When your spouse says hurtful things, you instantly feel hurt and betrayed. The person you love the most treats you like they don’t care about your feelings. As this realization caves in, it makes you question your whole relationship.
Hearing hurtful things from the mouth of someone who means the world to you isn’t something you can easily cope with. You instantly feel like you’ve been stabbed in the heart.
This is the person who should protect you from the world and be there for you whenever you’re feeling down. Right now, they’re the ones who are causing you pain.
Even though you love your spouse and you’ve been through a lot together, you instantly feel like going into defense mode. If they can treat you this way, then why shouldn’t you return in the same manner?
You feel like you’re losing your mind. A rush of adrenaline hits you and you get this need to mirror their mean behavior.
But is this the right way to deal with anger caused by your spouse? Should you let the fury take control over you or is there something else you could do in a situation like this?
You’ll find out the answers if you keep on reading.
What to do when your spouse says hurtful things
Every relationship has its ups and downs. You and your partner will cherish many happy moments together, but there’ll also be those you’d rather want to forget about. Forever.
All couples fight and, from time to time, we all say some mean things to each other. We make mistakes and unintentionally hurt our loved ones, without even realizing the issue at first.
And once the dust settles, you realize that you haven’t treated your partner right. If you care about them enough, you instantly apologize and try to explain the reasons for such behavior.
But the thing is that this all happens afterward, once the emotions cool off and none of you are furious about what just happened. However, it’s that instant reaction that can set the path for the rest of the argument. It’s the way you react when your spouse says hurtful things that matters the most.
So, here are some tips you should follow if you ever find yourself in a situation like this. When your spouse hurts you with words, this is what you can do.
1. Don’t bite back
When your spouse says hurtful things, you need to choose to be a bigger person. Even though every fiber of your being wishes to attack back, choose to rather stay calm until the situation settles down.
Your emotions are raging and you feel like fighting back and getting even with your spouse. They said something that hurt you deeply and you now want them to feel the same way.
But when you think about it, you’ll realize this isn’t the way to go. There’s no point in fighting with each other until you have nothing to say anymore.
A relationship should be about two people making effort to understand each other and work on their issues. It should always be about taking the high road and getting to the bottom of the issue instead of reacting in anger.
You can easily give your spouse the same treatment and make them feel the same way you felt when they hurt your feelings. You can instinctively defend yourself by heaping words on them that hurt equally bad.
But the point is, doing so gets you nowhere. Back and forth, you and your partner would keep fighting until you realize that you no longer have anything to say to each other. That’s when your relationship would fall apart and it would be too late to do anything to fix it.
But if you choose to calm down first and then work on solving the issues, you’ll actually save both of you from doing and saying things you’ll regret later on. So, take a deep breath, and no matter how hard you feel this need to bite back, choose to stay quiet. Let the anger evaporate and then figure out your next step.
2. Give yourself some time to cool down
After you’ve made the decision not to fight back until your anger subsides, you also need to keep in mind that you’re allowed to take some time before continuing the argument. You have every right to take a break before making the next move.
Reacting right away would only spiral issues out of control. You’ll keep pulling in one direction and your partner in the opposite. Instead of finding a solution for what just happened, you’ll simply end up wasting your time and nerves without getting any results.
That’s why you have every right to take a step back and cool down before having a conversation with your spouse. Take a walk on your own or simply spend some time alone in a room, away from your partner. That way, you’ll be able to pull yourself together and calm yourself down.
If you take a breather, you’ll also be able to think more clearly about the whole situation and its consequences.
3. Try to understand the reason behind the hurtful words
When your spouse says hurtful things, you immediately think that they no longer care about you. You believe that their intention was to hurt you and make you suffer.
But it doesn’t always have to be this way. Of course, there’s a chance that your partner no longer loves you yet doesn’t know how to express their feelings. In that case, they would try to push you away by being mean.
On the flip side, maybe they didn’t intend on treating you that way but the words simply slipped out. Or it could be that there’s some deeper meaning standing behind everything.
Maybe they’ve been trying to tell you something for a while but you simply ignored their words. All of the unheard feelings accumulated and your partner blew up without even realizing the damage they caused.
So, to be sure what’s going on, try to analyze their words. Does it sound like you already fought over a similar issue? Could it be that your spouse simply felt like there’s no point in talking to you since you never showed any desire to change your behavior?
Or could it actually be that your partner no longer cares about you. If that’s what you suspect, you should try and identify the other major warning signs that their feelings for you are gone.
4. Understand your feelings when faced with such words
When your spouse says hurtful things, it’s okay to feel upset and angry about them. It’s okay to be sad for the way they’re treating you.
Not only it’s okay, but it’s completely normal that you feel that way when faced with such behavior. Ignoring their words and living your life like nothing ever happened can only damage your relationship on a deeper level.
The more you pretend like everything’s fine while you’re hurting, the faster you’ll start resenting your partner. And when that happens, your relationship is already on its downward spiral. And on the way down, you’ll keep losing each other until it all falls apart.
If you don’t want that to happen, then sit down with yourself and understand the feelings you’re experiencing. As long as your partner’s hurtful words make your heart ache, it means that you still care about them.
That means that there’s a reason you should try and work things out before it’s too late.
5. Don’t put yourself down for something your spouse said
In the heat of the moment, your partner will probably say some words that will hurt like hell. By doing so, they can make you doubt your worth and eventually, lose your confidence.
That’s why you must understand that they don’t actually mean half of the things they said. The reason why they chose such harsh words is because of all of the anger they felt.
It all popped into their head when emotions were running high, and they couldn’t prevent themselves from saying it all out loud. They probably realized their mistake the moment they opened their mouth, but it was already too late.
So, you shouldn’t put yourself down because of something your spouse has said. Their words aren’t reason enough to make you question your worth since they’ve been said out of anger.
That’s why you should stop taking them close to your heart and instead realize that they carry no value at all. Your partner doesn’t mean them. Keep that in mind and stop thinking about them all the time.
6. If you have children, don’t bring them into the argument
If you and your spouse have kids, then you know you need to leave them out of the argument. They don’t need to know about the issues you’re facing, since it only ever makes matters more complicated.
This problem should remain between the two of you and your kids shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. Doing so can only ruin their relationship with one of the parents, which is completely wrong and unfair.
So, avoid involving them and resolve your issues in private, without getting your children in the middle of this mess. You need to figure it out on your own, without using your kids as judges or pawns.
7. Have a talk with your partner
When your spouse says hurtful things, the two of you need to sit down and talk it out. After the anger has settled and your heart is no longer pumping with rage, you need to make time to discuss things in private.
Your partner needs to know how you felt when you heard them saying all those hurtful things.
However, the point isn’t to attack your spouse and make them feel bad. Instead, you should help them understand your emotions and the way they made you feel at that point. That way, they’ll gain deeper insight into your thoughts and feelings, and will realize the damage their words had on your relationship.
Instead of starting your sentences with “you,” rather choose to begin them with “I.”
“When I heard you saying those words to me, I felt truly said. I was upset that my partner could even think of something like that. My heart was shattered when I heard you thinking such things of me.”
Once you explain your feelings to your partner, it’ll be easier for them to understand the consequences of their actions. That way, they’ll know how they shouldn’t behave in the future.
It’ll also motivate them to talk about what’s bothering them instead of expressing their emotions through anger and hurtful words.
8. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes
Right now, you probably don’t want to try to understand your partner’s actions when they’re the ones who hurt you. Their behavior caused you pain, not the other way around.
But it’s vital to put yourself in your partner’s shoes if you want to solve this issue. At this point, both of you need to realize each other’s feelings and emotions you felt at the time of the argument.
Maybe your partner had a rough day and simply took their frustrations out on you. Perhaps you did something hurtful without even realizing it and that’s why they snapped. The possibilities are endless, so you need to figure out what actually happened in your case.
This doesn’t mean that you’re looking for excuses for your partner’s behavior. Instead, you simply want to understand the other side of the story as well.
When your spouse says hurtful things, you should discover the reasons for their behavior. What triggered them to treat you the way they did? There’s an explanation and you must get to the bottom of it.
9. Take all the time you need to heal
Hearing your spouse saying hurtful things is never easy to process. It’s also tough for you to heal afterward.
Chances are you’ll keep replying to their words in your head, trying to figure out if they truly feel that way about you. Do they really think everything they told you?
Even after you had a conversation with your partner and got to the bottom of the issue, you’ll probably still have a hard time getting over the things they told you. This is completely normal and you’re allowed to take as much time as you need to heal.
Your relationship won’t magically go back to its perfect condition and that’s fine. As long as you know that what you have is worth fighting for, you shouldn’t give up.
10. Eventually, forgive and try to forget
After you’ve expressed your emotions freely, at some point, you need to forgive your partner and move on.
Arguments are a normal part of every relationship and as long as you’re able to find a solution, you should also be able to stop mentioning the issue all the time.
You had a fight, your spouse said some hurtful things, but you also made sure to talk it out and resolve everything. After that, there’s no need for reflecting back on it when you’ve already decided to forgive and move on.
11. Focus on the positive aspects of your relationship
When your spouse says hurtful things, you immediately forget about all the great moments you also share. You ignore all of their good sides and simply focus on this one thing.
You keep repeating it in your head and even after you resolve the issue, you still keep coming back to it. Instead of working on strengthening your relationship, you keep rehashing the things your partner said to you, even though you apparently got over it.
This is the worst thing you can do after an argument. When you’ve already spoken about it and found a solution for it, then there’s no reason it should be the only thing on your mind.
Don’t ignore all of the great moments you’ve shared together only because of one disagreement. Right now is the best time for you to focus on the positive sides of your relationship and to remind yourself why you decided to marry this person.
However, if the same issue keeps repeating itself, then that’s a whole other story…
12. Reflect on your relationship
We all make mistakes and say things we don’t mean. Unintentionally, we end up hurting people we care about.
But the moment we realize what we’ve done wrong, we genuinely apologize and don’t ever go back to committing the same errors. Once we realize we shouldn’t treat people we love that way, we resolve to change.
When your spouse says hurtful things to you but realizes the mistake before it’s too late, they also make a decision to change for the better. However, if they continue to treat you the same way over and over again, then you should know there’s something wrong with your relationship.
Does your partner keep treating you the same way, even though you told them it bothers you? If in your case this scenario keeps on replaying, it’s time to truly reflect on your relationship.
You may just be married to a manipulator or a narcissist who doesn’t care about your feelings. At this point, there’s not much you can do to save your marriage.
Your spouse will probably continue to treat you poorly and won’t ever apologize for their actions. The truth is that they don’t care about you enough to see they’re hurting you.
Due to that, they won’t even bother to change since their happiness is what matters. And yours doesn’t.
13. Talk to a close friend or family member
When your spouse says hurtful things, it can start to feel like you can’t trust anyone. Their words act like evidence of betrayal and at that point, it seems like you’re alone in this world.
When your partner can hurt you this much then what can you expect from others? Aren’t they then capable of causing you even more pain?
But you must bear in mind that you’re not alone and that you have people who care about you. If you don’t feel that way about your spouse right now, then you can always rely on your close friends and family members.
Reach out to them and ask them for advice. Even if they don’t know how to help you, at least they’ll be there for you to listen to what you have to say.
They’ll support you and be your wind at your back, no matter what decision you make. They’ll also help you realize you shouldn’t tolerate repetitively bad treatment. That if you ever find yourself in a situation like that, it’s best to leave.
14. Consider marriage counseling
When your spouse says hurtful things, then the two of you should consider couples therapy. Maybe the help of a third person who’s also a professional is exactly what you need right now.
Maybe you need someone else who is objective to guide you through the process of fixing things.
Even though it can feel scary letting someone in between you and your partner, sometimes, it’s the best option you have. When you can’t figure out the solution on your own, then you need a professional to help you solve the issues you’re facing.
In that case, marriage counseling can either save your relationship or make you realize that you have nothing to fight for. No matter the outcome, you’ll still be the winner.
15. Leave if nothing changes
Once you’ve tried everything but your partner doesn’t show any will to change, there’s only one thing to do. Leave.
Deciding to end a marriage is never an easy choice, especially if you have kids. You think that divorcing your spouse would hurt them the most so you choose to stay even though you’re no longer happy.
But you must remind yourself that, ultimately, your happiness is most important. When you don’t feel satisfied, everything else will suffer as well, including your children.
So, when your spouse says hurtful things over and over again and shows you they’re not willing to change, then you must walk away. It’s better to build your life from scratch than to hate yourself because of the one you’re living right now.