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How to Deal With Hurtful Things People Say to You

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


No matter who we are, someone is going to say something that hurts our feelings sometimes. Those things might be intentional, and some of them are said unintentionally. Some of those things are unwarranted and never should be said at all.

We might respond in different ways, or we might not respond at all. So, what is the best way to respond to mean remarks someone says to us?

Silence Might Be the Best Options

The Bible says silence is often the best option even though it is usually hard to keep our mouth closed when someone says something mean to us. If we refuse to engage in an argument with them, maybe they won't say anything else.

According to Proverbs 13:3, the person who "keeps his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction." We know Jesus kept silent on many occasions when He could have said something. He could have argued His case many times, but He didn't say a mumbling word because it would not have helped His situation. Therefore, we should follow the example of Jesus and choose not to engage in a confrontation with someone who says something mean, derogative or negative to us.

Why Do People Say Mean Things to Others?

People say mean things to others for many reasons. Most of the time, it is to a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, and even to a member of a person's own church. Sometimes people say mean things just because they can get away with it.

It is true that hurt people hurt people. The person who hurt you is hurting in some way himself. In a lot of cases, the person who says mean things to you actually admires you and might even be jealous of you. He is unhappy with his own life, and he wants you to be unhappy with your life as well.

Sometimes people say cruel things to others when their own lives are falling apart. When people are in turmoil, they might lash out at someone who they think is doing better than they are.

Someone may say mean things to others to control them and to boost their own ego. They put people down thinking they will be elevated by doing so. They are quick to say, "If I were you..." or "I would do it this way" while ignoring that God gave everyone free will.

It is a double whammy when people hurt you with their words. Then when you point out to them that they have hurt you, they criticize you by saying you are thin-skinned and accuse you of not being a good sport about the mean things they have said to you.


Consider the Character of The Person Who Speak Mean Things to You

Mean things that are said to you might hurt more depending on who said those words. Was it a friend who was just joking with you? Was it a family member? Was it your boss or co-worker? It might hurt even more when you think that people wouldn't treat you that way.

When you think about the character of the person who spoke those mean things to you, you may discover that their words are more a reflection of who the person is and not much about who you are.

Take Inventory of Your Feelings

Examine why you feel bad after what was said. Did it bother you because the person lied and there was no truth in it? Did it bother you because there was truth in it? Were you hurt because of the tone of the person's words? Were the words spoken in private or in the presence of others?

Being shamed in front of others magnifies the hurt, and it also could make you hold on to the hurt much longer.


Should You Forgive the Person Who Hurt You?

If you have done something to someone to provoke them to say mean things to you, then apologize. However, if you have done nothing and the person says mean things to you without a just cause, don't put yourself in a position for that to continue to happen.

It is sad, but it means you must make the decision to stay away from that person as much as possible. If you are around someone who habitually puts you down, then choose to stay away from the person. It doesn't mean you won't be talked about behind your back, but you will not be there to hear it.

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