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No One Can Hurt Your Feelings; But They Sure Can Bruise Your Ego

Updated on February 6, 2015
Ego is bruised easily because it is always about the false self
Ego is bruised easily because it is always about the false self | Source

What are Feelings?

Feelings fall into five general categories:

  • Mad
  • Sad
  • Bad
  • Glad
  • Scared

Therefore, if someone says something offensive, unkind, rude or disrespectful to me or about me, and feelings are hurt, I should logically be able to state, without reservation, which of those five feelings was hurt.

However, the reality is that I cannot define which of the five feeling categories was hurt, because feelings unto themselves cannot be hurt.

Do you ever say, "That hurt my feelings"?

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How Would Some One Hurt the Mad, Sad, Glad, Bad, or Scared?

For years, we have been told that when people say unkind things about us, or to us, we should just acknowledge that our feelings were hurt in the experience.

Alternatively, if slighted in any manner, we should alert people about our hurt feelings.

As of this day, consider dropping that line of thinking and that phrase.

Hurt feelings just makes no sense for some men, and I cannot fault their logic on this one.
Hurt feelings just makes no sense for some men, and I cannot fault their logic on this one. | Source

Feelings? What Do They Have to Do with this?

Working with families through the years, I do see many men that do not think in terms of feelings.

It is not a question of not having them; however, conditioned from childhood not to relate experiences from a feeling perspective, they are perplexed and baffled when some woman tells them that he hurt her feelings.

Without stereotyping men as individuals who do not discuss their feelings, can you see how it would be difficult to understand an accusation of hurt feelings; how this would not even make sense to them.

Enter the Ego

It is not feelings that are hurt, but ego.

Ego is, for general purposes, a sense of:

  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-image
  • Self-worth
  • Self-assurance
  • Self-importance

Therefore, the next time you are tempted to tell someone that they hurt your feelings, determine what aspect of your ego got bruised and then talk about that.

When is the Ego Hurt?

Egos tend to be hurt when it is:

  • Criticized
  • Laughed at and not telling a joke
  • Not selected for a job, given a good grade, not picked for the team
  • Under-valued, under-appreciated, under-rated

Ego tends to tell us that we are better than others evaluate us. For instance, I take the time to write what I consider a worthwhile, interesting, enlightening and attention-grabbing article.

I have spelled everything correctly and the grammar is faultless, however, the individuals evaluating it do not give it the recognition I think it deserves.

Additionally, when someone in your family forgets your birthday; certainly you can say your feelings are hurt; however, this actually has more to do with you believing that they should view you as important enough to remember your birthday.

Umpteenth Life Lesson

I watched a mother at a soccer game the other day. She had taken the time to make homemade cupcakes and decorated them in the team colors. They were quite elaborate with marzipan soccer balls imbedded into the frosting.

She was sitting next to us in the stands and made mention of how long it had taken her to make the decorations, how much it had cost her for the ingredients, and more than once, talked about how it was so much more than the typical juice and store bought snacks that other mothers bring.

I thought to myself that this woman was very responsible for the letdown I expected her to feel when the seven-year-old boys simply tore into them without a thought to her ego. I knew without a doubt that a simple, “Thank you” would not be enough; her feelings were going to be hurt.

I remained in the stands when she asked me to watch her belongings; both to be helpful, however, it was as much about confirming my asspumption about her being disappointed in the reaction of the boys.

Sure enough, she returned to the stands to retrieve her personal belongings and said to me, “Those kids hurt my feelings. I spent so much time making their cupcakes, and they did not appreciate my efforts.”

I refrained from telling her that it was her ego. I have learned over the years not to do counseling with someone who has not hired me for this purpose, however, it did help me remember how many people mistake hurt feelings, for a bruised ego.

Personal Life Lesson

Therefore, I will submit this article, hoping that someone likes it; does not criticize it too much, leaves glowing comments or at least a helpful critique on how to improve it, while trying to remember not to get my feelings, oh sorry, ego hurt.


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This is great stuff. I live by it and think it makes me more aware of my own triggers.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn L Davis 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, Denise. Thanks for the comment and for adding that to the mix. You are absolutely right that others do not make us feel anything; what they do or do not do influences how we feel - angry, sad, etc. but does not make us feel any of them.

      Thanks also for the kind words.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is interesting how often we put the responsibility on someone else for how we feel. When I went through therapy, I learned that I needed to take responsibility for my feelings by saying, "I feel..." before I tell others what I am feeling. That has saved my family relationships, and my work relationships more than once. Thanks for the great article!


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