How many times has someone told you that you hurt your feelings, and your response was to get defensive? It’s a natural reaction to want to explain yourself and clear your name. No one wants to be the cause of someone else’s pain.
But when you rush to defend yourself, it invalidates the other person’s experience and makes them question the validity of their own emotions.
Jeff Guenther (@therapyjeff) is a licensed therapist, and he’s sharing a message on TikTok about inappropriate responses to someone who is expressing their hurt feelings.
“If I tell you that you hurt my feelings, you don’t need to defend yourself and get all prickly about it. You don’t need to be mad or disappointed that I’m experiencing feelings,” stated Jeff.
It isn’t necessary to try to convince the other person that you didn’t hurt their feelings. In fact, that is considered a form of gaslighting and doesn’t really help with getting to the root of the problem.
The truth is that you don’t get to tell someone you didn’t hurt their feelings. You don’t have the final decision on whether someone else feels hurt or not.
You may not have meant to cause them distress and were acting with good intentions, but the fact of the matter is that they were hurt by your behavior.
Dismissing the other person’s feelings by telling them they are too sensitive also works to shift the blame onto the person you wounded and allows you to avoid accepting responsibility. Furthermore, if you try to dodge or evade the other person’s feelings, it will only make them feel worse.
“Definitely don’t laugh at them, mock them, make fun of them, or tease them about having [feelings.] That is a huge red flag and probably a dealbreaker, so be careful,” said Jeff.