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How to React When Your Spouse Says Hurtful Things & Keep the Calm

Relationships are hard, and sometimes arguments can get out of hand. So, here’s what you need to do when your spouse says hurtful things.

In a perfect world, you would never have negative feelings towards your partner. But this isn’t a perfect world. There are times where you can’t stand your partner, and whatever you do, there’s an argument awaiting you, especially when your spouse says hurtful things.

And when two people butt heads, it happens that one party may accidentally say something hurtful. That doesn’t mean your partner is a bad person. When you’re in the heat of the moment, things slip out of your mouth and take the argument down a completely different road.

What you need to do when your spouse says hurtful things

Maybe your partner commented on your family, about your appearance, or an insecurity you have. Either way, it wasn’t right for them to do that. But it was said; it’s out there now, and there’s no going back. All you can do is move forward. But that’s easier said than done.

[Read: Why fighting in a relationship is important and advice for how to do it right]

How do you move forward after your spouse says hurtful things to you? Well, it’s not exactly easy, but it can be done. And if you feel unable to forgive, well, really think about what you want.

It’s time to heal the wounds from when your spouse says hurtful things.

#1 Don’t attack back. When someone says hurtful things to you, it’s easy to attack them back with words you know will hit the spot. Just because your spouse decided to say something that hurt you, it doesn’t mean you should do the same. It’s hard to hold your tongue when you’re emotional, but you need to take the high road. [Read: 15 rules to be a good partner in a relationship]

#2 Take some time to cool off. Your spouse just said something extremely hurtful to you. Now is not the time to continue your argument. Nothing is going to be solved. Instead, take a step back and cool off.

You need some alone time to re-evaluate the situation and think about what was said and how you feel about the entire situation. [Read: 6 things you should never, ever say in relationship fights]

#3 Talk to your partner. But not right away. After you’ve cooled off a bit, sit down with your partner and talk about the argument, specifically discussing what they said. Your spouse knows what they said, and they know how their words hurt you. But, you also know that what they said didn’t come out of anywhere. There are obvious underlying problems that you should talk about.

#4 Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. This is going to be hard, especially when you’re in the middle of an argument, but look at the situation from your partner’s point of view.

This will also help you understand how they felt during the argument. Instead of retaliating or plainly wondering how to react when your spouse says hurtful things, try to see where you two differ in opinions and viewpoints.

#5 Write down how you feel. Not everyone is able to verbally express how they feel. You may have a partner that isn’t the best listener either. Whatever the case may be, write down your thoughts and feelings. After an argument, write down how you felt and what the argument was about. It’ll not only help you express your emotions to your partner but also help you release your negative emotions. 

#6 Remember, your feelings are valid. You may have told your partner how their words have made you feel. Now, the best-case scenario is that they realize what they said and apologize. Worst case, they tell you you’re overreacting and emotional. If it’s the latter, your feelings are completely valid. You have the right to feel whatever you’re feeling. [Read: Selfishness in relationships and 15 tips to do the right thing]

#7 Think positive. Yes, your partner said hurtful things to you. And I understand that your partner is probably your best friend, the person you confide in and lean on. But, you cannot let their words affect you negatively. I know that it’s extremely hard to let things go, but don’t let your partner’s word weigh you down and create insecurities.

#8 Take your time to heal. When your partner says something hurtful to you, this isn’t going to heal overnight. It may take a couple of days, even weeks until you feel yourself again. Not everyone is so quick to forgive and move on when they’ve been hurt by their partner. And that’s perfectly fine. Take all the time you need. [Read: How to fight fair in a relationship and grow closer]

#9 Reflect on the relationship. Is your partner always saying hurtful things to you? Or is this is a one-time thing? If your partner is always saying hurtful things to you, then you should really look at your relationship and see if you want a partner who is emotionally abusive. Yes, everyone makes mistakes, but this shouldn’t be a constant issue.

#10 Seek help. Listen, relationships aren’t easy. And even though you may love your partner, you may have a different way of expressing yourselves. The lack of communication and understanding could cause frustration, which is why your partner says hurtful things. That’s just one possibility. The best way to find out what’s going on is by going to couples’ counseling. [Read: How to know if relationship therapy can help your romance]

#11 Talk about it. Again, I want to really emphasize this. If you don’t appreciate things your partner says to you, talk about that with your partner. Your partner may be completely unaware of how their words affect you. Whether they’re aware or not, they also need to know where your boundaries are.

[Read: 8 ways to avoid the awkward tension after an argument]

Sometimes we say things we later regret. When your partner says hurtful things to you, follow these steps and heal yourself.

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