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Breakups can be a messy business. Emotions go haywire. Boundaries get crossed and shat on. Promises get broken. Arguments emerge. And ultimately, insults start flying left and right. It’s a wild, confusing affair to undergo. That’s the bad news. The good news is that getting clarity about what it means when your ex insults you and how to handle those insults isn’t all that difficult. Let’s dive into it.
The Reasons Your Ex Insults You And What It Means
Here are some possible reasons why an ex insults you, listed in no specific order.
1. They’re testing you to see if you can hold your ground and stand up for yourself
In other words, by insulting you, your ex may be testing you to see if you’ll lose control and get pissed off. This is especially true if you had anger issues in the past, and it was one of the factors that led to your breakup.
Basically, to ensure that you’ve really changed before they open themselves back up to you, they may decide to push all your anger buttons by insulting you (often in addition to acting cold and distant and telling you that they will never forgive you for whatever you’ve done).
If you react negatively, your ex will know that you haven’t really changed and may decide to move on and start fresh with someone else. Alternatively, they may be testing you because they’re worried your temper could lead to more serious issues, such as violence and abuse. Or, they may be hoping that you’ll lose it so they can have another reason not to get back together with you.
2. They are trying to get revenge for how you made them feel in the relationship
That is, they aim to seek retribution for the negative emotions you caused them, and that’s why they treat you like shit and deliberately insult you — or keep insulting you.
Your ex may think, “Geez, they were so awful to me. Now it’s my turn to make them feel the same way and see how they like being treated terribly.”
Essentially, your ex is hurting and wants to lash out at you to make you experience what they went through and teach you a lesson.
3. They’re taking advantage of their power over you
After a breakup, when you feel guilty about what happened, you may take all the blame and allow your ex to treat you poorly and insult you. This gives them a sense of power over you, as they know you want to mend things and are remorseful.
With this power, your ex may behave in a condescending or domineering way, relishing in their dominance. They may even think, “Let’s see how much they’ll suck up to me, even though I’m being so awful.”
Maybe this is the case with your ex. If it is, know this: the more you let your ex abuse their power, the less respect and attraction they’ll foster for you. And that’s a one-way ticket to permanent rejection. For no one wants to be with someone they can’t look up to, respect, and feel proud of.
4. They’re Just Seeking Your Attention
Another potential reason why your ex insults you is that they’re seeking attention. They know that by insulting you, they’re likely to get a reaction out of you, whether it’s an angry response, a pleading one, or even a conciliatory one. This reaction can be addictive, as it gives them a sense of control over you and the situation.
Also, insulting you can be a way for your ex to vent their own frustrations and negative emotions. By lashing out, they may feel like they’re releasing some of the pain and anger that they’ve been holding onto since the breakup. This can be particularly true if they feel like you were the one who caused the breakup or if they’re still processing the pain of losing the relationship.
5. They Lack Emotional Intelligence
For those uninitiated, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It includes skills such as self-awareness, empathy, and effective communication.
Now a lack of emotional intelligence can easily be a possible reason your ex insults you. That is, they may not be aware of how their words and actions affect you and may not have the necessary skills to express their emotions more flexibly and respectfully.
Another possible reason why your ex insults you is…
6. They no longer care enough about you to be nice
Generally, when a person decides to break up with their partner, it’s because they have already lost their feelings of respect, attraction, and love for them. As a result, when they interact with their ex after the breakup, those negative feelings cause them to be less inclined to be nice.
Even worse, they may even feel that their ex deserves to be treated poorly after the way they behaved during their relationship. In their mind, they owe their ex nothing and have no obligation to be nice to them. This mentality can lead them to insult or act dismissively or rudely when they interact.
Perhaps this theory explains why your ex is insulting you?
7. They want you to know it’s over For Good
When a relationship ends, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss and sadness. However, it’s also common to hold onto the hope of a future reconciliation. And with time and distance, it’s possible that the love between two people can be rekindled.
On the other hand, if your ex is being particularly harsh and hurtful towards you, it could be a sign that they have moved on completely and want to ensure that you know it. They may not want to leave any room for doubt that the relationship is truly over and that there is no chance of reconciliation in the future.
Learn to recognize this. All it takes is a little self-awareness and reflection. And once you do, accept it — for it is the sad reality.
8. You’re Acting Needy
This is arguably the most common reason your ex insults you. Maybe you’re…
- …constantly reaching out or oversharing stuff.
- …always asking for explanations about why things didn’t work out.
- …showed up unannounced at their doorstep.
- …keep sending too many gifts or letters.
- … trying to make them jealous, and they can notice it.
- …spreading rumors or secrets.
- …talking behind their back.
- …blaming them for the breakup.
I could go on, but you get the point. Avoid these needy, unattractive behaviors, or you’ll subject yourself to innumerable insults.
How to Respond to When Your Ex Insults You
If your ex is insulting you, it can be tempting to respond the same way. However, this is unlikely to be productive and may only escalate the situation — which obviously won’t help you mend your relationship or feel any better.
Instead, follow these tips:
1. Don’t Take Your Ex’s Insults personally
I already wrote this earlier but fuck it — tattoo the following onto your mind: your ex’s insults have absolutely nothing to do with you but everything to do with them. Your ex is probably dealing with their own issues, insecurities, and frustrations. Recognize this and detach from the insults.
2. Don’t Respond In An Unfriendly Way
If you react negatively or show annoyance, neediness, or defensiveness, your ex will lose attraction for you. So don’t do it. Remember: one of the quickest ways to turn off your ex is to be all butthurt or intimidated by their insults.
3. Respond In A Kind, Friendly Way
When your ex insults you, come back at them with playfulness and ease, and empathy. Perhaps by saying something akin to, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” “I hope you find what you’re looking for,” or “You may be right; I’ll think about that;”
Generally, if you accept their insults and just coast with them, not reacting like a deranged idiot, bringing them up to your level with confidence and care, you’ll reaffirm to them that you are attractive and worthwhile — not to mention how much better you’ll feel about yourself.
4. Stay Calm At All Times
It’s natural to feel angry or upset when your ex insults you, but — similarly to above — try to remain calm and collected. Reacting emotionally will only give your ex more power over you and worsen the situation.
5. Set And Enforce Proper Boundaries
If your ex continues to insult you, set boundaries and let them know that you won’t tolerate such disrespectful behavior. Be firm, but avoid getting defensive or escalating the situation.
If you let go of your boundaries while not wanting to, you’ll lose most, if not all, respect your ex has for you. And this will only propel them to treat you with even more disrespect. Hence the adage, “What you tolerate, you encourage.” Thus, getting back together will be next to impossible.
6. Seek Support
Dealing with insults can be emotionally draining. If you’re feeling tired of it all, or are on the edge of a tantrum, seek support from people who can help you process your feelings immediately.
Talking to a trusted friend or family member, a therapist, or joining a support group can provide you with the resources and support you need to navigate these challenging situations and avoid blowing up.
7. If All Else Fails, Leave Them Alone
If your ex keeps insulting you and acting toxic, it’s best if you cut contact with them entirely and never give them another shot, even if they tell you how much they miss you and want you back.
The fact is that you need to have enough self-respect to quit trying to get back with an ex who is acting like a piece of shit. Otherwise, there’s a major chance you’ll get strung along and end up devastated.
Further resources for Understanding And Dealing With Your Ex’s Insults
- Understanding And Managing Neediness: one of the most common reasons your ex insults you is you being needy. Well, fear not: this guide will help you be less needy. Give it a read.
- 12 Signs You Had A Toxic Relationship With Your Ex: if your ex keeps insulting you, they’re probably a toxic piece of shit that you should run away from. This guide will help you identify if that’s actually the case.
- Change Your Mind About Getting Your Ex Back: a guide on developing self-respect. A must-read if you’re one of the people who let their ex insult them all they want.
- The Guide To Setting Healthy Boundaries With Your Ex: another must-read if you keep enduring your ex’s insults without ever standing up for yourself.
- My Re-Attraction Cheat Sheet: a guide with quick information about every step of getting an ex back: how to reach out, become more attractive, handle no contact and dating, transition into and maintain a healthy relationship, and more.
Most "re-attraction science" techniques are logical placebos for creating emotional realities; ways for people to cope with emotional issues.
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