“Hurt people, hurt people” is a common phrase used to describe why people hurt others. When a person is hurting, he or she often will often take this out on others by doing things to hurt them. If you are involved in a situation that puts you in contact with people like this, there are ways to prevent it from hurting your own feelings. You should always remember that most people who seem to act hurtful are simply hurting inside themselves.
Listen to what the person who is hurting you is saying. Keep in mind that this can happen in many ways. For example, a friend might yell at you for a decision you made about a new car purchase. You should let him talk to you about this even though it is none of his business. He might simply be jealous because he could not afford a new car; therefore, he might tell you that you should have picked a car with better gas mileage or that was a different color. The decision for you to buy the car had nothing to do with this person and therefore do not take his unkind words personally. Let the person say what he wants to say, without letting it upset you.
Find the source of their hurt. For example, if someone is saying unkind things to you about your spouse, he might be dealing with a bad relationship himself. This person may have a source of pain that you can help rid himself of. Spend time discussing this person’s life to try to determine the source of this pain. Ask him questions about his life and try to get him to open up. If you can help him deal with his hurts, he may stop taking them out on you.
Demonstrate forgiveness and patience. When a person hurts you, try to be patient with her and have an attitude of forgiveness. Do not get mad or angry at her, but focus on letting the hurtful words she says go. If a person was abused as a child, her actions and words may be filled with anger. Let the person talk without interruption. Listen and try to point out her pain to help her cope with her feelings.
Avoid defending yourself. A person who hurts you probably does not mean any of the things she says to you. There is no point arguing with her or trying to defend yourself. Becoming defensive can only heighten the hurtfulness in both of you and can escalate the anger in you and her. Many times, an argument escalates because someone feels like they are being attacked by the other person. If you feel attacked, you naturally begin to defend yourself. Instead of doing this, gently tell the person that he is hurting your feelings.
Ignore him. If a person continues to hurt you, simply ignore him. Avoid being around this person and when she says things that hurt you, ignore them and change the subject or talk to someone else. Some people seem to love arguments and conflicts. If nothing you do seems to help, just walk away.
Take the honey approach. Many people pour poison or gas into the fire by attacking a person back. Instead of this, try complimenting the person, being agreeable with them and focusing on the positive things this person says and does. For example, if someone tells you that you are stupid, agree with the person and tell him that you agree that you are not the smartest person in the world. By responding like this, the person may not know how to reply.