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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Has your spouse ever really hurt your feelings during an argument?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (21499points) October 12th, 2014

When home truths start coming out, tempers start to fray and bitter yet true words come to the surface, what happens? Do we accept the criticism and try to play things down? Do we really start considering packing up ( because when we start to hit wounds with heavy artillery, it’s the beginning of the end )? Do we hit back softly with our own weapons? I think that once certain stuff is said, there is no taking it back, it really cracks the glass. My point is, should we let pride and dignity take over and get our ticket out of the relationship/marriage no matter how high the price?

Is it better to play deaf and dumb and let some things evaporate? How do you handle conflict?

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26 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

He has said things that hurt my feelings. A lot of the time it seemed as if he didn’t realize how seriously I might take a comment.

I don’t hold onto anger much with my husband. He does so many wonderful things that the negative stuff I tend to push aside.

I guess it would depend how horrible the thing is. Sometimes the things that hurt me the most are the truth. Usually, he says those things to help me, not to hurt me, even though it feels terrible.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

At first let things evaporate, meaning diffuse the situation and yes some things can be taken back if you are willing. For any normal person to do that indicates they are suffering in some way and if you don’t know find out. Letting those things go is powerful and healing it gives you immense power and control over your own emotions if you can manage to control the reaction to lash back. If the comments and meanness keep happening it’s time to reevaluate your situation. I don’t think I have ever been that way in an argument with my spouse. We hardly ever argue though, I diffuse the situation or simply leave.

LornaLove's avatar

I am the one that says horrible things and I know that they cannot be undone. I look back and wish I hadn’t is all I can say. I think it could be a case of not saying anything for ages, or asking for change then just getting bloody mad!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

We’ve had and have arguments and they can be fiery, but he doesn’t attack me personally to the point where my feelings are hurt. He tells me when I’m being unreasonable, unfair or whatever might be bugging him, but he usually says it in a very considerate way. We’ve been together for about 15 years now and I can only remember one occasion where he’s attacked my personality in an argument. I’m more likely to hurt his feelings. He has a very high level of emotional intelligence and much higher than mine I suspect! Thinking about it makes me realise how lucky I am.

In my previous marriage, hurt feelings were a much more common scenario. Although my ex was quite passive aggressive too.

To a point, you have to let things said in the heat of the moment go but if someone repeatedly attacks you verbally, then no. That’s abuse and I don’t think you should try to brush it off. Some counselling can help people to learn to argue more effectively.

We watched a great presentation on relationships from John Gottman the other week. It talked about his research into relationships and what characteristics those that survive display. This is the link to Part 1 and there are 4 parts.

anniereborn's avatar

He’s never hurt my feelings horribly. However there have been times I have felt wounded. Usually he didn’t realize that what he said would hit me that deeply. And he has never said anything to hurt me intentionally. Usually it’s just out of frustration of things currently going on. We just talk it out and apologies are said. I have done it to him as well. But it’s never been anything so horrible that I thought it was worth even considering leaving him because of.

zenvelo's avatar

Mine did. Mine did in ways that critiqued my humanity. It was the beginning of the end, I left within two years.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Yes. It’s out there , you can’t take it back. I left . Thank god.

whitenoise's avatar

Actually never. Nevertheless, I feel I may, on occasion, have hurt my wife’s feelings, though.

We always try to argue about a topic rather than about ‘us’. I have so far never been angry about my wife, in cases I was angry, it always was about something that happened. Mostly about how we deal with external problems.

The times I did hurt my wife’s feelings were, when I was not expressing myself clearly enough or when she projected interpreted motivations onto my words. We always fixed things, though.

Either way, I would never forget that I love that wonderful woman. Neither during the good, nor during the bad times.

I would therefore always try to avoid saying stupid things. Especially during an argument.

Smitha's avatar

I don’t remember my husband saying anything that hurts me too badly, normally am the short tempered one and I just say something at that moment and then repent. I know quarrel may end but the words once spoken cannot be taken back. Nowadays am practising to be patient. Normally when there is an arguement my husband would wait for things to cool down and then address the comment I make. In most arguements either husband or wife don’t realize what they’re saying and how hurtful even the smallest comment can be!

livelaughlove21's avatar

No, not that I can recall. I’m sure I’ve hurt his feelings before, not that he’d ever admit it. I think women are generally a lot more vicious than men during arguments. We go for the jugular, even if we don’t yell and make a scene. I don’t purposefully try to hurt his feelings, but I could afford to be a bit nicer when I’m frustrated with him.

I honestly can’t recall the last big argument we had. We have little ones, usually caused by me being in a bad mood and taking it out on him, but we don’t typically yell at each other.

flutherother's avatar

My second wife tried to at times but because I knew she was trying it wasn’t so effective. I soaked it all up, didn’t respond much and then left.

ucme's avatar

That could never happen, because i’m intelligent enough to know that stuff said during our rare rows is out of context, said in the heat of the moment.
Any rows we do have usually end up with us both in fits of laughter anyway.

Pachy's avatar

Sad to say, she did. Sadder to say, I hurt back.

tedibear's avatar

Yes. The worst one was being called incompetent. He tried to take it back but doesn’t realize that things can’t be unsaid. I don’t bring it up, but did tell him at the time how much it hurt. It still does sometimes, but I do not whack him over the head with it in other discussions or arguments.

JLeslie's avatar

After reading more of these I really can’t imagine one time in a moment of stress and anger during a marriage where someone I love and trust flings something verbally hurtful staying with me forever like a permanent scar. I mean, I have made mistakes too. If you hold such high, perfectionist standards for others, don’t you have to do it for yourself also? It’s that or you are a hypocrite. If you hold the high standards then you create a situation in life where you over stress yourself being self critical. If you are a hypocrite everyone around you will see it.

It’s not an excuse to abuse each other verbally. I’m just commenting on the fact that in relationships there can be misunderstandings, stress, and if we are lucky as we sort through messy times in our lives it winds up in laughter as @UCME mentioned, which thank goodness happens for my husband and me at least some of the time.

Also, a paragraph @whitenouse wrote really hit home with me. The times I did hurt my wife’s feelings were, when I was not expressing myself clearly enough or when she projected interpreted motivations onto my words. We always fixed things, though.

janbb's avatar

My Ex and I rarely fought. He just bottled up all his anger, then said he didn’t love me anymore and left.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Consider yourself blessed for not having felt the sting of something so vile and mean that it betrays the trust you speak of. That’s what happened to me.

chewhorse's avatar

Unfortunately it’s a human impulse to strike back with insinuations and past sins that were often forgiven long ago but now have some leverage during an argument. This is what hurts the most, not hearing the words but discovering that your other half lied so long ago and is now using it against you so you dredge up a past dependency and a whole new argument arises that has nothing to do with what was started in the beginning. My wife and I never did this but I knew several friends who broke up because of it.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I have had things happen that cause me to lose trust in the person I am dating, luckily that has never happened with my husband to an extreme. I have had moments where my antennas were up, but short lived and rare luckily.

I am not judging your reaction, because first of all I have no idea what was said to you, so I’ll trust you that it was mean and devastating.

But, I think about a family member who divulged some things in her childhood that really bothered her and when her husband brought up that she was behaving in a similar way to her mother who she had complained about or when he said he could understand why people perceived her a certain way, she took it as a betrayal in trust. I have no idea your situation, I am not assuming this situation is anything like yours. Here’s the thing, her husband was right. When my husband does that to me I try to stop and think about how much I disliked that behavior in my father and hope I can be self aware enough when the mirror is put up by my husband to improve. It hurts me, but my husband says it to help me, not hurt me. It depends how it is done of course, but I know the family member I mentioned will never take any comment like that as constructive.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think that’s the key @JLeslie ‘it depends how it’s done’. Our partners have to be able to tell us when our behaviour is unreasonable or not helping us, but it’s about criticising the behaviour not the person. As you’ve mentioned here, when someone attacks who you are rather than how you’ve behaved, it hurts the core and those words can’t be erased. They stay in your mind.

In those YouTube videos I posted the link to, Gottman talks about the various things that predict relationship failure but his presentation was also realistic. People have disagreements, they argue and they don’t always get along. What makes the difference between a relationship surviving and thriving is how those messages are delivered and how the couple respond to disagreements.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The things that my ex said that hurt me the most were things that weren’t even true. It was like he didn’t even know who I was after 10 years.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III That’s interesting. I can understand whybthat is so hurtful, because I personally hate to be misunderstood and misperceived. All along I have been thinkingbthat maybe the most hurtful things are ones that are the truth, because we don’t want to see ourselves that way, but now I see that I was probably wrong. The most important thing isbthat the other person was mean. Not just once every 5 years during a seriously difficult time, but repeatedly, ongoing, and especially of they purposely want to hirt you that is particularly awful. A lot of people in the Q are talking one time. Do you think one bad moment of name calling or hirtful words would stick with you forever? So, much that everythng is tainted forever more?

Dutchess_III's avatar

About 8 years into our marriage he started accused me of flirting with other men when I wasn’t. Like, we were at a club and I was shooting pool. He swears he saw me tuck a dollar in a guy’s front pocket then rub him. I pointed out that A) I wasn’t playing for money that night and B) I never lost a game so even if I had been playing for money I wouldn’t have lost any.
It really, really, REALLY hurt because I would never do such a thing, married or single.

Of course, it turns out he was cheating on me.

But, to answer your question @JLeslie I think a ONE time moment can be forgiven and hopefully forgotten.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III THAT would really bother me. It doesn’t surprise me at all he was projecting. Most cheaters are extremely possesive and jealous.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It really, really stung. That wasn’t the kind of woman I was.

Broken_EarthAngel's avatar

Unfortunately yes, there has been times when it hurt more than others, but when I finally gave it back to him, he couldn’t handle it, I called him an emotional bully and one day your going to come home and Ill be gone, I find it worse when he involves his Family, it has nothing to do with them, fight your own battles you started, whats puzzles me is how people can dish it out, but they just cant take it, perhaps if people would treat others as they would want to be treated themselves. I’m no longer able to play nice, not when I don’t deserve being disrespected. For all the emotional bullies out there, you don’t know what you have till its gone.

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