Community, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Hurtful words

This week in Australia, there has been many hurtful words slung in the fight for supplies in supermarkets – primarily panic buying on toilet paper. The premise is flawed as we have enough supplies and manufacture it here. But still, folks panic buy a trolley load! Brawls have erupted in the toilet paper isles of the major supermarkets! Hurtful words have been said.


Feeling Irritated

A few weeks ago I was discussing what happens when we feel irritated by someone else’s words.

I asked:

What do we gain by feeling irritated? Is there any kind of benefit in this?

  • We get to feel like a martyr – meaning I AM still okay so you are NOT
  • We get to blame others for our feelings
  • We get to feel unhappy and it’s someone else’s fault

Ultimately, all of us need to take responsibility for our own feelings and aim to be more accepting of other people, their temperaments and priorities.

But what about the other side of irritation? The fall out from those spiteful words said in a moment of anger that are often regretted? It is not always easy to repair the damaged relationship, nor unsay what has already been said.

Hurtful words are often said when we do not have, or cannot find, the words to clearly express our needs, clearly or succinctly. It seems like frustration and pain often lie behind the words that are spoken.

Te Mata Peak New Zealand

Weekly Quotes

“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future” – Robert Schuller

The Hidden Meaning Behind Hurtful Words


“In making hurtful comments, we are usually trying to communicate strong, unresolved feelings. However, this seems to work against us as it causes pain in ourselves and others.”

And if we don’t transform pain, we might transmit it.

Thinking about what it is that we really want to communicate when we say hurtful words to, someone we know, is useful.

Some examples:

Angry statement: “You never spend time with me anymore – you don’t care about anyone but yourself!”

The real meaning: “I miss you and sometimes I feel unloved & lonely when we don’t spend time together”

Said with frustration: “Calm down”

The real meaning: “I’m at a loss, I feel inadequate because I have no idea how to help you”

Said with hurt: “I’m done – I want out”

The real meaning: “I don’t want to be hurt anymore and I’m at a loss as to how to make things better between us”

Said in exasperation: “Get over it and just deal with it”

The real meaning: I can’t help anymore, as I am out of useful suggestions.

Expressing our true feelings can makes us feel vulnerable, and if the other person fails to respond to our admissions, with empathy, or begins to accuse or blame, the hurt will be felt even more acutely.


“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings, but silence breaks your heart.” Source – unknown

Do you ever get the silent treatment in times of conflict? Phone calls that are blocked or remain unanswered?

Could this communication breakdown be a method of coping with the situation or possibly freezing you out so that reconciliation is impossible and the other party will be seen to be right? Are they finding it impossible to find any words to convey their true emotions?

Hurtful words damage the trust we feel in any relationship.

Quotes and proverbs provide us with some wisdoms:

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.”

-Archibald MacLeish

Weekly Proverb

A gentle word opens the strongest lock

– Old English Proverb

Sunday Sayings – Something to Ponder About

49 thoughts on “Sunday Sayings – Hurtful words”

  1. The toilet paper hoarding (we call it “hamstering” in German, if I were to translate it literally :-D) baffles me. I mean – besides the fact that it is highly unlikely that there will be a toilet paper shortage in the coming weeks or months – how have generations of humans before us survived without this commodity? There are no alternatives to eating (although I would argue that there are alternatives to eating flour, noodles and rice – the most hoarded food stuffs in Germany at the moment) but for toilet paper?! I just don’t get it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love the term ‘hamstering,’ That does send a message! So pasta, flour, noodles and rice are being stockpiled in German households? Has this ramped up since the Corona Virus hijacked the news?
      I think some folks jumped on the bandwagon when the panic buying started, without thinking of the consequences. Apparently it started in Hong Kong, which obviously gets it toilet paper from China, as a spin off from the civil riots and morphed into the corona response – so many folks in lockdown! No large gatherings etc. Civil events continue here – but we are washing our hands more thoroughly. A good thing, no?


      1. Normally Germans do not stockpile food but everytime there is a long holiday the stores experience a stampede on the day beforehand (German stores are closed on Sundays with very few exceptions – basic necessities can be bought – at a premium – at petrol stations, and some bakeries are now open on Sundays.) So yes, this is corona buying. Apparently, the term “Hamsterkauf” (kaufen = buying) has made it into English newspapers. Public events were being cancelled (trade fairs were hardest hit) but it was only a recommendation by the government not strictly implemented (the problems with federalism) and up to now the soccer/football association has insisted on no ban. But as of today they will be playing many of the games without spectators – a rather late concession.

        Liked by 1 person

              1. It’s more what goes on on the actual playing field. My husband played soccer/footie in Germany in his youth and he was so amazed when he learned about fair play in rugby and the way that players relate to the referee (as compared to the bullying that goes on in soccer). The same goes for squash and cricket, he learned about a level of fairness (sometimes violated as well, of course) that he did not know from soccer (possibly in other sports in Germany, I wouldn’t know).

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Wow- that is incredible. I knew that there was a fair bit of corruption in soccer, but not that there was intimidation that changes the state of play! Another reason to steer away from it. I was having a discussion with another blogger recently about how sport has become the venue for aggression and this has roots in evolution where millenia ago it manifested as competition for partners.

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes we don’t focus enough on the ‘whys.’ The motivation behind the words. Although, I can’ t devote too much time to thinking about it, or else it might tip into exaggerated thoughts and self-criticism, which inveitably lead to depression. I think there is a fine line, there, isn’t there, Irene?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is silly and childish, but sometimes, folks don’t know any other way of acting. My mother often did that to me when she was displeased about something. So I did it to my first boyfriend. But, only once, for when I saw the effect it had on our relationship, I quickly disposed of it as a coping strategy for conflict, realizing the damage it caused and the confusion. It is torture for the party being ignored. You try and discuss to sort it out and move forward – and there is just a frozen face…. I am sorry to hear that your marriage was a casualty. I wonder if your ex learnt anything about the consequences of silence, after that, or continued with the same actions?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would add to the hurtful word list, obfuscate: it means purposely misleading or making a situation unclear. Our PM has been accused of such. I would add supermarket management to the list. We are constantly told there is no shortage of certain supplies on supermarket shelves. Either the owner of the supermarket giants are lying, or they are too stupid to organize a situation that has been in existence for weeks. I took photographs on Sunday, March 9th of empty shelves. Someone, or perhaps many are purposely misleading us. If we knew the truth, we would accept the situation and work around it. This false expectation is irritating.


    1. Thanks for pointing out that Macleish’s words can apply to a lot more than just physical experiences, Peggy. Emotional experiences, mental experiences, and of course social experiences. We are here on earth to learn! Every interaction can teach us something even if it is something about the other person. There is many who shut themselves off to this learning. They seem to absorbed in their problems to be open to learning. This leads then to the prickliest issue of all – motivation. If one is not motivated to learn, the only reason I can find is that there is a basic need that is not being met. As someone who loves to learn, it is hard for me to get my head around not prioritizing learning. Is learning too overwhelming for them?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am 100% in favor of expressing the feeling rather than hurtful words. There have been a number of instances in my life where the feelings haven’t mattered and after a few attempts to fix the problem using healthy means the only way to end the hurtful relationship was to go ahead and be hurtful and/or block calls and such. In the case of fear of shortage of TP… well… it’s just not a good excuse for being nasty.


    1. Hey there, Succulent Savage (Btw, I love this handle!),
      The TP situation has reached fever pitch here, which is totally ridiculous. Many people must be so fearful,they are not willing to share. The supermarkets have now reduced quotas to 1 pack per person, but a person can go back and buy again and again one pack over, can’t they?
      As for the relationships that you ended in a hurtful way. Being gentle and respectful doesn’t always work if the other party is unbalanced. Blocking calls is absolutely essential in many cases, to protect one’s own sanity. Thanks for pointing that out. I do not want to give the impressive of being passive in the face of abuse. Assertion and if necessary, protection of self is a priority in all cases.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When hurtful words are thrown my way, I’ve gotten better at not responding to that person. But I also don’t answer the phone or respond to the texts-not to give the silent treatment but yo avoid more ugliness

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not responding to texts is not altogether the silent treatment, although it may be interpreted that way. I see it sometimes as a way of saying I am not interested without being rude enough to say, I am not interested. It is not always rejection. Older texts are easier to miss. Live and let live is definitely easier once you get the hang of it. Sometimes, it is necessary to ignore calls, if abuse is involved in the equation.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am unsure of your connotation of the word tool, though I suspect tongue in cheek? But am in agreeance on the lack of communication. Many of us could seek to improve our communication, and me included. Perhaps they could focus more on practical communication skills and tips in school? For those that don’t naturally acquire this and common sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No tongue in cheek. 🙂 I thought smart phones, computers, social networks, messages, mails, etc.
        The two best courses I ever took in Business school were not marketing, not finance, not law, not accounting… They were group dynamics and verbal expression (how to speak in public…) Most useful. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great to hear that you did have some study of those very crucial life skills. I attended a course on group dynamics also, once- as a community volunteer. It was so very interesting and useful across any gathering of people. What’s more, I still remember it 26 years later!!
          The point you make, Equinixio, about the tools and communication is totally valid. Communication is becoming more and more clipped. While it is admirable to be succinct and quick in our replies to one another, does it diminish the chances of gaining a better understanding between folks? Does it thereby contribute to misinterpretation of instructions, opinions and comments?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Group dynamics is fabulous isn’t it? I always used that when I was in a meeting. (Then did focus groups when I had my market research firm). And you still remember it 26 years later. 🙂
            I’ve seen so many misinterpretations in chats you wouldn’t believe…
            Take care

            Liked by 1 person

              1. “Twisted”? No. But once you’ve gone through many groups dynamics, coached by a psychologist along the way, it helped me, in meetings to understand the dynamics of the group I would be in. Lots of listening at the beginning. Ten, once you get the dynamics, you can use them to get your issues across.


  5. I like the old English proverb. I’ve not heard that one. A good reminder in these weird times. As for ignoring texts or emails I take no offense. Any form of communication that requires a machine can trip me up, so I figure the same for others. Shrug, sigh, and move on, I figure.


    1. Common sense tells me that machines are imperfect, Ally, so mechanized communication is of course, potentiallu fallible. Yet many don’t often consider that to be a possible reason. I have noticed many people now text, when they might have once made phone calls, to explain some issue. Decades before that, they would have written a whole letter. Communication is shortening all the time.
      Shrug, sigh and move on! I like that mantra! Always looking forward, not back. I can think of similar sayings along the lines of the English proverb, but the use of the word lock, gives the proverb another layer, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I also don’t really understand the panic buying of toilet paper . I guess where there is panic rationale is missing. We can hope that it settles down quickly. Yes, many of us can improve our communication simply by just listening. As for feelings, we need to look beyond our feelings and not be so self consumed. Some days I look around me and life does not seem real.


  7. Really like The warning about “not learning from Experience”
    And we have hand sanitizer in short supply because off the corona virus – and with – the toilet paper 🧻 topic sounds like people might need to slow down a bit!
    I also encountered a really rude man the other day and after coping with the sting of his words – I realized he taught high school for 20 years and so his harsh default was likely survival mode from working with that age group – not everyone who teaches teens comes away harsh and snippy – and this man’s cynical side was also likely connected to personality (and stay single dude – keep your misery to yourself) lol
    But after I digested next professed his harsh dishing out – I then softened inside and felt bad for him. People like that are missing so much personal joy and their health suffers too!
    Anyhow – love the examples of better ways to respond – we all need to keep talking about managing anger better – because some folks really see rudeness as normal and okay while they overlook the hurt and just plain nasty vibe they emit to the world


  8. Hi Amanda, I grew up with traditional Italian parents with very old views and my late dad, bless his soul, used to always give mum the silent treatment in an argument. Sometimes as an adult I’ve found myself doing the same but usually and thankfully realised that it serves no purpose and only makes things worse. Better to say what we think upfront and hopefully using more thoughtful language. I like how you defined what the “true meaning” is. So true. As for the Coronavirus and loo paper debacle I think it’s absolutely crazy and I also think the media has a lot to answer for.


    1. Thanks for your well thought out reply, Miriam. I think it must have been difficult for your Mum, but perhaps her cultural background helped her accept your father’s way of coping with conflict. For us growing up in more modern society where we talk more and analyse feelings, a silent treatment would seem cruel or rude. Which kind of indicates that we have a more open society in which we can express our feelings, as long as it is with someone we trust. And as you and I have both found, the silence doesn’t really serve a purpose. It merely sweeps the conflict under the rug!
      I snagged a pack of loo paper today! We haven’t needed any new supplies til now, but I did get to the shops earlier to get this pack. It was the second last pack! I hope the desperation will start to dissipate soon. It is a concern for elderly folk who cannot access a larger supermarket in a neighbouring suburb. Whilst terribly inconvenient, we could survive without it for a short time. How soft has the human race become, that a shortage of loo paper has us up in arms?
      Do you find yourself avoiding certain media sources?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I certainly do. Whilst I don’t want to bury my head in the sand and be uninformed I also don’t feel the need (or even want) to watch and read every update. In fact it’s damn depressing. Like everything this virus will pass, yes it’s tough and I truly feel for the elderly in particular and those with compromised immune systems and I think we can all do our bit to be careful but I’m also a big believer in “when it’s our time, it’s our time.” I do hope however that it either runs it’s course quickly or somehow they find a cure.
        Well done on snagging that loo paper Amanda, not easy nowadays. Frankly it all rather boggles my mind. Stay safe, and sane.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good point about it being in the lap of the Gods. I am inclined to think that even if a vaccine is created in time, the virus would quickly mutate and we will be back to square one, again. It is rather strange to imagine Australians being locked indoors, like the Italians and now the Danes. But it may come to pass. The financial fallout may be disastrous for many nations and I worry a bit about the consequences of that. However these things are out of our control, aren’t they? And we cannot change that, which strangely is comforting.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Unfortunately, today’s “pandemic” happens to mirror the panic we’ve seen in movies. Hard for me to judge, since my wife and I have almost always taken a day to buy groceries/supplies for the month. It’s easier for us to budget that way. Don’t know how our response would have been 20 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is like a pandemic movie. I don’t watch those kind of movies. Although I did when I was young. If we are sensible, we will get through it. Just as long as the zombies don’t overrun us!!! Lol…


  10. Timely & apropos post, Amanda.
    The feeling of panic is understanding – but we can control our actions and words we say as a result of those feelings. I particularly appreciated your sharing of pamfullerton’s “words said vs feelings behind them” – a reminder to listen beyond the surface.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are strange beings, Ju-Lyn, aren’t we? We don’t actually say what we are feeling always. It is like there is a disconnect between the emotion and the words in our brain. You are right too – a reminder to listen beyond the surface reveals much more and can ultimately end in more effective communication.


      1. Part of the challenge is taking time – I think we often speak off the cuff the first thing that comes to mind, whether it is a defence mechanism or speaking from distraction. To be considered in our speech is to reflect and dig within; certainly a worthwhile although challenging predicament.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is so true – we are quick to answer. And sometimes, if we aren’t quick to answer, someone else butts in and answers for us. I admire those who can command that pause in speech and still hold someone’s attention. It is a skill I am yet to master. How about you?


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