If you’re old enough to read this article, then you’ve undoubtedly been hurt by someone by now.
Each of us will inevitably be mistreated countless times throughout our lives, but while many hurts pass quickly, others are devastating and cause profound distress.
Here, we’ve got 12 tips to help you get over someone who treated you badly, focusing specifically on mistreatment in romantic relationships:
Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you work through your thoughts and emotions regarding this person so that you can let them go, move on, and make a fresh start. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.
1. Feel all the feelings so you can move through them.
Whatever it is you feel about this mess is absolutely valid, so don’t think for a second that you’re being pathetic or overly self-involved by being upset.
You likely have a ton of huge feelings roiling around inside you, so be sure to honor yourself and whatever you’re feeling by acknowledging those emotions.
It’s only by leaning into and accepting these feelings that you can move through and past them.
When we try to repress emotions that we don’t want to feel, they don’t simply go away.
Much like tossing items into the back of a closet, they end up accumulating and smothering us when we least suspect (or want) them to.
Determine the best way to accept and work through these feelings, and devote time to those pursuits.
Some people find journaling helpful while others prefer to be physically active, and others feel best discussing their thoughts and feelings with others.
Leaning on your social circle during this time may help you get through it, especially if your friends and family members are well aware of what you’ve been experiencing.
Alternatively, spending some time talking with a trained therapist or counselor may help.
This is often beneficial if you don’t have a close circle of friends, or if there are aspects of what happened that you are too embarrassed for those close to you to know about.
Since therapists are bound to patient confidentiality (with a few caveats when it comes to harm), whatever you talk to them about remains in a vault.
In cases where talking about your mistreatment may get back to the one who hurt you, potentially causing greater damage, therapy may be the best course of action.
Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
2. Don’t blame yourself.
A lot of people (especially perfectionists) tend to blame themselves for their mistreatment, at least on some level.
Some berate themselves for not being more aware of clues and red flags early on, believing they should have prevented themselves from being mistreated.
Others may feel they’ve somehow brought the bad treatment upon themselves by not being “enough” in the relationship.
These responses are often learned behaviors after experiencing abuse during one’s formative years, especially if the abusers were never held accountable for their actions.
But the truth is, you don’t deserve to be treated badly by anyone.
We all slip up at times and may hurt our loved ones accidentally (such as by speaking without thinking or kicking them in our sleep), but that’s vastly different from being treated horribly by a partner—whether that’s just once, or repeatedly over a long period.
The person who hurt you chose to do so of their own volition, not because you deserved it.
Write this on the wall if you need to so you can see it regularly to remind yourself.
The only responsibility you should take in this situation is awareness of their horrible behavior so that you’re vigilant about recognizing it if it happens with another partner in the future.
Should you come across someone who starts to follow the same behavioral patterns as the one who mistreated you, you’ll be able to nip that in the bud and run swiftly in the opposite direction.
3. Decide whether it would help or hinder you to air your grievances.
Some people find it helpful for their healing process to let the person who hurt them know how their words or actions affected them. In contrast, others feel better by simply cutting that person out of their life forever without any further contact.
At this point, it’s a good idea to think about whether it would be beneficial for you to tell them how you were affected by their behavior.
This will depend a great deal on what it was they did, and what kind of a person they are.
For example, letting a narcissist know that they hurt you is basically giving them a gold star for crap behavior. They thrive on that kind of knowledge, so expressing your hurt to them would be empowering and may serve to enable them further.
If you’ve been hurt by a narcissist, your best bet is to go no-contact for the sake of your own well-being.
That said, if someone hurt you for reasons other than narcissistic torment, and they can’t quite understand why you’re cutting them out of your life, it may be beneficial to both of you to spell out exactly what they did.
It can often be a huge learning experience for someone to wrap their head around the fact that actions or words that they thought were reasonable had devastating effects on the other person.
If you confront the person who treated you badly to spell out precisely why you are cutting them out of your life, not only will you get much-needed closure on your own terms, but maybe they’ll be able to do better with others in the future.
4. Avoid future self-sabotage with self-analysis.
Have you ever had a friend who has ended a relationship with an abuser, only to go back to that person for some inexplicable reason?
Many people choose to forget or gloss over mistreatment, deciding that things “weren’t so bad after all”, thus perpetuating unhealthy cycles indefinitely. Other people end up dating the same type of person repeatedly, never learning from their awful experiences.
This is where honest self-analysis comes into play. You can try and figure out what it is about this person that’s holding you back from moving on, or work out if there are traits they share with others in your life that are causing an unnecessary tether.
For example, some people repeat cycles in their relationships until they finally get the result that they had been hoping for with someone else.
Others date people who remind them of a parent or previous partner who mistreated them, in the hope that they’ll earn the love from this stand-in that they didn’t receive from the other.
Alternatively, they may tolerate mistreatment from those whom they feel are out of their league because they don’t want to risk losing them.
Did you tolerate behavior that you knew was inappropriate because you were physically attracted to this person?
Or perhaps past conditioning from family members made you less likely to defend yourself?
Alternatively, did you choose to be with this person because they reminded you of someone else you once loved?
Again, you are not to blame for their mistreatment, but by understanding your motivations, you can gain clarity about what happened, thus ensuring that history doesn’t repeat itself.
5. Shift location.
One great way to get over someone who treated you badly is to get away from them physically.
If the one who hurt you was your live-in partner or spouse, then go stay with a friend or family member until you have the wherewithal to pack up and move out (or kick them out, depending on circumstances).
Alternatively, if this was someone you didn’t live with but were dating regularly, aim for as much distance as possible. After getting your keys back so they can’t get into your house, avoid any place where you might bump into them.
If possible, take a vacation and book a flight to somewhere a thousand miles away.
Turn off your phone if possible, and be completely present in a place that holds absolutely zero memories of the two of you together, and is unlikely to trigger negative emotions about this person.
A change of scenery can help to kick-start the healing process because you aren’t constantly reminded of the one who hurt you, everywhere you look.
If everything in downtown Detroit reminds you of the jerk, then the banyans and mangroves growing near a Thai beach will be a perfect distraction.
6. Do all the things you felt you couldn’t do when you were in the relationship.
Was there anything that you felt you couldn’t do when you were in a relationship with this person?
If so, make it a point of doing everything that you weren’t able to while you were together. This makes the breakup more of an advantage than a disadvantage and brings sweetness to a situation that would otherwise be dark and damaging.
If part of their awful treatment of you centered around personal preferences or pastimes, now is your carte blanche to take full pleasure in everything they criticized, condemned, or otherwise tried to keep you from doing.
Do the hobbies that they called “stupid”. Wear the clothes that they insulted or told you looked ridiculous on you. Enjoy the food that they hated and that you were never “allowed” to indulge in when you went out together.
In essence, celebrate your freedom from this wretched specimen in every way you possibly can.
7. Try new experiences, especially those that fill you with a sense of excitement and self-sufficiency.
One of the best and most empowering things I did after an ex of mine treated me horribly was go camping on my own.
This was a rather terrifying experience for someone who had lived in a downtown hub for her entire life, but it was also tremendously fulfilling.
I had to ensure that I was prepared for everything that I might need on this trip, from shelter and sturdy clothes to food and cooking equipment, as well as self-defense items and tools.
It was exhausting to chop firewood for the first time, and my first attempts at cooking over an outdoor fire were interesting, to say the least, but I cannot begin to express how amazing it was to feel that self-sufficient.
When someone has made you doubt yourself, insulted you, made you feel small or otherwise worthless, or disrespected you to a point where you don’t even know if you have any value as a human being, then showing up for yourself and succeeding in doing something challenging—especially something that you find scary or intimidating—can do wonders for rekindling your sense of self.
8. Spend time outside, especially with animals.
If you aren’t the camping type (or if you would feel unsafe going down that route), just spending time outdoors regularly can be immensely healing.
This can involve walks in the woods if there are any nearby, or just feeding birds and squirrels in a local park.
Nature is a great healer, and you’ll be amazed at how calm and clear you feel after spending some time with furry or feathered friends, or simply from strolling around, regardless of the weather.
Numerous studies show that spending time outside—especially if you’re interacting with animal friends—can help with all manner of mental health issues, including the anxiety and depression that often ensue after we’ve been mistreated by others.
The natural world can be a lot gentler and more trustworthy than people, and there’s a good reason why animals are used for emotional support and therapy on a regular basis.
They love unconditionally, and their gentle affection and playful natures can inspire happier feelings within us.
9. Do something to help another.
Sometimes, one of the best ways to get over the hurt that someone has caused us is to alleviate the hurt that someone else is feeling.
We may not be able to mend our broken hearts or damaged psyches immediately, but knowing that we can bring tender, loving care to someone else who is suffering can be healing to both parties.
If you find that spending time with animals is healing for you, then aim to put time and energy into helping animals in need.
For example, you could foster an orphaned or injured dog or cat who needs more care than local shelters can allocate for them. Alternatively, you could volunteer to walk shelter dogs or assist with care at a local animal sanctuary.
If you’re allergic to animals (or prefer human interaction), consider volunteering at a hospital or care facility.
When your attention is focused on providing care for another who is hurting, you’ll find that you’re far less fixated on the hurt that was done to you.
The person who hurt you doesn’t deserve another moment of your time or energy, whereas these vulnerable beings—whether animal or human, wherever your heart is drawn—benefit immensely from the love you have to give.
And you have so much love to give.
10. Get rid of all their stuff.
We hold onto mementos (like souvenirs) to remind us of things we’ve experienced.
As such, getting rid of any of the items that remind you of the person who treated you badly can be super helpful for getting over them.
Few things can create setbacks to the healing process like having memories prodded, especially if they’re memories of the good times you shared.
People tend to gloss over traumatic memories over time and attempt to focus on positive ones instead.
This is why you’ll often see people return to exes who abused them: they’ll focus on how nice they were on occasion or how much fun they had on that trip, and that maybe they’ve changed for the better, etc.
These musings are often triggered by finding old photos, or by reminiscing over past birthday gifts they found at the back of a drawer.
Believe me when I tell you that one of the most cathartic things I did after my ex and I split was to burn mementos in a massive backyard bonfire.
This may be a bit extreme for you (or even illegal where you are) so feel free to decorate a garbage bin and throw all their stuff into it with great relish instead.
Physically exorcising every last bit of their influence from your life has an incredibly freeing, cleansing effect, akin to taking a long, hot shower after mucking about in the garden for days.
11. Nurture yourself with as much joy as possible.
What do you do when everything around you is dark and you want to see clearly?
You turn on a light to dispel the darkness.
Similarly, if you want to dispel the negativity associated with the person who mistreated you, one of the best antidotes is to flood your life with light.
Essentially, immerse yourself in as many heart-expanding, life-affirming, joyful things as possible.
This goes beyond that initial trip away from the one who hurt you and spending time with close friends and family. It involves choosing to find joy in every experience imaginable, and to keep on nourishing yourself with life-affirming experiences and decisions.
Spend time with positive people who make you laugh and encourage you to explore beyond your comfort zone.
Surround yourself with glorious colors, flavors, textures—basically, everything that tantalizes your senses in the most wonderful ways possible.
Get more sleep than you think you need, and listen to music that makes you want to sing and dance along.
There’s a startling amount of joy to be found in this gray world, so aim to celebrate life (and your sweet self!) with every possible opportunity.
Speaking of choices:
12. Make a conscious decision to not dwell on the hurt they caused you.
Although some say that they “just can’t help feeling” a certain way, it’s important to remember that we have a lot of personal influence on what we think or feel.
As such, dwelling on the hurt that someone has caused you is a conscious choice, at least to some extent.
It’s normal to feel hurt when someone treats you badly, but if you’re still feeling hurt about it several months or years after the fact, then that’s partly a decision you’ve made.
Unless you want the memories of what this person has done to shape and dictate your life from here onward, then you’ll need to curb your instinct to dwell on their awful behavior towards you.
Yes, this person treated you badly. Maybe their words or actions caused some deep wounds, but every wound heals over time unless we pull and pick at it.
This type of self-destruction prevents us from being able to heal and move on, and instead intensifies the damage and keeps us focused on it.
Whatever we give our attention to ends up growing, so decide where you want to devote your time and energy and shift your focus in that direction.
We “pay” attention: our energy is literally a currency that we spend in the universe. So where would you like to spend yours? On the awful person who hurt you? Or on transforming yourself into the best and most incredible version of yourself imaginable?
Transmute this tragedy into an opportunity for self-growth, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into a pursuit that you believe in or will benefit you immensely.
Being treated badly by another person is a truly awful thing to experience.
Nobody deserves to be mistreated, and the effects of disrespect, discourtesy, and/or abuse can last a long time, if we let them.
Sadly, humans tend to learn the most through painful experiences, so the best thing we can do in circumstances like this is to use them as horribly effective learning opportunities.
Think of everything you’ve learned from this experience, and recognize that after going through all of this, you’ll never let anyone mistreat you the same way again.
Still not sure how you’ll be able to move on from the hurt and pain of being mistreated by someone you loved and trusted?
Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.
Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
While you can try to work through this situation yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through without ever being able to resolve the issues that affect them. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.