Those that are hurting, often hurt others...

Do you have someone in your life who is frequently 'lashing out' verbally, being hurtful towards you or is just generally negative?

In many cases this person is actually hurting inside and this is how they are expressing it. Often they have not had the right opportunities to release their hurt and pain and so it builds up and they just don't know how to deal with it!

This can be the case with many forms of mental health issues including those resulting from or connected to autistic spectrum disorders and other learning disabilities. Someone experiencing stress or overwhelm due to something like ADHD for example, can react with unpredictable outbursts, hurtful words and actions. Very often they just need a way of feeling more understood, sharing how they feel and releasing the stress and hurt. This can really be the case when someone has a build up of emotion or just generally struggling mentally for whatever reason.

When you are on the receiving end though, it can be particularly difficult to cope with. But please know that in the majority of cases those that are having difficulty with coping, will ironically take out their feelings of hurt, overwhelm and stress on those they are closest to and love the most.

Try to be understanding and patient if you can. Choose a less heated moment to try to encourage them to share how they are feeling. If it is a child, try to give them a reassuring touch on the arm to show that you understand and if appropriate a comforting hug. Others will just need space to calm down and they will then realise how they have treated you and hopefully apologise or talk things through at least.

If a safe, comfortable space can be found for this person to be honest about how they are feeling or what is bothering them; usually a few tears will then flow, naturally releasing a lot of the tension and hurt. When some are hurting and throwing out negative comments and 'energy' to those around them, they don't even realise quite how bad they actually are. On a higher level it is really a 'cry for help' and should be taken seriously, before they perhaps begin to internalise and potentially then become deeply depressed or even suicidal.

It is always worth looking below the surface and trying to work out if there is a hidden reason someone is being hurtful or mean towards you. Far too many relationships have ended due to mental health, unresolved issues and lack of communication overall.

Those in emotional pain will almost always push you away or lash out verbally. No one should be treated badly, but if there is a reason for the 'abuse' it may be possible to work through it with the right support (especially if it's temporary or due to a new situation that is affecting their behaviour). This can be a much better solution than throwing away an otherwise or previously good relationship. If you do manage to work through things you will also probably end up being much closer as a result too. Communication is obviously so important, so do try to be honest about your feelings before things build up and become too 'ugly' or irreparable.

If you are very frequently on the receiving end of this kind of abuse, it can be very difficult indeed; especially from someone you really love. It is important to try to encourage them to seek help or for a child to feel they are not alone and assured that they can confide in you.

You can make a referral online to the wellbeing service, contact your GP or seek help from another relevant agency. Counselling sessions or complimentary therapies might be worth considering for both stress relief and to help release any emotions that are 'stuck' and being expressed in anger from hurt. If you need signposting to relevant support please get in touch or look through the help pages on this hub.

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