People can forget the power of words. When used in a nice way, the results are fantastic; they can make others feel good about themselves, and brighten up their day. Although, words aren't always used in the nicest way. When they're not, the results can be pretty brutal.
People on Quora share the most hurtful thing someone ever said to them. Content has been edited for clarity.
"In 2012, my husband and I had been married for eight years (together for 12) and had two beautiful daughters, 2 and 4 years old. I noticed a sharp decline in my husband's interest in the children. He stopped asking about our oldest daughter's therapy (she was born with multiple learning disabilities). He stopped picking them up. Playing with them. Talking to them. When I asked him, he said he was overwhelmed at work.
One night, while he was in the shower, he received a text and I did something I had never in our marriage had done before. I checked his phone. I saw an exchange between him and his girlfriend. I saw dirty conversations with at least a dozen women. But most hurtful of all was a conversation he had with a woman regarding our children.
He said 'I wish I had never become a father. I wish they were like dogs and could be put in a cage. I could just throw kibble in there.'
I felt like I had been punched in the gut and stabbed in the heart. Our babies. Our blessings, reduced to nothing by their own father. I filed for divorce a week later. He gave up full legal custody without so much as a thought. I didn't care that he was unfaithful. I didn't care that he emptied both children's savings accounts for his own pleasures. But I could not fathom those words about his babies. I asked him how he could feel that way. Why did he not love his girls?
His actual response was, 'All we do is feed them, give them baths and play stupid games with them. I am destined for more than that. My life is going to be so much more.'
I can honestly say that those were the most hurtful words I have ever received. Because I knew that they would never be loved by their father. And one day, they would be old enough to be devastated by that.
Five years later, he has been married and divorced again. His children barely recognize him. I am not sure if he is living the life he dreamed, but I know I am. I have my two little angels to care for. I only hope I am enough."
"When I was in 6th grade (now I’m in 11th), I moved to a new school. I was and still am a very energetic and overall optimistic person, so I immediately tried going to random students and introducing myself. I guess everyone wanted to be alone, as summer had just ended, or they weren’t interested in making new friends. Everyone had known each other from elementary school. However, I had gone to a private school, so I was completely lost.
Needless to say, I was a little bummed out that no-one wanted to take the time to get to know me, or even talk to me, but it didn’t bother me much.
I spent August alone, occasionally talking to students in class or the hallways, but I didn’t really have a 'friend.' I didn’t care, though; I just told myself everyone had their reasons.
I still remember the exact scenario: one day, I was sitting in a classroom during lunch (I had lunch detention), when three girls walked in and asked the proctor if they could speak to me really quick. I was excited. Were they going to ask to be friends? Could we do the things that other kids did, like skip class together, or order food to the school?
The thoughts made me smile.
'Do you wanna hang out with us? You seem nice”, one girl, who I'll name girl 'A,' said.
I beamed. 'Yes!'
Girl A smiled and laughed, and the two behind her did the same. I was confused, but happy. After lunch, we met up, and they introduced me to the last girl in their group, girl 'D.' Girl D looked sad, and I could tell she was crying. I asked what’s wrong, and the girls filled me in: Apparently, girl D’s boyfriend had been cheating, and she was devastated. They told me it would be best if someone could cheer her up. I told them I would, and they smiled again.
Fast forward another week or two, and girl D was back to normal. I was with her all two weeks, always telling her that she was perfect, cracking dumb jokes, and staying happy with her.
I went to lunch one day, and found the four girls sitting down, all laughing together. I slid into the bench.
'What’s up, guys?'
They all stopped. 'Um, why are you here?' girl A asked me.
'…What? What do you mean?' I said, confused.
'Are you dumb? I asked you why you’re here.' She scoffed. 'Don’t tell me you actually thought we were friends?' The three other girls laughed.
I was shocked, and thought it was a joke, but judging their expressions, it wasn’t. I felt my face burning and my eyes watering, but I knew that I could never cry in front of them. I hated crying in front of people, much less my ‘friends/’ I turned my head back.
'Are you crying? Don’t take it seriously, we were never friends. I just needed you to cheer girl D up. You’re too happy, you know? Happy people like you are honestly annoying,' girl A said.
I turned back around.
'I don’t like your kind. You’re useless unless someone’s upset.' I shrank. I looked down, and held back my tears.
'…Bye?' she ended. It was my cue to leave.
I turned around and left. Later that day, my mom sensed something was wrong; I wasn’t talking, but rather silent.
'Are you okay?' she asked.
I sat up and smiled. 'Duh! It’s just one of my friends is sad, so it makes me sad, too.' I couldn’t let anyone know.
I ended up alone until mid-October. I found similar interests with other girls, and we became close. I still always thought back to girl A, and how she didn’t like my 'kind,' whatever that meant. I thought it would be best if I wasn’t smiling, or if I was less happy overall. It crushed me.
But she didn’t stop me."
"My mother left when I was three years old. Growing up, my sisters always told me that it was my fault that she left. They said it was because my hair is straight and my skin is dark. My mother looks caucasian, and my father is dark-skinned. I am more like my father’s complexion, but have my mother’s straight hair. My sisters never let me forget how different I looked in comparison to them. In fact, they proffered that I was adopted, and continued this narrative to today.
So I spent my entire childhood fantasising about this fair-skinned woman, who I had only a passing memory of, and several pictures. I dreamt of meeting her, and of finally feeling that I belonged somewhere, to someone. I used to write to her, but received one letter in all my life. I wrote stories about her, one was even published in the national newspaper and won a competition (they did not know that it was fiction); that is how vividly perfect my imagination was about what I envisioned a mother’s love and acceptance to be.
I finally met her. After years of efforts and longing to meet her, I was sponsored to the USA. I arrived in NYC. First order of the day was to meet and reunite with my beloved mother (in my mind). We met, we walked, we talked, we exchanged so much about our lives. It was heaven. I finally felt like someone in the world cared about me for who and what I am. That afternoon, she took me to her church for Mass, and afterwards we headed back to her home. I did not want the day to end.
At her home, we ran into one of her friends, They chatted for a few moments, and the friend became curious as to who I was. Before my mother could say anything, the friend blurted out,
'Oh my God, she looks so much like you, Ingrid. Is this your daughter?' the friend asked.
The response was lightening quick. Like a fatal snap punch to the head from a bare knuckle boxer, that you never saw, but only felt after its delivery.
'No! She is my niece,' my mother answered
I wanted the day to end, right there, right then. I excused myself and went home, wishing that the earth would just open up and snatch me. I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my stomach, and all my blood had drained through the gaping hole. I was effete from the loss, and weary from carrying this load of rejection and repudiation, but there was no place to lay it down. I walked for a very long time, to nowhere in particular, afraid that if I stopped walking the weight would overcome me.
One week later my Granny (her mother), who I was staying with in NYC, brought me a dress (it was as ugly as it was tawdry) and said that my mother had sent it for me. I recognised it for what it was - a cheap palliative. To save her the embarrassment, I accepted it, but immediately gave it away. My mother called to explain that she had to do that because no one in her current life knew that she had children, so she had to deny it. Because I so wanted a relationship with her, I continued to seek one. Following that day, however, she has denied me twice more, but none was as painful as that first time. In fact the other two times were just plain ludicrous.
After the last denial (five years ago), I no longer feel the need or desire for a relationship with her; I therefore do not seek one…..life goes on."
"My father had left my mother for another woman when I was 5-years-old, and pretty much walked out of my life as well. I spent all of my childhood and teenage years desperately trying to get any nugget of attention from him during the rare times he would allow me to visit him and whichever wife he was with at the time.
I was on an overnight visit when I was 15. That night, my 14-year-old step-sister chose to sneak out of the window to be with her boyfriend, unbeknownst to me. I was asleep in the other bed and didn’t hear a thing.
At about 4am, my father came charging into the room, shouting at me, 'Where is she? WHERE IS SHE?;
It took me a minute to work out what had happened, and I stammered out honestly that I didn’t know where she had gone. She had said nothing to me. He glared at me.
'Tell me where she went or I’ll kick the heck out of you!' he screamed.
I started crying and my step-mother pulled him out of the room. I could hear her say that she believed me, I obviously didn’t know where my step-sister had gone, but my father wasn’t spent with his rage.
'Why do I have to deal with this? I never even wanted kids anyway!'
I am my father’s only natural child. He has had a string of step-children, all of which he chose to live with. He never wanted me, though. That was a rough pill to swallow."
"Last fall, my husband and I were arguing, again, as we had done many times before because of his behavior. We are young, married for 13 years and have three daughters. I was 22 when we got married (2004) and essentially gave up my life to support my new husband's sudden career choice. He lied about it and kinda left me without a choice to agree. I loved him and decided if it was something he needed, deep down needed, I would support him. Regardless of the lie that he perpetrated.
This new job moved us to Chicago a week later, and he's been gone since. That was July 2006. I had just had my second daughter six months prior. He travels as a consultant during the week and is only home on the weekends. We've moved about 10 times. I had no family or friends, zero help from him, and by 2009, a third daughter. All my girls were under the age of 5. I envied single woman because they could date. I can not explain the pangs of loneliness I have felt.
Worse, I was breaking my back, taking care of EVERYTHING, doing it alone without help and at times, going weeks without talking to an actual adult. He, meanwhile, is living it up like he is royalty. Going out every night, drinking, sleeping around, getting promoted, being rewarded, celebrating with his 'team,' traveling internationally to 'network’ and always taking advantage of any/every possible opportunity to enjoy himself. Women included. Like an idiot, I have continued to fight for our marriage. For us. For him.
Back to that night, he was back in town early on a Thursday night so went in to the local office that Friday. Around 8 pm he calls to inform me he'll be going out to a 'business dinner' and he doesn't know when he'll be home. He told me where he was going, and it occurred to me I had been there before but they didn't serve food. That's because it was a bar. I called the 'restaurant' and confirmed. Hours later he comes home hammered. I had had it. I was so mad and hurt and he acted like he couldn't care less. He wasn't even sorry. Didn't care that he got busted lying. No. Shame. At. All.
I screamed at him, 'Why don't you care about your family? I'm tired of fighting so hard while you just continue to destroy us.'
'Be worth fighting for.'
Then, he shrugged his shoulders and got in bed. He played on his phone for a few minutes, and then said good night before turning out his lamp.
It stopped me in my tracks and I just froze. I stood there like an idiot. I was paralyzed with shame. Just to think about it feels me with a humiliation and shame so hot that my skin literally turns red."
"I had a best friend for 45 years. We shared everything together — vacations, pregnancy, life's traumas, our children grew up together.
I was 49 years old at the time, and we were meeting for our weekly lunch date; some of our mutual friends would all meet up for lunch at least once a week. My husband of 28 years had just left me for a younger woman. It had been about three months, and I was very heartbroken.
We were once again planning the yearly vacation (to the river), something my husband and I started some 15 years prior. For sometime I'd been thinking how weird my friends were all acting, especially my friend Lisa. When it came time to get down to the details of the trip, Lisa asked if she could talk to me in private on behalf of our friends, her husband Dave and herself. We sat down at a local restaurant and this is what she said to me:
'Carrie, we have all talked about this and we have decided to not invite you on vacation this year and these are the reasons: We are tired of you crying all the time, frankly it makes everyone uncomfortable, Dave (her husband) hates your beach chair and it causes him undue stress (my chair was a small folding chair, they all had chairs in a bag), You’re a downer and, You’re single now and it's just not going to work.'
I was so freaking sick to my stomach at what she said! Then she said that she wouldn't be seeing me as much as she used to, but that I could come over on an occasional weekend if they weren't doing anything. I was so hurt and I didn't think my heart could break any more than it already was, but I cried for weeks! Losing my husband and my best friend was just terrible, for I still loved them both.
It's been almost seven years since. I have put both of them to rest in my heart and moved on with no malice or bad will towards them. But my heart still aches with the loss of them both on rare occasions."
"All 9th graders at my school were required to take a health class, which covered topics like food, sleep, narcotics, sleeping with other people, and mental illness.
I happened to be in a small class where 1/3 of the people hated me for being me, and the other 2/3 didn’t care what happened. The teacher also ignored what classmates did to each other. People took the chance to take out their frustrations on me because they know I won’t fight back.
Normally, those kids would say things like 'I feel sorry for his parents,' 'You set the world record for Most Useless Person,' or generic name-calling—all of which I’ve been used to since before I was 10.
Their insults adapted to the changing school environment. In health class, they said things like 'Good thing no one wants to have kids with you' during the sleeping around unti or “You look like an anorexic girl' during the nutrition unit.
During the mental illness unit, the boy and girl in front of me turned around and said something that hurt a lot more than usual:
Boy: 'You know, we haven’t had a suicide in a while.'
Girl: 'Why don’t you volunteer?'
Boy: 'That way we won’t lose anyone important.'
I did my best to ignore them and continue my work but those words pushed me to the breaking point. I put my head down on my desk so no one could see me crying.
A few people nearby giggled as the boy said, 'Jeez, you can’t even take a joke, wimp.'
I excused myself and hung out by the locker banks for the last 3/4 of class."
"I came from a pretty strict family, so when I turned 18, I really took my new found freedom to the limit. At that time, there was a specific group that I hung out with a little more than others. There were four guys , and two girls, and the six of us got together whenever we could.
At that time, I developed a huge crush on one of them, Matthew. He was about four years older than I was, quiet, intelligent, mature and logical. He was totally different from all the guys I've dated. We’d spend time together, sometimes privately, and other times with the rest of the group. But what we shared privately between us, was never made known to the rest.
So, came one hot Sunday afternoon, one of the guys invited me and the other girl to go for a swim at the common pool at his apartment complex. It seemed like a great idea for a warm and lazy afternoon, so we went along, and had lots of fun together. At one point, my friend stepped away to make a phone call, leaving me alone at the pool with him.
Him: 'Can I tell you something?'
Me: 'Sure! Why not?'
Him: 'Well, I happen to have a really big member.'
Him: 'I mean it. I really do.'
I was so grateful when my friend came back, and conversation ended, like it never happened. So, naturally, when I met up with Matthew, I had to tell him about it.
Me: 'It’s terrible right? I mean, why did he say? It was so gross and unnecessary.'
Matthew: 'Well, for one, he don’t have a big member.'
Me: 'I think that's besides the point.'
Matthew: 'If you are wondering why he chose to say something like that to you, then perhaps you should look into the mirror, and ask yourself if you encouraged him to do so. He probably thinks that you're cheap, and you'll sleep with him if he said that.'
Me: 'Do I look cheap to you?'
Him: 'Well, there's probably a reason why he chose to say that, and to you. So, I guess in a way, you probably do.'
I left that night, and I eventually cut off all contacts with them. But those words, those piercing words he said, left more than an impression.
It took me 3 years, before I could bear to put on a dress again."
"One day when I came home from school, my dad told me someone was going to come and interview my mom. Someone from the Multiple Sclerosis foundation.
So here I am, 14 and pretty excited because up until then, most of the people featured in the MS newsletter were people who could still walk and do things like write their signature. I quickly grab my bag and try to get mom's makeup done. By some miracle, I manage to recreate the red lip look she used to wear every day. Meanwhile, mom wonders if maybe she should put on proper shoes, the ones that make her feet swell and feel painful. I chuck off my own and trade them for my bunny slippers; nobody will notice her black socks now.
Eventually, the doorbell rings. I rush to open it. A woman in a neatly pressed suit greets me, holding some sort of case. She looks like a lawyer or an accountant, not at all like I imagined any reporter to be.
'You must be Jade, nice to meet you—'
I cut her off: 'Oh no, that's my mom. Let me introduce you.'
I'm starting to turn around but she doesn't move.
'You're her daughter?' she asks and I nod.
'Well,' she says, 'I guess I will be interviewing you in the future.'
I look at her in confusion.
She smiles at me and says, 'Because you'll get it too of course! It's genetic.'
I'm just standing there, my mouth catching flies, because though I had read about the genetic link, I didn't think it was a direct one. Was I doomed to go through the same thing? How many healthy years did I have left? And since when did they know enough about MS to predict these things anyway?
While I'm still standing there, my mom has driven herself to the hallway, her chair blocking the entrance to the living room.
'The interview is hereby cancelled,' she announces. The woman makes a confused face.
'I want your full name so I can file a complaint after you leave, which will be in the next ten seconds. How can you come here and scare my daughter about something you clearly know nothing about?' my mom asks.
Then my dad walked in, and he has white hair like Santa Claus, but his face is not nearly as friendly looking, so the woman removed herself from the house without saying a word.
Like a typical teenager who is too cool to show real emotions, I grumbled about the effort I put in applying the lipstick. My mom kissed me on the cheek, leaving a big red smudge. 'It wasn't a waste,”' she said.
A few weeks later we got an apology letter. They never did ask for another interview.
"When I was in the fourth grade, a family moved in down the street from me. They had three girls and one was my age (let's call her 'Emily'). Emily and I became best friends very fast. We played together, sat together on the bus, and hung out every day after school without fail. I've always been a good kid. My parents raised me right and taught me to respect adults. Everyone I came across always regarded me as a really well-behaved kid.
A year after Emily came to my neighborhood, her family decided to move to a smaller home. I practically lived with them so I helped load the moving truck and made trips to the new house with them.
I remember while we were heading to the new house. I was in the car with Emily and her dad, and Emily was so happy that I was helping them move. She turned to her dad and said:
'Do you trust her now?'
That hit me like a blow to the head. I was fighting back tears. I hadn't done anything for me not to be trusted. I was a great friend to Emily and the rest of the girls, but he was having private talks with his daughters about me.
At the time, I was upset, but now that I'm older it just makes me angry. I was a child, but I wasn't regarded as someone on the same level of innocence as his daughter, most likely because of the color of my skin. I was nine years old when I became aware that people see me as a threat for no reason. I realized then not everyone is going to treat me fairly, regardless of whether I deserve it or not. Eight years later, Emily and I are not friends anymore. I still wish her a ‘happy birthday’ every year, but after that day I can't truly be close to her. I'm not comfortable with her parents or what they teach about others."