If someone is having a really legitimately bad day/week/whatever, and they react to a relatively benign comment with extreme hostility and very hurtful statements directed squarely at you, do you…?

A. Apologize for the benign comment in an attempt to calm the situation and end the conflict, understanding the circumstances; and let the hurtful statements slide, knowing that they really didn’t mean it, but were lashing out in pain and anger that had nothing to do with you or what you said.

B. React moderately to the aggression and the hurtful statements, to try to help them understand that you don’t deserve (and won’t tolerate) that kind of abuse regardless of the circumstances, while apologizing, explaining that the instigating comment was made without malice.

C. React in kind with your own mean retorts and comebacks, maybe even upping the ante a little.

D. Something else (please specify).

On a somewhat related note, how can one encourage another to work on controlling their emotional reactions in a way that cannot be interpreted as implying that said lack of control is an age-related characteristic, even if it may be.

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7 Responses to Question

  1. nancykrainz says:

    Well, obviously the peaceful way to handle the situation would be to apologize and let it go. Easier said than done if this type of behavior is a repetitive occurrence. Choosing any other option would most likely result in confrontation, more unkind words, hurt feelings……………………..etc.
    While it is easy early in a relationship to make excuses for your partners actions based on their past negative experiences, a time comes when we have to differentiate between that being a true “reason” versus display of the persons true personality traits.
    No one should have to live on pins and needles, afraid of doing or saying something that will set the other person off. Excuses should not need to be made for a person in order to justify their lack of consideration or a pattern of verbal (or any kind) of abuse. People who behave in this manner are CONTROLING. They pair up with others they perceive as weak, vulnerable and needy.
    This is my opinion which is based on a similar experience. Take it for what it is worth.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Thanks for the input. For the record, I chose B. I am still trying to be patient based on past history, but I won’t be shat on when I did nothing to deserve it. Love ya, Sis!

  2. Little bit of A and B–point out that you know she’s had a bad day/week/whatever, and that what you said came out a little wrong at the wrong time, but no ill was meant on your part, and that the reaction to what you said was hurtful. Then drop it. After that, ask if there’s anything you can do to offer comfort after the bad day/week/whatever.

    There’s my two cents: take or leave. My brain’s still on minimal survival mode ’cause I’m not thoroughly over being sick.

  3. I think we are all entitled to overreact to things once in a while due to having had a bad day/week/whatever. If it is habitual (aka frequent) then it is a problem. Regardless of past experiences or having a bad day there is no excuse for intentionally being hurtful toward someone (especially someone you say you love) as part of your overreaction. Granted in the heat of the moment we are all capable of inadvertently saying something that ends up being hurtful even if we didn’t mean to be hurtful. It is hard to know when someone else just goofed or if they meant to hurt you, sometimes.

    All that said as for your own reaction to hurtful comments in said situation, of those options B is it. And a little A in that you hash it out then move on – don’t drag it out longer than absolutely necessary.

  4. Bob Docherty says:

    Run like the wind. If a bad day results in a torrid attack, what will happen if a true crisis occurs? Sorry to be a “Negative Nancy”, but I’ve been scorched and left to waste… It is your life and relationship, but look at it from a detached perspective and evaluate. Only you can make the final decision..

    • alaskan454 says:

      Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your advice. I am not making excuses for her behavior, but there are extenuating circumstances that I intentionally left out of the story. Otherwise, I would already be gone.

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