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How to Tell a Man He Has Hurt You
At some point, the actions of others may result in you getting hurt. If a man has hurt you, you may struggle with how to tell him about your feelings. You can do this by spending some time thinking about the upsetting event and deciding how to express yourself. Then, plan to have the conversation. Afterwards, follow some key strategies to move forward and minimize your chances of being hurt in the future.
Deciding How to Proceed
Spend some time trying to understand your feelings.Before you rush off to confront the man who hurt you, ponder the situation and your feelings about it. Has something like this happened before? Could you be over-reacting? Spend some time reflecting on the situation and your feelings.
- This may work better through a journaling or free-writing exercise. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down everything that comes to mind about the situation.
- Although it’s smart to delay until you get your emotions under control, don’t wait too long, so that the other person doesn’t forget the offending situation.
- Regular journaling can help detect problematic patterns in your relationship.
Consider his point of view.Take some time to think about the man’s point of view and why he may have done what he did. Sometimes people may hurt you on purpose and other times it’s purely an accident. People may also be affected by other stressful things going on in their lives, so take a moment to think about anything relevant the man is dealing with.
- Considering his point of view doesn’t excuse his behavior. It may simply help you understand the situation more fully.
Attend to your emotional needs.If you are hurting right now, take the time to address the hurt first. If you do this, you will come off as calm and clear-headed during the interaction. So, practice self-care.
- This may involve taking a relaxing bath, eating nourishing foods, writing in your journal, spending time with friends, or just vegging out on your sofa for an evening.
Get a second (and third) opinion.Once you’ve gotten some distance from the hurtful experience, seek the input of a few trusted friends or loved ones. Tell this individuals about what happened. Then, get their feedback.
- How do they view the situation? Would they react similarly? They may be able to help you confirm that you were mistreated or see the situation in a new light.
- Get the opinion of people who aren't strongly biased for or against the person who hurt you.
Have reasonable expectations about his reaction.Think about how this person will react when you tell him he hurt you. You might use previous situations to determine what’s most likely to happen.
- For example, does he generally play the victim card or deny having hurt you? Does he apologize, but do so insincerely? Use what you know to set reasonable expectations about the impending confrontation.
- It can also be helpful to think about what you’re hoping to gain from the confrontation. The way you approach the conversation might change if you are looking for an apology vs. a change in behavior. Set reasonable expectations about your desired outcome.
Having the Conversation
Make a list.List out the things you want to talk about. List the ways you were hurt, as well as specific examples. When you're in the heat of an argument or otherwise running on adrenaline from the anxiety of the discussion, it can be difficult to remember everything or get sidetracked or distracted. A list will help.
- It can also be helpful to tell him what you need or want to move forward.
Practice in advance.Rehearse what you are going to say in advance. You may write it down and read it aloud in front of a mirror. Or, you might ask the friend who gave you feedback to engage in a practice dialogue with you.
Be honest and straightforward.When you confront the person, do so in a direct and honest manner. Don’t try to sugarcoat it or diminish the truth of how he made you feel. Also, there’s no need to beat around the bush—get straight to the heart of the matter.
- For example, you might say, “I was really hurt when you forgot my birthday last week. It made me feel unimportant to you.”
Keep an even, gentle tone.You don't want to come across as sounding over-emotional or dramatic. Sounding like that makes it harder to take anyone seriously. Instead, keep calm and the discussion will go much easier.
Use specific examples.Don't make broad generalizations about things he does that hurt you. This is difficult for people to understand and sympathize with, especially when they're hurt. Instead, use specific examples.
- For example, avoid statements like "You always leave me to deal with the hard problems" and instead say "I was upset when you left me to deal with Bob this morning. You did that last week, too."
Give him a chance to respond.Once you’ve expressed how you feel about the situation, allow him the opportunity to reply. Let him explain his point-of-view fully, even if you don’t agree.
- Practice active listening, trying to get a full understanding of what the other person is saying. What he says at this point will shed a lot of insight on how you may want to move forward.
- For instance, he might apologize and ask how he can improve his behavior in the future. On the other hand, he might defend himself, citing a busy schedule or stress as the reason he forgot your birthday.
Request that he make amends.If you would like to continue the relationship, you might express a desire for change. Tell the person, in as much detail as you can, how he can resolve the situation and what you need from them moving forward.
- For instance, you might say, “Special occasions are meaningful to me, and I’d like you to respect that. In the future, I’d appreciate it if you recorded birthdays and anniversaries in your calendar, so that you don’t forget them.”
- This works better than just complaining about your feelings. Have examples of what you want him to do instead and how he can go about doing it.
Recognize your role in the situation.A healthy approach to any sort of conflict or hurt is identifying ways your own behavior could change in the future to prevent a similar occurrence. Think back to the situation and determine if there was anything you could have done differently to soften the outcome.
- For example, if a man hurt you because he did not tell you he was in another relationship, you may have changed the outcome by asking for that information in advance and not assuming it (especially since open relationships are becoming more common).
- In the future, you might clarify with partners by saying, “Are you single?” or “Is there someone else?”
Set personal boundaries.If you are around people, you are bound to be hurt by them. However, you can lessen the hurt by setting and enforcing healthy personal boundaries. Boundaries can be described as your hard limits, the things you are not okay with.
Stand up for your truth without feeling guilty.Refuse to feel bad or apologize for trying to get your needs met or for setting boundaries in your relationships. Some people may be offended or shocked that you call them out for hurting you and violating your boundaries.
- If this happens, don’t feel guilty and don’t let that stop you. You deserve to stand up for yourself and your emotional well-being.
Let go if he refuses to respect you.If the man refuses to acknowledge that he hurt you, or if he continues to cross your boundaries, it's probably in your best interests to get some distance. Clearly explain to the person that if he cannot treat you with respect, he is no longer allowed in your life.
- This can be a really hard step to make, but you must in order to enforce your boundaries and sustain your own self-respect.
- Talk to a counselor if you are having trouble letting go of someone who does not respect your boundaries.
QuestionI saw my boyfriend walking with another girl? What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou probably shouldn't jump to conclusions. The girl could be a classmate, coworker, family member, or friend. If you're worried, just ask him about it.Thanks!
QuestionHow can me and my spouse have date night if we don't have a baby-sitter?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you have any neighbors or family members with children, you might offer to revolve baby-sitting duties. One week they might look after your kids while you go on a date and you return the favor the next week.Thanks!
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