Stop Wasting Time on People Who Hurt You

Prioritizing yourself and seeking your own wellbeing and happiness doesn't make you selfish, especially if you do so in order to distance yourself from people you hurt you.
Stop Wasting Time on People Who Hurt You
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Some activities, environments, or people become detrimental to your wellbeing. But do you know how to get away from the people who hurt you? These harmful stimuli change us and take us away from what we really are: Strong, courageous, free individuals who, of course, deserve happiness.

However, it’s not so easy to distance ourselves and cut off everything that violates our self-esteem overnight. Although there are obvious sources of risk (fire, something sharp, a dark and unfrequented alley at night, etc.), it’s not always as easy to identify certain dangers.

In other words, although the brain is programmed to recognize external threats and activate the flight response, it’s sometimes more complex than it seems for the brain to give us the instruction to escape. This is especially true in the realm of emotional relationships.

But let us look more slowly at what alternatives are possible.

How to distance yourself from the people who hurt you

A man walking away from a woman holding a rose down by her side.
Taking this step requires a lot of emotional maturity.

As social beings, we establish strong bonds with different people. However, sometimes some of them alter our own balance and wellbeing to a certain extent.

“A person who hurts you doesn’t deserve you.” Sure, those words are easy to say. You know deep down in your heart and soul that the kind of person who destroys your self-esteem and doesn’t respect you also doesn’t truly love you. But how do you force yourself to admit it? And how should you respond?

We recommend you read: 7 signs of emotional toxicity

1. Avoid people who only care about themselves

When we talk about people who hurt others, the first thing you probably think of is physical violence. But there’s also another kind of implicit, indirect, or silent kind of violence that’s equally harmful.

  • There are people out there who are incapable of feeling empathy or of establishing relationships based on mutual respect.
  • People in a relationship who always put their needs before those of their partner are also very destructive.
  • If understanding and trust are conspicuous by their absence, it will be unfeasible to build healthy bonds of affection.

Therefore, in any of these situations, the possibility of distancing yourself will prevent further consequences.

2. Let go of pain-producing gestures

Sometimes it’s not even what they say to you – it’s how they say it. The use of a disparaging tone, raising their voice, and being sarcastic are all an affront to your self-esteem.

  • If, for example, the communication that parents have with their child is deficient or authoritarian, the child’s self-concept and sense of security will also suffer.
  • The way a person acts in a relationship, their tone of voice, and the way that they present their side of an argument can say a lot about them.

See also the signs of being in a toxic relationship

3. Learn to defend yourself against what injures you as well as the people who hurt you

A woman leaning on a window sill, looking sad and stressed.
Letting go may not be easy, but it’s often necessary.

The real issue, which we were talking about earlier, is that people most commonly react to physical threats instead of social or emotional ones that threaten their self-esteem.

One person who can often cause more damage than any other is a family member or a person in your closest circle of friends. What can you do if your parent, partner, or best friend doesn’t respect you?

  • Limits come first. Daring to say no to what we don’t like or what makes us uncomfortable.
  • Far from being a selfish act, it consists of informing those around us that we deserve consideration and that there are details that bother us.
  • The essential thing is that, in the face of this warning, the person reacts positively.

However, if in spite of having been warned, everything remains the same, perhaps it’s time to make a decision. The people who hurt you don’t deserve you.

4. Loving yourself is a way of distancing yourself from that which hurts you

It’s a matter of taking care of yourself. So, let’s not expect people who, through their actions, despise, or manipulate us to take care of us.

  • Only relationships that allow us to be who we are, those in which we receive affection and understanding, will make us grow.
  • If we really love ourselves and want to protect our self-esteem, it’s best to put ourselves first.

However, distance is one of the strategies to preserve our own emotional balance. In other words, limiting contact is a way of distancing yourself from these toxic bonds.

What can we do to distance ourselves from what hurts us?

With these brief tips, we aimed to suggest several guidelines to address the cases in which something hurts you, especially if it involves personal relationships.

Don’t forget: You’re responsible, courageous, and deserve to build your own happiness. You are your first priority.

Therefore, if you want to assert yourself, perhaps it’s healthier to devote time and attention only to those who respect and value you. Why wear yourself out and suffer from the intentions of those who end up hurting you?

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.