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When Your Spouse Says Hurtful Things (21 Ways To React)

Words are very powerful, much more powerful than we agree to believe. They leave a lasting impact on our minds. If it's a good compliment you received, you would often regurgitate it in your head and relish it. 

It's the same thing with hurtful statements. Oftentimes, we might forget the positive things said to us but we never forget the negative mostly because of the dent it left mentally and psychologically.  

Sometimes, it might take days or weeks or even months to get over it. If the issues are not resolved it might lead to far greater consequences like you both breaking up. 

Forgiveness is a key ingredient for relationships. As humans, we can say hurtful things especially in the heat of the moment, what is important is we learn to forgive and be able to move past it. 

You may say, “my husband is mean all the time, he doesn’t deserve forgiveness” well that’s the only way to stay above that negative energy. 

These are tips that can help you when your spouse says hurtful things.

21 Ways To Handle A Mean Spouse

1. Hold your response

Everybody's screaming, in the heat of the moment and hurtful words are flying over your head. It's expected that in adult relationships, there will be disagreements and quarrels. Sometimes hurtful things might be said that they do not really mean. They are just concentrated on defending themselves in that time and space. 

It's easier to bite back at them but this only leads to more damage. It's always better to hold off on your response. You will think better and be more rational after the conflict.

2. Sieving the words

A lot of times, your spouse doesn't mean what he says when he says those hurtful statements. It's all happening in the spur of the moment, he's upset, you're upset, and are both looking for a way to vent and express how you feel. However, it is important to sieve out such statements and disregard the things said that you know he actually doesn't mean.

3. Talk about it in a time of non-conflict

Talk about it in a time of non-conflict

Hurtful statements pierce through us whether we accept it or not, we may feel like we don’t care anymore, but it’s still hurtful. After the fight, we tend not to want to communicate for a while and go into rounds of silent treatment. It is always best to engage in the conversation to clarify the issues raised and the negative words spewed. 

Going back to the conversation is not about revisiting the fight but about reconciliation.

4. Find out what was behind the hurtful conversation

In most cases, the majority of the hurtful statements made were not said from a bitter place or from an innate desire to cause pain to the spouse in the relationship. Hurtful words are often used to express a concern they have harbored for a while. Sometimes it could be from them feeling like they are losing a battle

This however is not an excuse for hurtful statements but it will give you a better understanding of how your partner feels for future purposes.

5. Do not go to sleep angry

Marriage therapists always advise that couples should try as much as possible to resolve issues they have before going to sleep. There is no scientific explanation or theory to back this but it's just healthy for couples. Certainly, some issues might be far-reaching but it is advisable to iron them out before going to bed. It is important for your mental and spiritual well being.

6. Take responsibility for your part

Shifting blame from one party to the other might not be the best way to handle conflicts. It's important to accept when things are not totally the fault of your spouse. 

This implies that you recognize that whatever it is you're going through, however deep those statements cut, you have a role to play in it. Accepting it is the first step for reconciliation and one of the best ways to go about it. 

7. Don't live in the past but in the present

Whenever we struggle with forgiveness it's often because we are holding on to the hurt, dwelling in the past, and having a hard time letting it go. Instead of asking “why is my husband so mean and disrespectful to me” look for ways to move past it If the relationship means something to you, it's a waste of time focusing energy on things said in the past. 

If your partner says hurtful things and it affects you that much, it may be time to see a professional about it.

8. Tell them you've been hurt

Your partner is not a mind reader, if you are upset with your partner it's best to talk about it. Silence is not the best remedy, sometimes your partner might not understand what exactly they have said. It requires honesty and patience to understand fully what your partner feels when he says hurtful things and how you both can move forward and resolve the conflicts.

9. See a counselor

See a counselor

When he constantly says bad and disrespectful things about you, that can be damaging to your self-esteem. There are marriage counselors who are specifically trained in couple counseling and communication skills. It mustn't necessarily be a counselor but can be someone you both trust, with good intentions. The purpose of counseling is to help the two couples have a better understanding of each other. 

10. Be kind

Kindness is key in a relationship, there's so much negativity in the world, its best to show kindness to your partner regardless of how hurt you feel. Spread light, love, and joy in the relationship, even when your partner is doing the opposite. Your partner might be going through a tough time and might be failing to articulate it. Kindness will go a long way in dealing with the situation.

11. Be more giving

Relationships are hard no doubt and require more sacrifice than regular friendships. It's two people coming together to build a life together, no one said it would be easy. There will definitely be difficult times and happy times, however, through the good and the bad, be more giving. Be ready to forgive and move on if you have to

12. You have said hurtful things too

It's always easy to point fingers at people and be self-righteous. Reflect and remember that you just might have said some hurtful things to your spouse in the past as well. As humans, we can be mean and say hurtful things but remember nobody is perfect. We all get angry and spew negative words sometimes. 

13. Check yourself

A lot of people throw the forgiveness card around like it's one of the easiest things to do when it's not. I totally get that. Sometimes, mean words can be damaging to our esteem and mental health without the spouse's knowledge. 

Use this tool to check whether he actually is who he says he is
Whether you're married or have just started seeing someone, infidelity rates are on the rise and have increased over 40% in the last 20 years, so you have all the right to be worried.

Perhaps you want to know if he's texting other women behind your back? Or whether he has active Tinder or dating profile? Or worse yet, whether he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

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Remember to check in on yourself to measure the toll these words are having on you. You have to take care of yourself first before anything else, your peace of mind is paramount.

14. Forgive without punishing

Forgiving involves letting go completely without holding on to resentment or revenge. If you decide to forgive your spouse, do not do so with the intention to punish or get back to him. Control your emotions so it doesn't fluctuate.

15. Talk with honesty

Having an open conversation is relevant to maintaining the relationship. Once your partner is committed to working on the relationship, ensure that he or she has heard your complaints and sees your perspective, and is aware of the hurt that they have caused. 

Having a heart to heart conversation and speaking honestly could help deal with the situation. In some cases, an honest conversation might have negative implications, however, having security and confidence in oneself is important.

16. Be patient

Be patient

Resolving conflicts in a relationship takes a lot of patience. You have to be patient with your spouse while having the conversation and presenting your views. Not everybody sees it immediately. They might be consumed with what upset them in the first place too much to realize what they said hurt your feelings.

17. Attack the insecurity

What exactly was said that got you so fired up? Is there any truth to it? Do you think it's something you honestly have to work on? As much as you are upset, sometimes it can be bitter revelation and correction. Take time to analyze and see where you require work on yourself.

18. Feel the emotions

According to Luskin, anger is a normal response to hurt. Do not shy away from expressing your anger and hurt. Feeling the emotion is a way of eventually healing rather than tucking it away. When you tuck it away you postpone feeling the emotion.  It is also important to be in control of your emotions and not the other way round.

19. Practice stress reduction

If your partner says hurtful things, rather than lashing back at him immediately, take one or two deep breaths. Luskin asserts that these stress management techniques help to reduce rashness and instills calmness and rationality.

20. Remind yourself why you want this person in your life

Sometimes when we are spoken to harshly or the spouse acts mean, we are tempted to act immediately and make rash decisions that might negatively impact the relationship as a whole. In times like this, you might want to walk out of the relationship

It’s always best to remember the good times and what the person means to you. Do you think this can be resolved? Do the good times outweigh the bad? This doesn't mean you should stay if you are being maltreated. Reflect and make the right decision.

21. Walk away

Do not be afraid to walk away once the situation becomes toxic. If it is repetitive and your spouse constantly makes hurtful statements be sure to reconsider the relationship. 

A relationship is supposed to be healing and not wounding. If you notice that your esteem and self-confidence are being affected do not be scared to leave the relationship. Take time out and figure out what you want for yourself.


How do I deal with hurtful words from my husband?

Speak honestly with your husband expressing your displeasure at the statements he makes. Talking tends to help some couples figure out each other's perspectives. Sometimes your partner might not be aware his statements hurt you.

Why does he say hurtful things to me?

Although every relationship is different and not subject to the same theory, there are chances that he feels he might be losing a battle against you. He does this to defend himself. Truth be told, there might be cases where it is intentional and he wants you to get hurt.

How do you deal with hurtful words?

Try not to swallow them. Taking them to heart just might leave bitterness and an ill feeling against your spouse. Let it run over your head so it doesn't disturb your mental space, post-conflict, have a conversation with your spouse and discuss why he said the things he said.

Why do husbands belittle their wives?

This stems from deep-seated insecurity. The husbands probably feel belittled by their wives so they try to make their wives feel belittled. A conversation about this can help. sometimes they might not realize it as it’s from a bad childhood experience. They probably saw their dad treat their mum like that.

What are the signs of a toxic marriage?

Once the energy given by one spouse is not reciprocated, the marriage shows signs of toxicity. This is often because unreciprocated energy can be the foundation of many other issues the couple might face. Other signs include persistent unreliability, lack of trust, lack of communication, and a hostile environment.

To Sum Things Up

Spouses can drive us crazy, no doubt. It's never a one-way streak. Things will be said that aren't pleasant but how you deal with the situation is what truly matters.

I hope you found this article insightful. I would love to hear what you think in the comment section and remember to share the article if you liked it.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


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