Why People Hurt Each Other

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I wrote this article to convince myself (and others like myself), who have often been on the receiving end of hurts, mostly emotional, from people whom I have known through the years (who may or may not be my friends) that there are definitely reasons or nuances of sound logic why people hurt others, deliberately or not. Call it my way of putting things into perspective, to know where people are coming from, to discern what prompts them into doing something offensive to a fellow human being, to understand them, and finally, to forgive them. After much contemplation, I came up with five reasons why people tend to hurt (physically or otherwise) others: they do it for kicks, they do it for vengeance, they get manipulated to do it, they don’t actually know they’re hurting others, and lastly, because others allow them to do the hurting.

Some people hurt others for kicks. Really, there are people who experience a sense of euphoria when they inflict pain on others; they derive pleasure from other people’s sufferings. I’m just about finished with Arlene J. Chai’s book, Eating Fire and Drinking Water. A certain character in that book caught my attention; his name is Aure, a military colonel tasked with quelling terrorism in the South (Note: South here refers to the terrorist-infected southern part of the Philippines). This Aure is a man that belied his calm demeanor, for underneath the mask is an animal that unleashes his claws to torment his victims with the most horrid things imaginable (cutting a flesh here, scooping an eyeball there). And this he does in the full feeling and seeing of his preys; they are being mutilated alive. What can I say to such people? None. No one can change their convoluted minds, so I wouldn’t even try.

Some people maliciously hurt others as an act of vengeance. This, I think, is the most logical reason behind the need to cause others to suffer – to get even for some reasons, real or imagined. I hope that people who wreaked physical or emotional wounds on others have found a valid reason to do so and not do the hurting solely on the basis of some made-up thoughts or impressions concocted by malicious minds; otherwise, the premeditated “hurting” only becomes a channel for venting one’s hang-ups or grudges on the wrong party. To those who say, “Vengeance is mine,” you can learn a thing or two from Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi when he says, “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” Don’t harbor ill will, throw it out. You’re better off without any excess baggage. Go light. Be happy.

Some people get manipulated to hurt others. People come in different shapes and sizes. There are the “dictator” types who think that they own people and that they could impose on them. Trailing behind are the “puppets” who seem to have no mind of their own, allowing others to decide for them, never questioning the dictator’s intentions. To those who dictate upon others, may you be filled with enough cunning so that those you dictate upon won’t be able to discern the real score, because if they do, you might one day end up all by your lonesome selves. And to the puppets, wake up, you’re human beings with free reins on your thoughts and actions. Must you totally abandon the dictates of your own conscience just to give in to another person’s every whim, however absurd? Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others what you want others do unto you.” I suppose you don’t want to be hurt yourself.

Some people are oblivious to the fact that they’re hurting others. Call it lack of sensitivity, if you must, but some people can be tactless sometimes they hurt others without really meaning to. The hurting may come in the form of a seemingly trivial comment, a broken promise, a missed appointment, even simple acts of courtesy that might have been overlooked for whatever reason. Enemies can hurt you, but sometimes friends and loved ones can hurt you more. Why? Because you love them, that’s why. And you expect much from them. What do I say to those who don’t know they’re hurting others? Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes; never assume that the other person always understands. S/he may be in one of those wake-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed days or may be particularly feeling down and out, you may be rubbing salt to her/his wounds, making it all the more unbearable. For whatever it’s worth, learn to patch up your differences. It won’t hurt to say, “I’m sorry.”

Some people allow others to hurt them. Though it’s hard to admit, we’re sometimes responsible for how people treat us. In order to live harmoniously with others, we sometimes willingly give in and allow others to have their way, letting stale comments and little acts of discourtesy pass, without so much as giving a thought to them. Unfortunately, the very act of giving and understanding and making lame excuses for how others behave (or misbehave) toward us sends the wrong signal – that they (the misbehaving crowd) can get away with everything, and again, because we seem to be okay with what they do; it doesn’t seem to annoy us one bit, although the truth of the matter is, we’re fuming mad we’re just not showing it. We bear all of the other party’s blows up to the point where we can bear no more. Sooner or later, we’ll explode and there’s no turning back on angry words thrown at each other, forever burning the bridges that had once been witness to good relationships. How do we guard ourselves then from getting hurt? Learn not to be nice all the time; you’re prone to abuse. Give the other party a piece of your mind and heart; don’t let others trample on your pride and dignity, because in the end that’s what you will have left.

The acts of hurting and getting hurt are but parcels of our human existence. Each of us inevitably gets hurt one way or the other, and there’s no escaping that stark reality. We invariably cause other people’s pains and sufferings, too, by mere thoughts, words, or actions, however we deny it. Whether the hurting was done just for kicks or vengeance, out of sheer manipulation or mere insensitivity, or because there are willing victims, it’s not really the beatings we received that matter but how we deal with those hurts. We can accept each whack in the back nonchalantly or make our indignations heard. We can own up to our faults – if we’re to be honest about it – that we deserve what we’re getting or we can justify our ill treatment of others. Whatever – different folks, different strokes. The moral of the story is: No matter how harshly others treat us, we must not lose sight of what it’s like to live without resentment in our hearts. We may not always forget, but we can always forgive those who have wronged us. Continue to believe that there’s an inherent good in all of us, that there’s no such thing as people born bad, and that there’s still hope for humanity.

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33 Responses

  1. Hi Tetcha, this post is very true. In my case, I really took time to tell the person if he/she hurts me one way or another so we can settle it right away. I don’t want to sleep at night knowing I’m still carrying some resentments in my heart towards someone. I value peace of mind so much.

  2. Tetcha, thanks for a great post. Your analysis is right on target, and has helped me make sense of the actions and behavior of someone who hurt me recently. I have not fully let go of my sense of resentment and hurt, but I am working on it, and hope to get there soon. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  3. I think you may have missed one thing. People hurt each other out of selfishness.
    I think you hit on a great deal of whys in your post. How ever I have to say, and I think that people hurt each other out of selfishness. Selfishness could be a hole topic in its self.
    I believe that a great many people don’t under stand the great rewords that they could receive in there lives by being less selfish and more giving. I could go on but I believe that its all out of selfishness. What ever that scenario is. ITS ALL ABOUT WHAT I CAN HAVE OR GET!

    1. I know I have hurt other because of my selfishness (like way can’t they do it my way or do their part of the job) and I’ll make hurting comments to them. thank you for sharing that point!! (selfishness is the root of evil comments and

  4. I think this is so true…I think abuse is a cycle. Often times the people who hurt other people do it because they are hurting inside or have been abused, and dont know how to deal with their own emotions. This is not an excuse, but I have often unintentionally destroyed relationships with people who I really respect and love because of my inability to deal with my own emotions. Thank god for redemption and foregiveness…I think from some people I love I will never get this..but in trying to change and break these painful cycles…foregiveness and taking responsibility for your actions seem like the best way to break these negative cycles…


  5. I think people hurt others for many reasons and this was a great outlook into some of the reasons why people hurt people. My thought was sin, pride, envey, seems to really stand out.

  6. I dont have a clue why people hurt wach other but my heart cant handle it anymore. I am a very giving person and Im always the one to get hurt.

    1. That may be the problem, that you are too nice, especially to the wrong people. Sometimes if you are a nice person some people can take advantage of you. I had a girlfriend in high school who only wanted me talking to her, not to others, only because she wanted a puppet. I discovered tgis by accident, when i saw that she had a problem with me talking to other people. She was a year or two older, had been left back.

  7. Hang in there, me too. Nice post. Reading this did not make the pain go away, but did make me feel not alone in the sea of pain from hurtful people.

  8. I've been hurt by a man who said he believe in karma, but he hurt me so bad to a point I don't believe I could ever trust again.

  9. Wow, Great fourm. Ok Iam male though and have had my heart broken 4 times. And with each time and relationship, I tried to give more and do more for the next person.

    I also looked more into each person character, trying to find the right person. The last woman said all the right stuff, she said that she noticed that, I was easly taken advantage of, and that it hurt her to others take advantage of me.

    She spoke of Karma on a regular basis. So, I thought this person was golden. I gave her almost anything she wanted, showered her with roses and cards atleast twice a month. Helped her with her finances, finished her basement to get renters to bring her additional income. Left messages of my love on anything I could.

    I basicly adored her. Her old boyfriend also kept up with her on facebook, and I even said it was ok because trust is what a relationship is about. But after 2 years I could tell that she was starting to fall prey to him, and began to take notice of his advances. I told her that he was wrong for these advances, and I was told it was just his sense of humor, and that I did not have any, and then was told I was insecure.

    My heart was hurt and broke, and I ended up leaving to see if she really loved me, and she never followed, in fact she cut me out of her life, and told me not to email her, another big blow since I had allowed his emails for 2 years.

    I could not sleep night if, I did this to a person that loved me.

    So people hurt others, because they fall prey to greener grass, selfishness.

    I can't say that she will ever return, because she is a person that for one gets a lot of attention from other men, and that she is a very prideful woman that does not see any faults in herself.

    Her friends call her a Heartbreaker, and that was one of the flags that I saw and ignored thinking I was different.

    So there is my story, My heart was broken but I still have faith that there are good people in the world, and maybe by me writing my story, someone that has had thier heart broken has has faith, and someone that has broke a heart realise that they cause pain in others that is unjust. If anyone has advice for me I would love to hear it, because I do want to end this cycle.

  10. I saw this article fell in love and read every comment I feel I have a little bit of everything in me and has been the victim of everything. All I know is,I need help quick

  11. Those who hurt others are usually hurt inside. Their own inner sorrow, they may not be able to bear. They may not even aware of their own action because they're so hurt inside. For that reason, we must forgive them and move on with our own lives. They will soon figure out how to carry their own cross with compassion and dignity like the rest of us. Failure to do so will only augment their pain and sorrow.

  12. we all have choices…sometime we chose the wrong things……debra brown on facebook …..keeping it real

  13. I am doing a research paper for school, ad this was very helpful. My topic was mostly about Child Abuse, but realizing why people actually hurt each other made the paper that much easier. Any further information or comments would help too. THANK YOU

  14. I love your post. I can really related to this “Some people are oblivious to the fact that they’re hurting others” since my bf is like this. Can you recommend any book that solves this? I’m guilty of this too “Some people are oblivious to the fact that they’re hurting others” with the words I say which people feel that I lack tact and manners.

  15. Forgiveness is the key to happiness – we all make mistakes….giving is also the key to happiness – be content and you will be happy!

  16. Please people…. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever to hurt another person EVER. I’ve been hurt my entire life and I don’t go out hurting others because I have been hurt. It only makes me more passionate and not want to hurt another. People hurt others because they can because they think they have the power to do so. Many people are nothing more than bullies and bullies are not only seen in young kids or teens but many adults as well. These people who hurt others think they are entitled to everything and if they don’t get it they lash out to anyone in their way to get it. These people are master liars, manipulators and deceive. and love to have puppets to make themselves feel better. Sure you can forgive them but the emotional scars they leave behind is not something that heals over night. I do not seek revenge but I leave room for God’s revenge as I do not believe evil for evil is the answer.

  17. Sometimes, we allow situations to go on, for fear of hurting others. In the end, you hurt yourself and the other(s) as well, without realizing it.
    Sometimes trying to avoid doing something fearing a result leads to exactly what you were trying to avoid.

  18. I think you said it exactly as I see it, as well. Its so sad however so true. Thank you so much for your insight!!!!

    May God Bless everyone!!!!


  19. I agree with this article. We live in a sad world , & humans will always be human. We hurt people & hurt people hurt us. Maybe we need to develop some form of immunity from being hurt & we will deal with it better. We should rationalize & shouldn’t think of these people as bad people but feel sorry for them because whatever you give out, you’re going to get it back.

  20. THANKYOU . My sister is a bully, she is 61 years old. My family said they want nothing to do with her because of her lying, bullying and trying to destroy other peoples lives. It is nonstop, to so many people. As she has gotten older, she has gotten much more hateful. She usually texts and e-mails in the evening to destroy people, after shes been drinking. She will not take responsibility for her actions, she blames everyone else for everything. She claims to be a Christian, but the fruits of the Spirit are not in her words or actions. She has repeatedly tried to ruin peoples careers, marriages, relationships. I was the only person that couldn’t turn my back on her, but, she texted a vicious text to my dying of cancer friend in February, and made threats to my daughter. I finally asked why she did it and she denied doing it, then she blames everyone else. She needs serious counciling and assistance with her alcohol abuse. For health problems are the prescriptions she takes, and alcohol intake, together, causing her anger and hate to be nonstop and so much more noticeably worse? She has unbelievable personality highs and lows. Her husband has tried to go to alcohol meetings with her, marriage counciling, but she doesn’t care,nothing helps. My family avoids her because of her ongoing inner hate for everyone. My church is praying for her. Thankyou for having bully comments to help us with our sister. My other sister is looking into legal advise now, because its definitely gotten worse.

  21. I have let people say and do hurtful things to me all my life. I confront the people I work with or anyone that talks about my family, but when it comes to my love interest of 25years he can say and do what he wants and of course I get upset but get over it! What is wrong withh me and why doesnt he have ant feelings for anything that goes along with me? It drives me crazy! I would love to completely forget about him and get on with my life but when I seem to be doing that its like he has radar and zooms in and says and does all the right things and it starts all over again. I have no idea what has gone wrong with me, i am now older and alone and of course him still playing his head games. Why does he not have FEELINGS?

  22. Hi, Torona!
    I was married to a man who enjoyed hurting me through lies, pretending that I was flirting if I spoke to a person, also, that I was looking at men when one walked pass my view. It got so bad until I developed a habit of turning my head or looking down when a man or men walked pass. A habit that I am still trying to stop years after I left him. However, he continued to hurt me through hurting our child. This was evidenced by him promising to come and take her to the zoo or other places or that he bought her pretty clothes that he would bring her later but never did. He also asked her “how old were you the last time that you saw me?” when she could not remember he showed her a hand full of dollars and said ” I would have given you this money if you had remembered.” The list went on. I should have gotten therapy for her sooner and is now struggling with her inappropriate behaviors.

    1. I think in many cases where women hurt other much kinder women, they are jealous and envious of them because they are not just kinder, but also probably more attractive, smarter, thinner, more loved by other people, admired, etc. than the people doing the hurting and that drives them crazy. They feel inferior because deep down they know that they could never measure up to the target of their hurtful ways and verbal jabs. I believe this is the reason why some female friendships do not last. I’ve met some very malicious women and ugly (inside and out).

  23. I keep trying to make sense of what is happening to me. I started to believe that there is something wrong with me. Reading your article made me realize that I am not alone. Thank you.

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This blog was originally put up to document my son’s growing-up milestones, all for posterity’s sake. But there are other things to write about, aside from “mommyhood,” that merit my attention, and I’m including them all here. This blog now chronicles my life as a mom and a wife and everything else in between. For collabs, please email tgfiguerres@yahoo.com.



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