How To Cope When You Want To Make Someone Feel Bad For Hurting You

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated April 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When someone wrongs you or hurts you emotionally, you may experience a desire to cause them the same pain you feel. However, a desire for revenge may lead one to hold onto toxic grudges or seek behaviors that cause more harm. Instead of getting revenge, working through anger and other challenging emotional experiences may be beneficial to move forward healthily while still validating what you've experienced.

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How to move forward

After someone hurts you, you may want to make the other person feel how you feel. However, there are often healthier, more productive ways to move forward, including but not limited to the following. 

Communicate how you were hurt to the other person

If you believe someone caused you harm, a productive step may be to communicate with the person who harmed you and express how their actions have affected you. This step can be vital if you want to rebuild and maintain the relationship. If you speak to them one-on-one, offer insight into what transpired in your opinion and offer another perspective. In the best-case scenario, this person may see how their actions hurt you, apologize, and avoid this behavior in the future. 

Before the conversation, reflect and organize your thoughts so you are prepared to stay firm in your boundaries. When you speak with them, try to remain calm and speak clearly and concisely, staying focused on the issue. Remember that the goal isn't to make them feel ashamed but to let them know how their behavior has hurt you. It may also be helpful to practice what you plan to say or to roleplay the conversation with someone you trust first.

However, there is a chance that the person you confront may not understand or agree that their actions were wrong. In this case, you might choose to agree to disagree or end your relationship. Respectfully speaking your mind may dissipate the negative feelings you've been experiencing and help you find closure.

Recognize that revenge can worsen a situation 

It could be possible that the person you are angry with did something unforgivable, and you might feel the urge to retaliate to get back at them. While understandable, revenge is not a healthy option and often has negative results. 

Though you might feel vindicated now, this sense may not last. Instead, you may have to experience feelings due to the original injustice in addition to the guilt that may accompany the retaliation. Research has found that forgiveness is "more effective at rehumanizing the self" than revenge after an offense has damaged an individual.
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Process your emotions

You may feel a wide mix of emotions at every stage of this process. For example, you may feel sad and angry after being hurt, you may become overwhelmed as you try to express your perspective to that person, and you may feel frustrated or relieved, depending on their response. 

Regardless of how the conversation with this person plays out, it may be valuable to sit with the feelings you're experiencing rather than pushing them away. The practice of processing and acknowledging your emotions can help you control your emotions and allow them to pass rather than allowing them to build up and resurface in unexpected ways. 

Practice compassion

Another way to change your mindset around the situation is to have compassion for the person who wronged you. In some cases, individuals may lash out or act unkindly due to challenges in their own lives. Although treating others poorly is not okay, it may explain their behavior. Some people act without realizing they may make others feel bad, including those they love. 

Compassion for others may allow you to understand others better and find common ground. Compassion doesn't mean forgetting or excusing what happened, but it can mean treating the other person with empathy—which may reduce anger or distress.  

Set boundaries

Consider setting new boundaries with this person. Healthy boundaries in relationships can ensure that each person sets rules for their time, space, belongings, body, and emotional energy. Try to communicate your feelings honestly and respectfully. 

In some cases, you might choose to change how you communicate with this person or how often you see each other. Boundaries can vary from one relationship to the next, so determine what might work best for you and then communicate that to the other person. 

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Seek closure through counseling

If you decide to let go of the anger you feel toward this person, you might notice that you struggle to do so independently. A counselor can help you process what occurred alongside your emotions and potential paths forward. If you face barriers to in-person therapy, you can also speak to a provider online through a platform like BetterHelp. 

An increasingly significant body of research points to online therapy as an effective method of helping people manage powerful emotions like anger. For example, in one study, researchers examined the effects of online therapy on individuals experiencing harmful or destructive anger, noting specifically anger's adverse effects on interpersonal relationships. The study found that online counseling could significantly reduce anger and aggression in participants. 

If you're living with strong emotions after being hurt, powerful negative emotions may creep up at unwanted and unexpected times. In these situations, it may be helpful to reach out for help. With online therapy, you can reach out to your therapist by message at any time and choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions.

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The desire to get revenge or hurt someone after you have been hurt is human, but following through on this desire may not be healthy. If someone has hurt you, consider trying the steps above to move forward more healthily, such as communicating with the person who hurt you, processing your emotions, practicing compassion, and setting boundaries. If you continue to struggle with what occurred, it might be beneficial to talk to a licensed therapist for support.
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