5 Steps To Help You Cope When Someone Hurts Your Feelings

Updated January 18, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most of us will experience hurt feelings due to an interaction with a friend, family, romantic partner, coworker, or another person throughout our lives. However, the emotional pain you’re experiencing may not need to negatively impact your life. You may begin to cope by introspecting to discover the root of the hurt, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, focusing on self-care, setting boundaries, and choosing to experience happiness. However, some situations may be challenging to cope with on your own. If that’s the case for you, you may benefit from working with a therapist, either in person or online.

Step One: Discover The Root Of The Hurt

After someone offends you or hurts you in some way, your initial reaction may be to eliminate your negative feelings as quickly as possible. You may feel like avoiding the issue altogether, which can be normal. You might bury yourself in other activities, like work, a vacation, a relationship, online gaming, or watching TV. However, these are generally only distractions, and they may not resolve anything. Instead, they may keep you from learning from your experience. 

Instead, in order to grow from your experience, you might try to fully experience your emotions. You might take the time to think about why you are feeling the way you are. You could ask yourself why the situation is affecting you so deeply. You may even ask yourself how you got into the situation or if you did anything to contribute to it. 

It's generally best not to be too self-critical as you think about what happened, but it’s often beneficial to be honest with yourself. You could also try some deep breathing and mindfulness exercises to help you focus and manage your feelings in a healthy way. You could also try some walking meditation, where you go on a walk outdoors and focus your attention on your surroundings to take a moment of rest from the distress you may be experiencing. 

Step Two: Put Yourself In Their Shoes

After you have experienced your feelings and thoughts for a while, you might take some time to explore the situation more deeply. It may be helpful to try to understand why the other person did or said what they did. This may be easier said than done, but you may find that understanding the other person’s perspective makes it easier for you to accept the situation. It may not take away the pain you experienced or lead you to automatically forgive the person who hurt you, but it may help you open your mind.

For instance, let’s say you are hurt because your best friend snapped at you. However, you may know they are going through an intense breakup with a long-term partner. Although this may not excuse their behavior, it may help you understand why they may have acted the way they did; they’re likely experiencing a lot of distressing emotions themselves. 

Step Three: Try Some Self-Love

After you've discovered the root of the hurt and have a decent understanding of where the person who hurt you may be coming from, it can be beneficial to focus on yourself for a while. Spending extra time on self-care when you’re feeling hurt can be an excellent way to nurture yourself. You might read your favorite book, take a long bath, enjoy a fun workout, or prioritize spending time outside in the fresh air. 

Now may also be the time to discuss things with a friend. At this stage, you will likely make a much clearer and more logical presentation of what happened, and it may be less likely that talking about it will escalate your distress because you have already worked to manage your emotions and your understanding of the situation.

Step Four: Set Boundaries

After you've decompressed and gained better control of your emotions, you might set aside time to talk with the person who hurt you. You could let them know they hurt you and explain why, specifically, you were affected by what they did. You may need to set boundaries and stand up for yourself if you don't want to continue to get hurt, and discussing the issue can be a huge part of this process. It can be helpful to clearly explain what type of behavior you will not tolerate and how you will respond in the future if they display that behavior.

Conversely, if you don’t wish to talk with the person who hurt you or have chosen not to continue that relationship, you might write a letter about the situation to get your thoughts in order. You may not need to send the letter, but establishing the boundary, even if only for yourself to carry into other relationships, can be helpful.

Step Five: Choose Your Own Happiness

Choosing your own happiness may be the most important step of all. You can go through all the steps listed above, but when it comes down to it, you may never receive an apology for the hurt you experienced. It can be best to accept that, move on, and choose to be happy regardless. Taking on the role of a victim or holding on to feelings of shame, anger, or guilt may do you more harm than good, and it isn’t likely to affect the person who hurt you in the way you may want it to. While you can learn from your feelings, it can also be possible to let go of them and allow yourself to be happy again.

You might try to remember that while you may not always be able to control what happens to you, you may be able to control how you react. It may be helpful to try not to let the situation affect you long-term. Instead, you might do what you need to do to be happy and content with your life. 

Online Therapy Can Help You Recover From Hurt

Often, emotional pain stems from the thoughts we have about the situation we’ve experienced. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can address these thoughts and feelings by helping you recognize and change unhelpful thought patterns, thus affecting your emotions and behaviors as well.

Many therapists use CBT to help their patients, but traditional in-office therapy may not always be a convenient or accessible option. Online therapy may be more accessible for those with busy schedules, transportation challenges, or anxiety about visiting a therapist’s office in person.

As this study explains, online CBT can be as effective as in-person CBT for a variety of mental health concerns. If you believe working with a licensed mental health professional would be helpful for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get the support you deserve.

Conclusion

It can be common to experience emotional pain due to someone else’s actions, but it may be possible to cope and move on. You might begin by taking time for introspection so that you can determine why you’re feeling so hurt. The next step may be to put yourself in the other person’s shoes so that you can begin to understand their perspective. Then, you might focus on self-care and self-love before setting boundaries with the person who hurt you. Finally, you may overcome the emotional hurt by choosing happiness and doing what is necessary to feel content with your life. If you’re having difficulty getting over a hurtful situation, it may be helpful to try online therapy.

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