Hurtful words from your husband can sting long after the words are uttered. If your feelings have been hurt as a result of words exchanged during an argument, it may take you some time to forgive him. Learning to forgive and forget is difficult, but it is a necessary step to heal when you feel betrayed and hurt.
Validate Your Feelings
If you feel angry, hurt, disappointed or sad when hurtful words have been directed toward you, know that these are valid feelings. Although your husband may not have intended to hurt you, the fact remains that he did. Evaluate what you have lost in the relationship to help you let it go, suggests Sharon Gibson, relationship expert and founder of Conflict to Peace in Relationships, a website dedicated to couples. Express your feelings and be completely honest with your husband when explaining how you feel about the hurtful words. It’s important for him to hear how his words affected you.
When you are angry, it’s natural to lash out at others, including your husband. Exchanging hurtful words again won’t help you heal. Instead, vent about the situation to a trusted friend or relationship counselor, or write about your feelings in a journal, suggests Gibson. You need to grieve the loss of trust on your own terms. Vocalizing the pain can also help you identify what you are feeling.
Many times, disagreements between partners occur because of unrealistic expectations. If you and your husband lash out at each other about the same issues repeatedly, it may be time to re-examine expectations. Eliminate arguments and hurtful words by outlining respectful behavior to be employed when discussing sensitive or controversial issues. Let your husband know that the use of hurtful words will not be tolerated, and that you will end the discussion if they are used. Although you can’t control the behavior of others, you can set realistic expectations that demand respect, says Fred Luskin, faculty member at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
Focus on the Positive
When partners exchange hurtful words, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of the relationship. Instead of analyzing the negatives, shift your focus to the positive so you can begin to heal and forgive your husband. Think about your fortunes and the kindness within your husband, suggests Luskin. Show him that, although you are disappointed in his behavior and use of hurtful words, you still genuinely care for him. Stress the need for time to process the exchange of words so that you can rebuild the trust in your relationship.