No matter how healthy a relationship seems, pain is nonetheless an inevitable aspect of love and dating. Of course, it doesn’t validate the hurtful actions and behaviors men do towards women. However, have you ever wondered how a man feels when he hurts a woman?
If you’re curious about how a man feels when he hurts a woman, some possible emotions and reactions are being regretful of his actions, insecure, feeling like a failure, lost and confused, ashamed and guilty, empowered, helpless, scared that the trust is broken, anger at himself, and more.
To know more about these in intricate detail, read the article further so that you can be enlightened on this topic!
Before diving into everything you need to know about how a man feels when he hurts a woman, it’s important to understand why men hurt women, even those they love.
Motivations behind why men hurt even the women they cherish may be different, depending on the person. But there are common denominators behind these behaviors, which I will discuss below:
- Low self-esteem. When men lack self-love and don’t address their insecurities and shame, they project these onto others through cruel ways. Often, they don’t even know they’re doing this due to a lack of self-awareness as well.
- Self-loathing. Similarly, men will project their self-dislike toward others often through hurtful behaviors that most likely stem from past abusive experiences. They may be driven to cause pain the way they’ve experienced it before.
- Low empathy. People with low empathy find it difficult to understand other people’s perspectives of certain experiences, emotions, and thoughts. Thus, they are usually unaware of the hurt they may cause and are drastically inconsiderate people.
- Fear of rejection. Unfortunately, this may be more common than you think. Men would willingly hurt the women they love as a means of protection against the possibility of being rejected. They push them away and say hurtful words or do painful actions.
- Emotional immaturity. Men with emotional immaturity are insensitive, self-preoccupied, and lack self-reflection of their actions. This is why they tend to hurt others, even women they love, without feeling any guilt or remorse.
How a Man Feels When He Hurts a Woman: 18 Emotions and Reactions
You can’t avoid the inevitable pain that comes with romance, whether you’re in a relatively healthy relationship with a man or dating a walking, talking red flag. Men who hurt women should absolutely not be tolerated, but it’s also helpful to understand what happens in the aftermath.
Here are some possible emotions that they feel and actions they do after hurting a woman:
1. He Regrets His Actions or Words Immediately
Kind-hearted, empathetic men would immediately acknowledge and regret the hurtful actions he’s done or the painful words he told you. He instantly realizes the emotional and/or physical damage he’s done and becomes guilty and apologetic.
It’s also possible that he becomes withdrawn to put some space between the two of you. Aside from apologizing, he’ll also do the following actions to exhibit his regret:
- He asks you constantly how you’re feeling and if you need anything to feel better
- He becomes more open and communicative as well as loving and affectionate
- He does everything he can to make amends since he knows he can’t take back what he’s said or done
However, know that not all men are compassionate enough to admit their faults. A study confirms that women apologize more than men because the latter have a higher threshold for hurtful behavior. In other words, there are some behaviors that women view as hurtful, but men don’t consider them as such.
2. He Becomes Insecure
Especially when it’s his first time hurting a woman he loves, a man may be overcome with insecurity. Depending on the person, it can be quite difficult for both him and you to handle. The situation can escalate, and before you know it, you will have your hands full taking care of him.
He’ll most likely think of other horrible things he’s capable of doing or the pain he can inflict on you. Ultimately, he’s going to think that he’s undeserving of you if he has the power to hurt you, whether it was unintentional or not.
As such, it either makes him play the victim card and put the blame on you. This prompts you to apologize for whatever reason or constantly reassure him. Both situations can become extremely exhausting, uncomfortable, and even irritating for you.
3. He Gives Reasons to Justify His Actions
How a man feels when he hurts a woman can also be exhibited through the self-justification of his toxic behavior. This is quite problematic because he believes his perspective of the entire situation is right. He also assumes his hurtful actions are not necessarily morally wrong.
He does this to avoid taking responsibility for hurting your feelings and to twist the narrative. In this manner, they don’t take the full blame. Remember: just because they’re able to explain why they did what they did doesn’t prove their actions to be right.
If you hear any of these statements from him, he’s definitely trying to justify his actions:
- I only did it because you…
- I didn’t mean to hurt you; I was just trying to…
- I shouted back and lost my temper because you…
- I was rude to you because you…
Additionally, this is also a form of denial. He modifies the narrative to serve his interests, proves his “innocence,” and denies being a bad person. Let’s not lie to ourselves here; he’s a bad person, and I think you’re probably aware of that.
4. He Views Himself as a Failure
Men naturally adopt the role of protectors when it comes to relationships. This is due to the physical differences and societal perspectives of women being the “inferior” sex. When he hurts a woman, he feels as if he failed these duties as a man and as a partner.
Moreover, this feeling of weakness makes it harder for him to apologize because doing so means acknowledging that weakness. After all, men are hardwired since childhood to be powerful, strong, and dominant.
However, men who don’t have a fragile masculinity will acknowledge this weakness and failure. They will ponder on their faults, apologize and make up for them, and use this experience as motivation and opportunity to do better next time.
5. He Feels Lost and Confused
It’s also possible that a man feels lost and confused after hurting his partner. Especially when he doesn’t have much experience handling relationships or when he has too many things going on in his life. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have empathy; they just lack awareness and knowledge.
If he’s going through something mentally and emotionally taxing right now, he may have reflected these negative feelings toward you without intending to. It’s just the way the brain is wired to respond to these kinds of events. Nonetheless, the hurt you feel is totally valid.
After hurting you, he doesn’t know what to feel, think, or do. It’s possible that he’s feeling emotionally overstimulated about the situation to the extent that it keeps him frozen. Don’t worry because once he fully comprehends what’s going on, he will most likely ask for your forgiveness.
6. He Feels the Heavy Weight of Shame and Guilt
If he feels ashamed and guilty about what he’s done, it’s actually a good sign. Because that means he acknowledges the responsibility for the hurtful actions he’s done, especially when he was raised to respect women. However, what he does with his shame and guilt is key to identifying whether he’s a red flag or not.
There are many ways a man expresses his shame and guilt for hurting you; here are some you can point out:
- He stays silent or distances himself from you
- He prioritizes you, and he’s there when you need him
- He apologizes either genuinely or just for the sake of it
- He becomes even more loving and affectionate than before
- He gives you space and respects your boundaries but also tries to chase you
- He swears he’s going to be a better person, and you can see it both in his words and actions
- He makes it up to you by trying to repair the physical, emotional, or mental damage you’ve experienced
Additionally, these emotions can also come from not meeting your expectations. It’s the bare minimum to expect to be treated right by your partner. Since he’s failed to do that by hurting you, he feels ashamed and guilty for not having exercised better judgment and restraint.
7. He Spirals Downward to Helplessness
In addition to being lost and confused, how a man feels when he hurts a woman can also manifest itself in his helplessness. He feels completely helpless about what to do and how to make things right again. He’s desperate to fix things, but he simply doesn’t know the right words to say or actions to do.
He deeply longs to ease the pain he’s caused, but he’s also unsure of what to do. Worse, he feels that he may only make things worse if he tries to comfort you in any way possible. This is why it’s no surprise that often, this helplessness would lead to a sense of defeat.
In this case, emotionally mature men would eventually get over their helplessness and become proactive in making things right. Those who lack the emotional maturity to handle these situations won’t be taking the initiative. They’ll even most likely rely on you telling them what to do instead.
8. He Puts the Blame on Her
Unfortunately, the denial I’ve mentioned earlier is usually associated with defensiveness. This makes a guy shift the blame on the woman instead of owning up to their hurtful actions or words. These situations happen more commonly than you think, and it’s a harsh reality we face.
Deflecting blame is often a product of unresolved childhood trauma and may be done unconsciously or intentionally. It’s also a sign you’re dating a narcissist, and you should see this as a big, waving red flag. This may or may not be the first time that he’s done this to people in general.
The mere thought of suggesting that they did something wrong and aren’t taking accountability for their actions is unbelievable for these narcissistic men. They’ll resort to twisting your words, playing the victim card, and painting you as the bad guy just to deflect the blame.
9. He Feels Empowered
If he hurts you intentionally, it means he wants to exert his power, dominance, and control in the relationship. You’ll see it in his body language and facial expressions that he looks smug or proud even for what he’s done to you.
Furthermore, this is also an indication of the love—or clearly, the lack thereof—he has for you. He doesn’t truly love you if he wants to see you in pain. He’s either in love with the idea of you, or he’s just simply attached to you and the convenience you provide as a partner.
The moment you see these subtle actions, run for the hills because he clearly wants to harm you:
- He makes you feel like you couldn’t trust him
- He threatens and intimidates you either through words or actions
- He doesn’t respect any of your boundaries or your autonomy over your life
- He frequently criticizes you in terms of behavior, appearance, attitudes, and other aspects
- He never takes accountability for any of his wrongdoings and even thinks that you’re the one to blame
10. He Gains a Renewed Sense of Appreciation
How a man feels when he hurts a woman also includes gaining a renewed sense of appreciation for the woman he hurt. This might even come as desperate because he realizes that after hurting you, he needs you in his life and that he deeply cares for your well-being.
Moreover, he has this kind of mindset because hurtful situations and fights end up creating a rift between couples for a certain period. During this space, your value to him becomes painfully clear. He cannot stand your absence in his life; thus, he becomes even more profoundly grateful for you.
11. He Gaslights Her
How a man feels when he hurts a woman can also manifest itself in the form of gaslighting. Often paired with self-justification, it’s a form of manipulation wherein a person tries to convince another person of a different reality than what’s actually true.
Gaslighting is also a form of abuse, so the harm he’s causing you is essentially doubled—like fighting fire with fire. Additionally, he’s going to try to make you believe that his hurtful actions were something you deserved. Or that he was just reacting to your behavior instead when you haven’t done anything wrong.
Here’s how you can spot gaslighting easily so you can save yourself the time, effort, and potential pain:
- He tells white lies or the omitted truth
- He denies saying certain words or doing specific actions when you have certain proof
- He makes you doubt your reality and your judgment
- He fosters your distrust of others and even isolates you from them
Women who are stuck in abusive relationships with gaslighters usually end up believing in whatever justifications their partners have. Even if these reasons don’t add up or if they don’t make any sense at all.
12. His Hero Instinct Comes Out
Hero instinct is defined by James Bauer, a psychologist, in his book entitled His Secret Obsession. He deems it as the way to become a man’s top priority and deepest passion in his life. As mentioned earlier, the natural need for men to protect the people surrounding them is due to their hero instinct.
How a man feels when he hurts a woman can be easily seen when his hero instincts come out. Usually, these men never wanted to hurt you, and any pain they inflicted on you was unintentional. As such, he would do his best to make amends in every means he knows how.
Examples are giving you gifts, spending more quality time with you, comforting you, checking up on you constantly, and fixing things for you. This also includes other possible acts that exhibit their love language.
13. He Gives You The Silent Treatment
After realizing your feelings were hurt, men would most likely give you space. This is either to give you time to breathe and process the situation, or they willingly want to opt out of the conversation. Let me discuss the difference between both:
If he’s giving you space, it means he wants to distance himself first. He wants to mull over the situation, acknowledge his wrongdoings, forgive himself for his failures and weaknesses, and ask for your forgiveness. This may take some time and understanding, especially if he hasn’t dealt with these kinds of things before.
However, if he’s giving you the silent treatment of his own volition, it may indicate that he doesn’t want to talk about what happened. This is because he doesn’t want to be held accountable for his hurtful actions or words. Know that this is unhealthy as it gives him a false sense of control over the situation.
14. He Feels Scared
How a man feels when he hurts a woman can also show in his fear. He’s scared of your reaction, losing you, hurting you again, what other people would think, confrontation, and other consequences it has on your relationship.
Things might take a worse turn if he doesn’t end up doing anything, miscommunication happens, or if he takes too much time to reach out to you. However, if you’re willing enough, wait it out and see if he takes the initiative.
15. He Feels Angry and Frustrated at Himself
A man may also feel anger and frustration, but it isn’t directed at you. He feels upset at himself for doing something that hurt you and for not being able to protect you from feeling this pain. Again, it’s all about their natural instinct to protect.
This is especially true if the root cause of the pain is something he’s said or done during the heat of the argument. He didn’t mean it, but he couldn’t help but do it anyway, and now he can’t turn back time and undo his actions or words. This makes him angry for not knowing any better.
Keep in mind that, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s a totally different story if he’s angry at you instead of himself after hurting you. This is misplaced anger and an indication of abuse and toxic behavior that you should look out for.
16. He Becomes Emotionally Vulnerable
Men have long been taught that showing any form of vulnerability is equivalent to being weak. Therefore, as men grow up, they try their hardest to live by these teachings. However, after hurting the women they love, men will eventually realize that being emotionally vulnerable can help in reconciliation.
Here are ways they can show this:
- Acknowledging his mistakes and deeply apologizing for them through words and actions
- Opening up about his past hardships, experiences, and traumas. This includes his personal insecurities or struggles that could help in explaining why he did what he did.
- Getting or at least considering professional help
- Asking friends and family for emotional support
- Talking about the negative emotions he feels without blaming you or insinuating that you have anything to do with them. Examples are anger, jealousy, fear, shame, and disappointment.
If he becomes emotionally vulnerable during these situations, this indicates their willingness and drive to make amends and move forward to become a better person and partner.
17. He Feels Uncertain About the Relationship
Coupled with the fear he feels of losing you, he’s also uncertain that you would find it in your heart to forgive him again. He doesn’t know where the relationship will go and if there’s a chance that it will be fixed. However, he hopes nonetheless that things will take a positive turn in the end.
Of course, this all depends on the severity of his words and actions as well as your willingness to take him back. Additionally, even if he feels this uncertainty, he should be trying to win you back at all costs. If he loves you enough and sees you as someone he wants to spend his future with, he definitely should!
18. He Agrees With Her Decision
For some women, pain—of any kind—is non-negotiable. This is why they may resort to having some time off or breaking up with their partners if they experience hurtful situations. How a man feels when he hurts a woman also includes agreeing with whatever their partners ultimately decide.
They don’t do this because their love isn’t enough or because they also want to break things off. It’s the final product of having fought too hard for a relationship to work. But in the end, he realizes he has nothing left to do but respect whatever their partners feel.
Of course, men will have a difficult time coming to terms with break-up decisions. However, they may also realize that if it’s the only way they can truly make up for what he’s done, they will accept losing you. That’s love and relationships for you!
How Should Women React When a Man Hurts Her?
Women should prioritize their healing first and foremost. During this period of pain and emotional turmoil, be gentle and allow yourself to feel all possible emotions you could have towards the situation. Spend time with your friends and family, and ask for their support.
If possible, open an avenue for communication with your partner. Address the issue and explain why you were hurt by his words and/or actions. Seek his apology, and if he doesn’t take responsibility for what happened, then it’s best to walk away safely while you still can.
Lastly, be open to forgiveness, but be wary of repeated toxic, abusive, or harmful behavior from your partner. Don’t allow yourself to tolerate this, or else you will end up in a vicious cycle of pain and suffering.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do men care when they hurt a woman’s feelings?
Yes, but only when they didn’t mean to hurt the woman. They will be riddled with guilt, shame, and the overwhelming need to make things better. Otherwise, men who intentionally inflict pain and cause emotional distress to women, even if they love them, are most likely narcissistic and abusive.
2. Will a man hurt you if he loves you?
Unfortunately, pain in relationships is something you can’t avoid; it’s all a part of love, dating, and romance. If a man truly loves you, he won’t consciously hurt you but may unconsciously perform actions he didn’t know actually hurt you. If a man knowingly hurts you, don’t even hesitate to leave him.
3. How do you act after he hurt you?
Take all the time and space you need away from him if you need to properly process your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Wait for him to apologize and make amends. If he truly loves you, he would be proactive and take the initiative in doing so without you having to tell him.
Now that you know how a man feels when he hurts a woman, your perspective and understanding of how men handle these kinds of situations widen. Usually, men take their time to address the situation, fix whatever needs to be fixed, and ask for forgiveness, so just wait it out.
However, you should also take note of potentially harmful, toxic, and abusive emotions, behavior, and reactions from men after they hurt you. This is a strong indication that you have to leave the relationship or at least consider it.
Josephine Fuller is a contributing writer for dailytimesblog.com.
She is a Licensed Relationship Therapist, and She has been researching love and relationships for over 20 years. She specializes in relationship therapy, intimacy building, and existential exploration. She’s also an astrologer who uses the stars to explore and explain her unique perspective on life. With a special blend of wit, wisdom, and insight, Josephine brings the heavens down to Earth in her writing about astrology.