same problem you currently have. They come to you and tell you that they’ve hurt someone they care for deeply.
They want their forgiveness but don’t know how to get it. They’re also beating themselves up for their mistake.
They ask for your advice because they trust you and consider you to be a wise and smart person. What would you tell them?
I bet that you would come up with a solution right away. You would advise them on how to approach their victim and you would give them the exact steps that are listed here.
Not only that but you would be full of understanding for your best friend. No matter what they did, you would call them out on their actions and you would also show compassion.
The last thing you would do is make things even worse by judging and attacking them. Instead, you would tell them not to be so hard on themselves and not to let guilt eat them alive.
So, what exactly is stopping you from treating yourself the same way? After all, you should love yourself more than you love any friend in this world.
Therefore, please, take the advice you would give to your imagined best friend and apply it to yourself.
Learn from your bad behavior
Finally, even though you can’t change what you’ve done, you certainly can learn from it. Instead of lamenting your past, walk away from it with a tough but valuable lesson.
What you did was toxic. You broke someone’s heart and your actions hurt their feelings.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should turn this into patterns of bad behavior. Instead of allowing it to develop into a habit, learn from your mistakes.
Promise yourself that that was the last time you displayed that selfish behavior and that from now on, you’ll think about the possible consequences of your actions.
Tell yourself that that was the last time you didn’t show compassion and that from now on, you’ll always take other people’s feelings into account.
To be honest,. when you hurt someone, it will probably take you ages to regain their trust and to glue your broken relationship back together.
That’s why you have to start this moment. Show them that you care and that you’re ready to do whatever it takes to come back into their life. Good luck!