5 Steps To Help You Get Through When People Hurt You
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 05, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Audrey Kelly, LMFT
There are all kinds of relationships in the world. You, of course, have romantic relationships, but you also have the relationships between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends, co-workers, and even acquaintances. The thing all these relationships have in common, however, is in all of them, each person has the potential to hurt the other. From anger to tears, despair to frustration, when people hurt you it can feel like the world is caving in around you. Luckily, there are some steps you can follow to help you get through.
Step One: Discover the root of the hurt
After someone offends you or hurts you in some way, your initial reaction may be to get rid of your negative feelings as quickly as possible. You may feel like avoiding the issue altogether and bury yourself in other activities like work, or a vacation, or another relationship, or an activity like online gaming or serial television watching, or even drugs. These are only temptations and they do not resolve anything and will divert you from learning from your experience. Instead, in order to grow from your experience, try to hold onto your feelings for a bit and ponder things. No, this doesn't mean cry until you exhaust yourself or stay as angry as you can, but it does mean that you need to take time to meditate on your emotions. Really think about why you are feeling the way you are, what did this other person do to you that affects you so much? You may even ask yourself how you got into the situation or if you did anything to cause the situation. Try not to be too self-critical as you think about what happened but try to be honest with yourself. Also, try some deep breathing and mindfulness exercises to help you focus and manage your feelings better. You can try some walking meditation where you try to focus your attention on some aspects of your surroundings to take a moment of rest from the distress. And if you have trouble figuring this out on your own, don't be afraid to enlist the help of a professional therapist to really help you understand your emotions.
Step Two: Put yourself in their shoes
After you have held onto yourself and your feelings and thoughts for a while, take some time to explore more deeply what has occurred. Try to understand why the other person did or said what they did. It is easier said than done, however, potentially extremely effective way that could help you to forgive someone for the hurt they caused you. For instance, say you are hurt because your best friend snapped at you, however, you know they are going through a pretty intense breakup. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand, while there is no excuse for their behavior towards you, there is a reason, and that reason - in this situation - is they themselves are hurting too. This insight should help to ease the hurt a bit and help you in your process to forgive and move forward. This is the road to that old saying, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." It has always been difficult. But just as we hope for forgiveness and understanding when we error, so do others. Of course, the situation could be more complicated and the forgiveness, when it comes, may not allow you to forget or even expose yourself to future potential harm in this matter.
Step Three: Try some self-love
After you've discovered the root and have a decent understanding of where the person who hurt you is coming from, focus on yourself for a while. There's nothing better to help you get over when someone hurts you than putting in a little extra "me time". Read your favorite book, take a bath with a glass of wine, get your sweat on during a workout and focus on getting your endorphins up to negate those negative feelings by doing the things you love. Now maybe the time to discuss things with a friend, which you didn't do in step one because you were dealing with your own feelings and holding on to your distress to the degree that you could. At this stage, you will make a much more cogent presentation of what happened and there will be much less likely that talking about it will lead to escalating your distress because you have already worked to manage your emotions and your understanding of things.
Step Four: Set your boundaries
After you've felt decompressed and more in control of your emotions, set aside a time to talk with the person who hurt you. Let them know they hurt you and explain why specifically you got affected with what they did. You have to lay boundaries and stand up for yourself if you don't want to continue to get hurt, and discussing the issue is a huge part of this process. If, however, the situation does not allow you to speak with the offender, for reasons of self-protection or non-availability, it is ok to write a letter to the person. You can decide later whether to send it or not. Try to avoid text at this point since it is subject to more misunderstandings and is often more impulsive in usage.
Step Five: Most importantly, when people hurt you, choose your own happiness
This is the most important step of all. You can go through all the steps listed above (and you should), but when it comes down to it, you may never get an apology for the hurt they caused you, and you have to be able to accept that, move on, and choose to be happy regardless. Whatever the type of hurt you have experienced, you must not take on the role of a victim or hold on to feelings of shame or anger or guilt. While you can learn from your feelings, you can also let go of them and allow yourself to be happy again.
Just remember, while you can't always control what happens to you, and there is no simple solution to get over with getting hurt, you can control how you react, so try not to let it gets to you, do what you need to do to be happy and make the choice to simply be happy or at least comfortable. A simple smile to a stranger in a store or even exercising a smile on your face while alone can help. Feel the muscles in your face as you make yourself smile and see if it doesn't help. You may even find yourself laughing with yourself.
If you have been hurt and feel the need to talk to someone who will be nonjudgmental and empathic you can see a counselor to help you through these stages. One option is online counseling such as the BetterHelp counseling service where many trained counselors can help you from the privacy of your home and on a confidential platform.