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How to react when you are offended?

In this post, we will talk about self-esteem wounds, when we are offended, upset, humiliated, mocked.

An unpleasant feeling comes around when you are offended, or more precisely when you feel offended: often, the person who offended you not only did not mean it but also did not think he would hurt you. This feeling can accompany you for hours, days, and sometimes years, depending, as we'll see not necessarily on the type of offense but more on your reaction to it.

In this post, we will try to understand what humiliation is? What happens to us when we are offended? What are our ways of fighting an offense? The wrong ways we tend to take sometimes, and the good ways that allow us, if we do not completely forget the feeling, then at least "tame" it: learn to live with it.

What is humiliation?

Humiliation is a feeling of mental discomfort and a feeling of loss of dignity, which is caused to a person due to other people's attitude: to him, his behavior, or any characteristics related to him.

What happens to us when we are offended?

When we are offended, our reaction is, first and foremost, emotional: anger, sadness.

The wrong ways to fight humiliation:

Respond by physical or verbal violence against the person who offended us, or avenge him in a more planned and sophisticated way. Why is such a reaction a problem? Even if our revenge is successful, it does not remove the unpleasant feeling in us; it can even strengthen it. Besides, if the other side reacts like us, we may enter a vicious circle of humiliation-revenge.

What was my personal position?

If someone hurts me, I try to distinguish between two things:

1) The actual damage done to me.

I am definitely trying to eliminate this damage, or at least to reduce it as much as possible.

2) The humiliation I felt.

I try not to take revenge despite my temptation to do so.


1) I fell victim to a great deception thirty years ago in France (about ten thousand francs at the time). More than the loss of money, I was hurt by the humiliation I felt that came after the feelings of hope and enthusiasm, because I paid the crook what he asked for, and I was led astray by his words. I covered / used all the legal means at my disposal; I turned worlds: I turned to anyone I could turn to, I gathered evidence, all without the use of an attorney; all this, until the prosecution opened an investigation against the crook, and it forced him to return my money. (Of course, he did not admit that he had deceived me.) Now that all the evidence was in my hands, I could have published the scam to all his potential clients, contact an attorney, do him justice and ruin his business. I did not do that, and I do not regret it.

2) The manager of my previous club told me a racist curse: "Dirty Frenchman!". When I shouted at her, she most impudently called the security officer, and not only that, but she turned to my psychiatrist and asked him to record the thing as an unusual incident. Of course, I defended myself as much as I could and as was my right. The security officer realized that I was not in a crisis at all, and the psychiatrist was also convinced that the manager was the one who should have been blamed. Beyond that, I could have complained about her, gathered evidence against her from the other club members who hated her, and tried to get her fired, but I did not, and I do not regret it. What would that get me? Just trouble!

The right ways to fight humiliation or insult:

1) Find positive thoughts against the negative thoughts evoked by the insult: Accept the damage done to us in true proportions and draw lessons for the future so that a similar case does not happen.

2) Contact a friend or relative whom we trust (who says for instance, that he also had a similar event, who comforts us, participates in our pain, or alternatively criticizes us in a constructive and considerate manner)


I heard an interesting and instructive zoom call from the Geneva Initiative one day before Biden's nomination.

In the zoom call, I asked a question in the chat, which I think was definitely of interest and, in any case, not ridiculous at all. The facilitator, when going through all the questions, did not address mine. I was severely offended. I said to myself:

- He did not have time to address all the questions.

- There are questions from others that he also did not address.

- Maybe he really did not like my question, so what?

- In any case, no one knows me, and I will not see them again.

- I learned a lesson: Next time, I will wait and hear the type of questions commonly asked in this group before I ask my question.

I told this to my sister Ariella, and this is what she replied to me:

Ariella: I say it hurts - everyone! - When someone ignores you or rejects you, and the only thing you can do is just see that emotion and 'be' with it, and even a minute is enough without stopping, and then it will disappear: emotions are constantly changing.

It is clear that the facilitator did not ignore the question because it was not good enough but because he has only a time limit. Or because the question required a longer answer and it was not within the time frame, he had a thousand other reasons, such as it just missed him in the zoom.

Me: Just one thing, I did not agree (or perhaps did not understand) what you wrote, and that is that this feeling will disappear:

When a person is hurt (because he was not treated, because he was betrayed, because he was laughed at), then:

- For those who offended him, it's just something that is forgotten the next day or remembered with humor.

- But for the one being hurt, he remembers it much longer, thinks about revenge; it hurts him in the mood for things that are not related at all, and sometimes turns to alcohol, drugs, and even suicide.


We have seen that insult is an unpleasant feeling. But from which we can emerge dissatisfied but also greater and more experienced, if we fight it right.

I would love to hear your examples where you felt offended.

How did you deal with it?

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