This is NOT to say you should always excuse a partner or friend who is mean and criticising and makes little to no effort to change, all because they had a tough childhood. If they are emotional abusers you need to walk away. But if you know the other person really has tried to change, then they might really not want to hurt you. They just need help.
Option #3 – They didn’t actually mean to hurt you. In fact they have no idea they did.
If you feel that everybody is out to get you, that every single time you try to be nice people hurt you? This option might be more the truth than the others.
It’s hard to consider that our belief we are always a victim is not necessarily reality. But it is necessary if we want to stop the endless cycle of being hurt.
If people are not understanding you enough that they do not know what does and doesn’t hurt you, what could that mean? You might need to consider if you are:
If you are not clear about who you are, what you want and don’t want, and what you accept but don’t accept? How can other people know when their words and actions will hurt you?
They didn’t ask you out not because they wanted to offend you, but because you send out the message you don’t want to be social. Or, if you never say no to people, they didn’t ask you to help them move house so that you feel used. But because they actually thought you liked to help.
Option #4 – They didn’t actually hurt you.
If a work colleague tells you, “I don’t feel good about this presentation we’ve done,” did they really hurt you? Or did you assume they were saying, “I don’t feel good about what you did in this presentation”? Or that they were implying it is all your fault?
For all you know, perhaps that colleague was actually saying they didn’t like their part of the work, or didn’t feel good about the topic. Maybe they were actually even trying to help you. They wanted to make the project the best it could be before your boss sees it.
It becomes about trying to see things from the other person’s perspective. They might have different beliefs and values. For example, if that colleague was actually criticising your work, from their value system honest criticism is a way of being kind. They thought you having a chance to do better before the boss saw it was doing you a favour. Sobering, isn’t it?
But sometimes, if we are claiming someone hurt us, it’s a form of manipulation. We claim we are hurt to get the other person to feel bad and then do what we want. Or we realise we have pushed them too far and they are getting upset. So we claim we are upset and divert the attention before they can voice their own upset.