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Dealing with friends & loved ones when they do or say hurtful or unhelpful things

Elizabeth CP
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

This thread is about dealing with those situations when friends or familydo or say something which triggers negative reactions in us. This is not about dealing with bullies, abusers or other toxic people. With toxic people we need to stay away so it is a different situation.

My example: Yesterday we were discussing a proposed camping hiking trip. My husband suggested we get up early & head off on the hike by 7am & implied this would be a good time to set off each day. This comment set off a very negative reaction. I replied that he was being very unfair as it was putting too much pressure on me. Even worse was the internal dialogue feeling I was failing in meeting my husband's wishes and feeling useless because I knew I wouldn't cope with the pressure. When we were younger & both fit & well holidays were crammed to get the maximum out of each day. Now I am left doing all the planning, driving, navigating, packing, cooking cleaning & watching out for my husband to ensure his safety as he is blind & has other serious health issues. He wants to do as much as possible before he gets worse & can't get out. Having to do everything means I get tired & I can't afford to push myself too far otherwise I will fall in a heap.

My question is what are some strategies to cope with those situations like this one were a loved one says something which really upsets you even though they didn't mean to.

Perhaps others could share their situations so we can learn from each others ideas

13 Replies 13

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi E,

What if your husband firstly asked "what time would you like to head off each morning"?

See, making a statement ie "we should leave at 7am each morning" places a sensitive soul in a situation of defence or in the least, a point of insisting in a mutual decision, something hubby should have initiated.

So where does this leave you?

I once wrote an article (google it)

Topic: wit, the only answer to torment- beyondblue

So in your case in question, once told you are going to leave at 7am you can reply "thats fine, as long as I have a 2 hour lunch so I can rest, unless of course we leave at 9am and have a half hour lunch".

Notice by saying that you have given him a choice. This gives him power by choice so it isnt like it justifies an arguement.

In some relationships empathy, the ability to project oneself to feel what its like to walk in your partners shoes, is lacking. I'd suggest being blind increases such lack of empathy.

So, instead of trying to claw back your rights, argue your workload and justify your feelings,...practice giving him choices in a question format....and by that method you are seeking your right of sufficient rest time by him making the decision.

Practice makes perfect.

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Elizabeth,

I love Tony's suggestion.

Many years ago I did a course on conflict resolution.one way we were taught to avoid conflict is to let them know you understand their side of the situation and then offer your suggestion. For example 'I understand you'd like to leave by 7am however it puts pressure on me to be organised, perhaps we could leave a little later to ensure we are properly prepared?'.

i use when I need to and find it works as you're acknowledging their point therefore they don't get their back up. You'll soon get into the habit of wording your responses this Way

I understand you want to.........however I........etc

I hope this helps Elizabeth and you are able to enjoy your trip.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi All,

Funny thing is, no matter how you word things, some people still take it to heart and think you are picking on them and being a bully.

If a person things the whole world is against them, you included, no matter how carefully you word something, they can explode on you.

That is when I try to remind myself they have issues of their own. They are not attacking me personally, they are waging a war with themselves and the whole world.

It can be a little more difficult to find strategies that will help with these people.

Even when I use "I" statements and offer choices with a couple of certain people, I still experience a blasting.

I then try to talk calmly and in a lower tone of voice. Does it work? Sometimes! Ha. Ha.


Thanks Tony, CMF & Dools, Each of you makes very good points. Humour is a good idea & giving specific choices that fit with my needs is something I need to work on. The use of Í'statements to express my needs without accusing the other party is also something I know I should do but don't always manage particularly when stressed or upset when my ability to be reasonable is compromised. Dools your statement "If a person thinks the whole world is against them, you included, no matter how carefully you word something, they can explode on you."reminded me of myself. When I'm down & stressed I see things through the wrong lens taking things the negative way. The issue is less about the conflict or disagreement but more about how I feel about it & react. Comments sometime trigger very negative self-talk. For example we have always been very careful with money. This has been a blessing in our marriage as my husband never earned much & most of the time I was a full time mother & carer of my mother. My husband was diagnosed with a degenerative condition a year after my mother died. Unfortunately being frugal has become a problem. I feel guilty about spending money unless it is essential thinking I don''t deserve nice clothes, etc. Low self esteem compounds the problem. When my husband suggests we shouldn't buy something or buy the cheapest I usually agree & this reinforces the idea that I shouldn't spend money on myself. How do I stop myself from reacting in negative ways like this

Hi Elizabeth,

I too admit to loosing my cool many times and saying things I regret in the heat of the moment.

Insecurity, low self esteem and all those things about self can make us believe, react and behave so that side of us does not become too upset. Throw in depression, stress and anxiety and you have a huge cocktail of emotions buzzing around inside of you! I get that!

Regarding spending on self, I think very much like you do, mainly in part because my husband has always bought everything he has ever wanted and told me I don't need stuff when I ask for it. In the end I I don't ask anymore.

Case in point, my husband is going to Europe on a 2 1/2 week beer trip with mates. I wanted to holiday in a Queensland resort for a week...was told it was too expensive. Same thing when I wanted to visit my parents who are out of our region or even a drive to the local beach was deemed a waste of petrol money.

I buy most of my clothes from the second hand shop, have done so for decades. They are the only ones I am allowed to buy.

When you find the answer to this one, let me know. Ha. Ha.

From Dools

I am sorry you are doing it so tough. I really should complain when people like you have it so hard. I hate hypocrisy & unfairness. If he can go to Europe why can't you go to Queensland!!!! In my case my husband doesn't expect to do things he won't let me do. He doesn't stop me but it is my feelings which say I shouldn't waste money on myself which causes the problem.


This is a very interesting blog that brings up perplexing dilemmas.

I find it hard telling my partner how tired I get . He knows I have bipolar and I have been well but I have to work at it .if I do too much I can get too tired and then may become sick. I know I am seen by many as being lazy but I know what works for me.

I agree with Doolof that no matter what you say what words you use some people will not understand and will get angry with you.

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts.


You are right quirky It is easy to see someone with their leg in plaster & know they can't walk far or other obvious physical ailments but noone can fully understand another's thoughts or feelings so it is impossible to tell the difference between someone being 'lazy'& being sensible managing their energy levels when they are affected by less obvious physical or mental issues. I have difficulty myself deciding if I should push myself rather than be lazy or whether I really should be allowing myself time to rest & recover or at least avoid getting worse so it would be impossible for others to tell. I'm glad you are aware of your own needs


It is funny you should mention a leg in plaster because my partner recently Tor a muscle and had his leg in plaster and now in a boot and is on crutches. He says how helpful everyone is and everyone tells him about their accidents and experience with crutches. I said that when one is depressed as you say some people find it hard to know what to say or ow to relate but I think this is changing a bit.

I think lazy is the wrong word if we know we need time to recharge and recover.

I often only know I have pushed myself too far when it is too late . It is difficult knowing how much is too much.

Doolof, Money issues in relationships are very tricky. It must be hard for you and frustrating.

Do you ever resent him or have you learned to accept that is how it is.

Take care