Why Do the People I Love Most Hurt Me?

February 26, 2020
You probably ask yourself why those you love and appreciate most end up hurting you. Is there any explanation? Read on to discover it!

A painful chill affects the deepest part of you. It’s the hurtful chill of someone who isn’t thinking of you, neglects you, suddenly says hurtful words to you, or does something unexpected or painful. Why do the people you love most hurt you? This question, as surprising as it may seem, is one many people ask themselves during their lives.

British poet George Granville said that no pain was more devastating than the kind of pain love causes. In many ways, this couldn’t be truer, and people invest a great deal of emotional energy in those connections. We need that daily support because closeness sprouts roots and affection creates connection and confidence. You need these things to feel secure and validated in your relationships.

As a result, if your universe of emotions and affections breaks, it can hurt as much as or even more than a physical wound. Maybe you just expect too much from the people around you. Many ask themselves if this is their case. But there’s a crucial aspect that you must understand about this.

Every social and affective connection is a product of an unwritten agreement in which pain isn’t an expectation. This principle applies to family relationships between parents and children and among siblings. You also expect your partner not to betray you or do anything to cause you pain. The same thing applies to those we consider good friends.

Let’s delve deeper into this topic.

A man looking out a window feeling depressed.

Why do the people I love the most hurt me?

Manuel Hernández Pacheco, psychologist and biologist at the University of Málaga, wrote a book in 2019 called ¿Por qué la gente a la que quiero me hace daño? (In English: Why Do the People I Love Hurt Me?). He delved into this topic from a neurological perspective, focusing on the concept of attachment, especially in the adolescent population.

As social beings, people need significant connections above all else. They need healthy attachments to feel good, appropriately manage their stress, and feel like they belong to a group. All of this is especially essential during childhood and adolescence.

Because of this, if a child feels rejected and asks themselves why the people they love most hurt them, they’ll experiment such an intense psychological pain that it can cause trauma. Doctor Pacheco also explored the reasons why people, after having suffered painful relationships, are unable to escape that devastating cycle to boost their self-esteem.

These questions simply don’t have concrete answers. However, beyond the effects of the pain that being hurt by those you love causes you, lies the why.

The ones who think that “all is fair in love and war”

Some people think that, when it comes to affection, nothing is off-limits and there aren’t any consequences. Those people feel sure that, no matter what they do, they’ll always be forgiven.

An example of this type of person might be a friend who shares your secrets with others and feels sure you won’t be mad. It might also be a partner who makes decisions for both of you without asking.

They do it because they assume that no matter what they decide, you’ll be okay with it. They forget that love is conditional, that affection deserves respect and daily attention.

A woman with her head on a man's shoulder.

Why the people you love hurt you

If you’re wondering why the people you love most hurt you, you must ask yourself if they’re aware that they made you suffer. This isn’t a trivial question. Some people close to you may do and say negative things without even realizing it. Without a doubt, this is a big problem.

An example of this might be a mother or father who always notices one child’s accomplishments while ignoring the other’s. They may even do it unconsciously without realizing the harmful effects.

On the other hand, there’s one determining aspect. If you don’t set boundaries or let people know what you can’t tolerate, they may keep hurting you without even realizing it.

When expecting too much from others works against you

As we said above, every social connection is made up of an implicit pact that says you shouldn’t hurt the other person and vice versa. This is a basic principle of coexistence and respect.

So if you’re always asking yourself why the people you love hurt you and you always feel wounded, maybe you’re the one with the problem.

  • Co-dependent relationships, for example, can trap you in a cycle of pain and need that go hand-in-hand. You might be conscious that the relationship causes suffering. However, you’re addicted to the other person and feel the need to stay by their side.
  • Another reason you might always feel hurt in relationships is low self-esteem. Perhaps you need a lot and crave the attention, love, and validation from others that you don’t give yourself. That’s a bottomless pit of pain because, if you’re never satisfied, then nothing is ever enough.

If you’re constantly asking yourself why the people you love hurt you, then you might need to evaluate different possibilities. The first is if those relationships are worth the pain. The second is that you might need to boost your self-esteem and self-concept. Remember that you should never settle for a love that hurts you.

  • Pacheco, H. Manuel (2019). ¿Por qué la gente a la que quiero me hace daño?. DESCLEE DE BROUWER