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What You Can Do When Someone Hurts You

What You Can Do When Someone Hurts You

Have you ever felt angry and didn’t want to speak to someone ever again for hurting your feelings? It’s a common scenario: someone says something that’s rude, wrongly accuses us of doing something wrong, or in some other way makes us get reactive or defensive.

This can take us to the point where we most certainly don’t want to wish them well. But does harboring dislike, revenge, even hate, do us any favors? Does it really make us feel better in the long run or does it just get us more stressed?

It’s definitely important that we acknowledge what we are feeling—all the anger, unfairness, and aversion—and really honor how hurt we are. Repressing our feelings means they’ll most likely just come up again at some point, probably when another situation triggers a similar response.

But negative emotions can sap our energy, especially when we hold on to them. And they spread like wildfire, soon affecting our behavior and attitudes towards other people, like a single match that can burn down an entire forest.

And they create an emotional bond with the abuser that keeps our feelings alive, so that we keep replaying the drama and conflict over in our heads, justifying our own behavior and disregarding theirs. In the process we become a not-very-nice person.

Anger, aggression and bitterness are like thieves in the night who steal our ability to love and care. Is it possible to turn that negativity around and chill out so we can wish our abuser well, without necessarily needing to know them as a friend again? This may sound challenging and absurd but it can make life’s difficulties far more tolerable. How can we do this?

1. Recognize no one harms another unless they are in pain themselves. Ever noticed how, when you’re in a good mood, it’s hard for you to harm or hurt anything? You may even take the time to get an insect out of the sink. But if you’re stressed or in a bad mood, then how easy it is to wash it down the drain.

2. No one can hurt you unless you let them. Hard to believe, as no one actually wants to be hurt but it’s true. When someone hurts us, we are inadvertently letting them have an emotional hold over us. Instead, as spiritual teacher Byron Katie often says: If someone yells at you, let them yell, it makes them happy!

3. Respect yourself enough that you want to feel good. Deb did this with her father, an abusive and angry man. She made the decision that she wouldn’t respond to him with negativity, so she turned it around within herself and continued to wish him well. He died recently and Deb was able to feel total closure.

4. Consider how you may have contributed to the situation. It’s all too easy to point fingers and blame the perpetrator but no difficulty is entirely one-sided. So contemplate your piece in the dialogue or what you may have done to add fuel to the fire. Even when he feels he is 100 percent right, Ed always looks at a difficulty to see what was his part in it.

5. Extend kindness. That doesn’t mean you’re like a doormat that lets others trample all over you while you just lie there and take it. But it does mean letting go of negativity sooner than you might have done before, so that you can replace it with compassion. Like an oyster that may not like that irritating grain of sand in its shell but manages to transform the irritation into a beautiful and precious pearl.

6. Meditate. Meditation takes the heat out of things and helps you cool off, so you don’t over react. A daily practice we use is where we focus on a person we may be having difficulty with or is having a difficulty with us. We hold them in our hearts and say: May you be well! May you be happy! May all things go well for you!

How do you deal with someone who has hurt you? Can you see how to bring more kindness into your life? Do comment below.

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:


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11:36PM PST on Nov 8, 2013


If you didnt say it, then dont Own it. The he said she said they said rubbish is also part of Chinese Whispers.... where is the truth when each person has used their own needle n thread to create what they think is a masterpiece and dont care if there is a consequence.

Usually, such nastiness is said by Bullies to make them feel inflated,

Inflated Egos in people are offensively arrogant and show up in a crowd where people dont want to know them. Like attracts like............keep smiling when its difficult to do so.

11:33PM PST on Nov 8, 2013

A great article to read, thank you and fantastic answer comments.

I am usually in deep shock to hear such slag people say about people it that it takes my breath away. Then its really astounding when I for instance and not tooting my flute here, that there are people who just slag on me, for the hours I give freely and voluntarily. Or I hear stories returned to me which have been woven with lies, innuendo's and finished up being totally wrong is nothing short of Chinese Whispers. I find it astonishing what people say to each other let only what they say about a person behind their back/s from heresay.
It is extremely disturbing and hurtful.
I am like a lady who has a long post who now finds it so hard to get close to people on any level b/c of the uncaring, unloving, unkind and offensive remarks No one is perfect but the more you watch your words ever so carefully, the worse the slag is.
No one wants to be slagged on. Its very hard to swallow but we can beat ourselves up but in the end we must keep walking to keep our sanity.

LIES full of vitriol and venom has to come from a person all bent out of shape and a lot of the problems arent YOURS but THEIRS. Ask my Personal Trainer, he is an amazing help.

If you didnt say it, then dont Own it. The he said she said they said rubbish is also part of Chinese Whispers.... where is the truth when each person has used their own needle n thread to create what they think is a masterpiece and dont care if there is a consequence

10:38PM PST on Nov 8, 2013

Hmmmm, easier said than done, I have reservations about this one!

10:21PM PST on Nov 8, 2013


9:59PM PST on Nov 8, 2013

everyday i always pray to god for her happiness and prosperity in spite of this her behavior is irritating to me. I firmly believe in god one day everything will be OK.......

9:55PM PST on Nov 8, 2013

my best friend of so ever in my life, now she doesn't talk to me and she ignores me what to do i am not able to forget her.

2:24PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Right now, this article has helped me relieve my grief greatly. Its amazing how much something as simple as this can console my soul. Thank you author.

7:22AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

I definitely appreciate this article. I hope it helps me during these coming few months.

11:49PM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

I've had much counseling on this subject & have come to learn that it does'nt matter how nice, loving, compassionate etc I am to people, I still don't trust them simply because they stab me in the back anyway! I've had a LOT of emo, mental, physical & Spiritual abuse in my life. I refuse to allow anyone else to hurt me. I have let go of my anger of the folks who abused me in my life but I also have pulled away from 95% of people as my safety net.I vowed I would NEVER allow anyone else to get close enough to me to do these things again! Anybody reading this who is thinking "Oh she must be a horribly unhappy person cuz she does'nt have people in her life". On the contrary, I am very happy because I don't have to put up with people & their dysfunction & toxicity. What few people I do have around me, I deem safe, but if at any time I feel they are no longer safe emotionally for me to be in their presence, then they are marked off but not without an explanation of why. Boundaries are VERY important in ALL friendships & so is communication. When we don't have either, the relationship is doomed. Unfortunately I feel this is a disease running rampant in this world much more so than what most folks want to admit! I'm no psychologist or shrink, I've learned my philosophy from "ON THE JOB TRAINING" so to speak. My mom used to tell me before she passed away,"That jungle out there will eat you alive!" No truer words were ever spoken. If you want loyalty, get some pets.

10:39AM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

My sister had been my best friend until she married and came to adopt her husband's values of being cheap and selfish. She became very distant and curt with me and increasingly more critical of me within a year of my giving birth to a son out of wedlock. I tried to overlook all of it but when she started putting me down in front of my parents, niece & son, I became very upset. The negative statements about me have continued for years even though I speak with her less than a few hours per year by phone & she has no knowledge of any events big or small occurring in my life. Over the last 15 years she has screamed & cursed at me, told me I was a bitch who needs therapy, & actually assaulted me. It is embarrassing! I believe that she has never thought through my position in any situation she interferes with. She has never acknowledged her inappropriate responses or behavior and never apologized when clearly in the wrong. This has hurt me so much, yet I don't show emotion in response. I continue to be myself around her and to be as good a sister as I can under the circumstances. Whether or not it is me or her isn't the point anymore. The fact that she attacks and avoids me and my son & continues criticism of me instead of being a compassionate sister is the issue.

I just sent her a pair of earrings & cds for no reason. I do this a lot because I miss her, love her and think of her every day. Hopefully, she will be kind again someday.

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