How To Deal With Hurtful Words In A Relationship (From Both Perspectives)

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Have you noticed that your partner has been a bit snappy with you lately, maybe saying mean things and lashing out more than normal?

Or maybe you’ve gone to bed a few nights recently and thought over all the things you’ve said, and realized that a few of them crossed the line.

It’s normal to upset each other (even intentionally) in a relationship, but it can easily go too far and become an issue.

If you think hurtful words are becoming a problem in your relationship, you need to address the issue and find a way to prevent it from getting worse.

Luckily, we’ve got some great tips you can follow to ensure you get back to a good place with your partner, regardless of which of you are throwing mean words around.

How do you know if there’s a problem?

You might be thinking ‘How do I know it’s actually bad, or whether it’s normal?’

Well, a lot of us have experienced some nasty words being thrown around in our relationships, so it can be hard to know when something has gone too far and become an actual issue.

While there isn’t necessarily a measure for this, or a number of times it happens before it’s a bad thing, there are signs you can look out for – one of which is that you felt the need to search for this article!

Does it feel like it’s habitual as opposed to circumstantial? That might mean that you say mean things to your partner just because you’re so used to saying them, not because something has actually happened.

Is it negatively affecting someone’s self-esteem? Do you feel bad about yourself or worthless when your partner calls you names?

Would you feel comfortable with this behavior if your friend’s partner was doing it to them? If you would flag it as an issue in someone else’s relationship, you need to flag it as one in your own relationship.

Why is my partner lashing out at me?

While there isn’t an excuse for nasty behavior, it might help to figure out where it’s coming from.

This might be something you can discuss with them later down the line, but for now, let’s look at some reasons behind this kind of behavior:

Anger

Your partner might genuinely be angry, but not necessarily with you.

When we are angry and try to contain it, it often bubbles below the surface and something tiny can tip us over the edge and cause that feeling to release.

If your partner has some anger issues, or a very stressful job, it might be that they’ve been bottling up their rage all day at work and finally snap when they get home because they no longer ‘need’ to hold it together for professional reasons.

Frustration

If your partner often snaps rather than shouts, they might be feeling agitated and annoyed.

Similar to above, these feelings can sit below the surface and bubble away. You might notice that they silently seethe or seem very resentful of you before they snap and say nasty things.

Low self-esteem

Those of us with low confidence levels can sometimes try to put others down in order to feel better about ourselves.

Maybe your partner is jealous of your success, or wishes they were as confident as you in some things, so they try to bring you down by saying hurtful things.

Unresolved issues

It might feel like your partner has random outbursts of anger, but there might be more to it than that.

If they are regularly triggered by the same thing, there is something that they’re not saying.

Maybe they snap at you every time you mention something or do something specific, but they haven’t actually expressed why that thing triggers them. We’ll go into this later on.

How can I get over the mean things they say to me?

Some things you shouldn’t try to get over – if these hurtful words are becoming a genuine, serious issue, you can seek help. We’ll go into this in detail below!

If you think that these nasty comments are unintentional or short-term as opposed to threatening to you, there are some ways to move on from them.

Remember that they probably don’t really mean what they are saying. When we are angry or upset, we often lash out and just try to hurt the other person because of how we feel.

Have you ever called a friend a b*tch, even if they’re not, just to hurt their feelings because they’ve hurt yours? It’s not nice to admit to doing, but we’ve all had a fight that just kept on escalating!

Bear this in mind when your partner snaps at you and says hurtful things. It is unlikely they believe what they are saying – otherwise they wouldn’t be with you.

Instead, they are just trying to hurt your feelings in any way possible. Mature? No. Relatable? Yep.

It’s important to note that your partner wanting to hurt your feelings, consistently, is never okay. If you feel like they are intentionally making you feel bad, over an amount of time, you may be in an abusive relationship and should seek outside, professional help.

How can I stop them from being nasty to me?

As we’ve mentioned above, there are a number of reasons your partner could be saying hurtful things to you. In order to really move past this issue, the root cause needs to be addressed.

Yes, you can work on being less upset by some of their throwaway comments, but they also need to take some responsibility if things are truly going to change.

Nothing is ever solely your fault, and you should not have to simply take their abuse every single time an issue like this arises.

Communicate honestly with them – let them know that their words upset you. You shouldn’t do this when it’s actually happening, as tensions will already be high and it is unlikely that you’ll get the response you want. Instead, wait for a calm moment when you two are alone and mention it.

Don’t tattle-tale and start citing direct quotes from specific days, but check in with how they’re feeling:

“You called me some nasty names during a fight the other day, and I just wanted to check that everything is okay between us.”

“I got upset earlier because of some things you said – is everything okay?”

“I’ve noticed you getting more frustrated recently, do you want to talk about anything?”

These kinds of intros keep things even and calm, and promote open conversation between the two of you.

They might not realize that they’ve been doing it, so might feel a bit offended and get cagey – after all, nobody likes being called out for bad behavior!

If this happens, take a step back and say you can revisit the topic at a better time, you just wanted to check in with them.

The more you vocalize a) your feelings and b) your concern and support for them, the more likely they are to really take note of what you’re saying and start to change.

Be mindful of the circumstances – if they have just lost their job, or are going through some family issues, it is likely that this behavior will be short-lived. That doesn’t make it excusable, but it does mean that you should try not to take it to heart and wait for it to blow over.

Of course, there are times when you cannot take it any longer. If this is becoming a serious issue that is affecting how safe you feel, or your personal welfare and well-being, you should speak with a loved one you trust or reach out to professionals who can best advise what to do.

Remember that your safety always comes first, and you are well within your rights to walk away from a relationship that is putting any part of your mind or body at risk.

How can I stop myself saying hurtful things to my partner?

If you’ve noticed that you are the partner who says hurtful things, you really need to look at why that is.

And go deeper than ‘they annoyed me’ or ‘I had a bad day at work.’

We have all experienced those emotions, but some of us can manage them better and have appropriate responses to them. It is your responsibility to moderate your own behavior.

If your partner has brought this up with you already, you need to apologize to them and acknowledge that this is an issue. Sure, we all snap and say nasty things at times, but if it has warranted your partner approaching you about it, it must be pretty bad.

Remember that they are not blaming you because they hate you, or because they want to break up with you – they want you to work on this behavior so that the relationship is happy and healthy, because they love you and want to be with you.

Coming at it from this perspective will help you be more proactive when it comes to making a change. You need to find ways to support your partner in supporting you.

Think about how it must be making your partner feel, and use that as your moderator. Apologizing is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you keep doing the same thing over and over again.

You need to show that you are committed to making your partner feel loved, valued, and safe, by implementing long-term changes that prioritize the relationship.

Why am I saying nasty things to my loved one?

Look at why it’s happening.

Maybe you have some issues with anger management that you could get help for.

Maybe there is something else going on that is triggering these emotions – can you be honest with your partner about what is really causing your outbursts?

Are you mad at them for flirting with someone months ago, and you’re punishing them instead of addressing the issue and communicating with them?

Are you angry with your boss and, instead of telling them, you’re taking it out somewhere ‘safe,’ where you won’t get fired for shouting?

You might be projecting your feelings about other things in your life onto your partner, as mentioned above, or it could be due to low self-esteem. If you are feeling resentful about your lot in life, or you’re not feeling confident in yourself, you are more likely to try to bring others down – even those you love the most.

You could also be saying hurtful things to your partner because there is something about the relationship that just isn’t quite right.

Rather than treating them badly and leaving them to figure out what’s wrong between you, be an adult and communicate.

Whichever side of the hurtful words you are on, there are steps you can take to improve your relationship. Remember that you need to be your own priority, even if that means walking away when it gets too much.

Still not sure what to do about the hurtful things you or your partner (or both) say? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.