Intentionally Hurting Someone You Love: Why You Do It & How To Stop

When you’re in a relationship, you want to do your best to love and care for your partner. You don’t want to do anything to hurt them or upset them. That’s how most people operate. However, if you’ve ever intentionally hurt someone you love, you know just how uncharacteristically cruel you can find yourself being at times. But why does this happen and what can you do to correct it if you notice you’re guilty of this?

What kind of person intentionally hurts someone?

Intentionally hurting someone you love is not a good or healthy behavior and it can have serious consequences for the relationship. However, labeling someone as a “bad person” based on a single action or behavior isn’t really fair or constructive.

It’s important to understand that people are complex and can make mistakes, hurt others, and experience personal growth and change. After all, it’s possible for someone who has intentionally hurt a loved one to recognize their behavior, take responsibility for it, and work towards making amends and improving their behavior in the future.

The most important thing is that you approach the situation with compassion and understanding while also holding the person accountable for their actions. Seeking the help of a mental health professional may be beneficial in working towards healing and repairing the relationship.

Why do you intentionally hurt the people you love?

It seems like a really cruel, nasty thing to do. However, it’s more common than most people think or would like to admit. But why does it happen? “People may intentionally hurt the ones they love for various reasons, such as unresolved personal issues, past traumas, or a lack of communication and understanding. Sometimes, people may hurt others as a way to gain power or control in the relationship or as a means of self-protection,” relationship expert Sameera Sullivan tells Bolde.

Here are some other reasons this behavior happens.

  1. You’re angry and frustrated. Sometimes, people may lash out in anger or frustration and say or do hurtful things without fully considering the consequences. You’re only human and it happens. Still, it’s not okay. If it’s happening regularly or often, there’s a serious problem.
  2. You lack emotional maturity. People who are emotionally immature may have difficulty managing their emotions and may act impulsively, which can lead to hurtful behavior. That being said, if you lack emotional maturity, you probably don’t belong in a relationship right now.
  3. You crave power. This can be a form of emotional abuse. If you’re intentionally hurting someone you love to gain the upper hand, that’s a problem. After all, relationships should be a partnership of equals.
  4. You’re jealous or insecure. People who are jealous or insecure may act in hurtful ways towards their loved ones as a way to cope with their own feelings of inadequacy or fear of losing the relationship. Of course, if you don’t trust your partner’s dedication to you, things are probably doomed anyway.
  5. You have mental health issues. People with certain mental health issues, such as borderline personality disorder, may struggle with intense emotions and have difficulty regulating their behavior towards their partners. While there’s no shame in having a mental health condition, it’s also not an excuse for treating others badly.
  6. There are unresolved conflicts in your relationship. When issues go unresolved, they can build up over time and result in hurtful behavior towards the person you love. You can’t just sweep things under the carpet and move on. At the end of the day, they’ll always resurface, often in toxic ways.
  7. You’re selfish. Some people may prioritize their own needs and desires over the feelings of their loved ones, leading them to act in ways that are hurtful. While self-care is important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the people you love.
  8. You lack empathy. Individuals who lack empathy may have difficulty understanding or caring about the impact of their actions on others, which can lead to unintentional or intentional harm. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you knew the person you love had intentionally hurt you? Probably not very good.
  9. You don’t know how to communicate well. Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings, especially when expectations and needs are not clearly communicated.

How can you stop this behavior?

  1. Figure out why you’re doing it. Intentionally hurting someone you love is not normal or acceptable behavior. However, in order to change it, you have to understand why it’s happening to begin with. “To stop this behavior, it is essential to identify the underlying reasons for the hurtful behavior and to address them,” Sullivan advises. “This may involve seeking therapy or counseling, learning effective communication skills, and practicing empathy and compassion towards oneself and others.”
  2. Take responsibility for your actions. Once you recognize that you’ve been doing something hurtful and wrong, it’s important to be accountable for your actions. Don’t try to deny what you’ve done or shift the blame to your partner or anyone else. Instead, accept that you’re responsible for what you’ve done. No one else.
  3. Apologize sincerely. Certainly, you should be remorseful for intentionally hurting someone you love. Seeing them in pain should hurt you, too. It’s important that you’re truly remorseful when you apologize to them. Tell them how sincerely sorry you are for what you’ve done. Also, promise them you will never do it again in the future.
  4. Commit to changing your behavior and making amends. It’s not enough to say you’re sorry. You have to commit to changing your behavior and never repeating it in the future. Telling them you’ll never do it again is great, but you also need to make amends and make it up to them. This may or may not be possible depending on the circumstances, of course.

“Ultimately, building healthy and fulfilling relationships requires a commitment to communication, empathy, and mutual respect. It is important to *be mindful of our actions and words and to prioritize the well-being of ourselves and others in all our interactions,” Sullivan adds.

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.