How responsible are we for other people's feelings


Words shouldn’t hurt us. As Christians we should be able to deflect or withstand insults. If we are living are lives correctly and have enough confidence in ourselves, people’s words should have little to no impact on us. When does this become arrogance. One extreme is always being bothered by others criticism and another is never listening to others because you think you’re right. Being bothered easily won’t help you grow or handle life. Another extreme can be never taking responsibility for how your words or actions hurt others. Underestimating and lead to victim blaming.
To an extent we are responsible for our words whether or not they are intended to offend.

Should we censor our selves because our opinion could hurt someone else?

Surely the truth does offend others. People should be open to hearing what others say without taking it personally.

Where is the fine line?


Either extreme is not considerate that others are different than us.


The first thing you have to remember is that the Truth is always going to offend someone to some degree. That is why they wanted to crucify Jesus.

Second, not all offense is genuine. A lot of this is just faux outrage and a lot of people who demonstrate such outrage know it. The operative word you are looking for is scandal.

So essentially, such outrage is used as a means to try and shut Catholics up because whatever argument they are making, they know it can’t win on an even playing field.

Third, one of the biggest problems today, and perhaps the biggest, is that people don’t listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening to someone who is pro-choice, anti-marriage, anti-Catholic, anti-Pope, Protestant or atheist. It’s not for everyone and certainly not for those who are so easily swayed or who don’t even know their own faith.

Fourth—as far as censorship goes, government mandated censroship is a terrible idea. But as far as self-censorship goes, it depends. If you’re going to have a conversation with someone about an issue, then I think you need to give it your best shot even if it’s not perfect. The whole point to having a discussion is for you to say something and then if you are wrong, well, people can let you know what they think.

When does this become arrogance. Well, it becomes arrogance when the Truth is no longer your goal. A lot of times people will say things just to spite others. Satire and having a sense of humor are fine. Even Elisha had a sense of humor. But I think you can tell when someone is just directing rage. Internet communication especially is nuanced, but a lot of this isn’t rocket science.


You would do well to read a book on emotional intelligence.

Your theories often show quite a bit of immaturity and need for growth in the emotional realm. That’s ok. We all need to grow.

We need to balance many things in both our online and face to face interactions. Sometimes, what a person needs is a kind word. Other times they need a swift kick to the hind end.

Sometimes a kind word can contain a strict directive or a line in the sand. Sometimes an abrupt point-blank truth-telling can be done without pain.

It’s all a personal decision. There are some posters on this board, for instance, that need really blunt answers. There are others that do better with soft responses. My level of tolerance will be different than someone else. And if they get hot and bothered and administer the swift kick in the pants to a poster it doesn’t mean that it’s bad even if I wouldn’t have done it.


You’re right. I have difficulty understanding why people are hurt by certain things. My sister can accept a blunt answer and overlook someone’s rudeness to see the merit in their words. She may begrudgingly accept the truth delivered by an enemy.
Others cannot handle curt answers. Some may even cry if you raise their voice. Others won’t listen to what others say if they seem rude, aggressive or harsh.


Not everyone thinks Catholicism is the truth. Some people can joke about almost anything from their weight to going bald. Others cannot accept aging. For some every offense is implanted deeply in their heart.

Is it matter of a lack of confidence?

Sometimes I wish more people have a higher threshold for pain.

Just because something makes you uncomfortable or offends you, doesn’t mean it should be dismissed nor does it make it untrue.


Sometimes I wish it weren’t such a big deal to be wrong or to make mistakes.


You really remind of former poster Peligiathe Penit. Same exact posting style.


I try to both say things with charity and listen with charity. Both of these are something I have had to work on, as I used to have a bad habit of saying things without any thought to how it would make the other person feel, while at the same time magnifying every perceived offense from others.

When listening to criticism, I try to keep in mind that there might be some validity in what the person is saying and focus on that, and then respond in a way that acknowledges their valid points. (e.g. “I agree, I should have been more careful about watching where I was going …”) I also try to remember that most people feel awkward about criticizing others, even when they are totally justified in the points they are trying to make. They might be clumsy with their word choice or a bit defensive as a result.

When I have to criticize, again, I try to remind myself that people often feel vulnerable when being criticized. I try to assume the best possible scenario – that they have the best of intentions and that whatever they have done that I didn’t like, they may have had a good reason for that I am not aware of, or they simply may not have been aware that some of what they were doing was having a negative impact on others.

At the same time, we have to have a reasonable amount of self-respect and honesty. We have to recognize when someone is just being insulting and know when to walk away from the conversation, and we have to know when someone is giving us a lame excuse for bad behavior. It’s a balance.


Haha. You found me. I forgot my password. Either that or someone reported me. I’m still struggling with the same thoughts. I have found a spiritual director. She’s a woman too. So some things have changed. Are you fed up with me yet? :blush:


No, but if you have a spiritual director you should refer to his/her advice on some things.


Give me time…just kiddin.



I think a little charity when people get these things wrong would go a long way. We should all act with consideration towards other peoples feelings but getting the balance right can be tricky, some people aren’t good at reading people, some people have mood disorders that can make them very sensitive, for some people getting offended is their way of virtue signalling.

On forums it’s even harder as there is no body language or tone of voice. I have seen people being blunt to the point of being jerks but I have also seen people who appear to be posting for opinions when they really just want validation for their bad decisions, anything however gently put is the wrong answer and offensive.


Interesting. As Pelegia I got the impression that you weren’t really open and were just wondering why you couldn’t say what you liked without consequence. However, now I feel that you are genuinely trying to find the right balance.


I wasn’t as honest as my other persona


It shouldn’t be, if you are dealing with rational people.

There are some people who use hurt feelings as an excuse to shut out what they don’t want to hear. That’s called manipulation or passive aggression. I think we just need to pray for the wisdom to know when someone is playing games with us and for the courage to speak the truth anyway.


Perhaps I’ll finally the find the peace and happiness you have continuously mentioned. My mood has lightened but I still feel some levels of depression and self pity. You’re right I need to take care of other’s more and pray the ever frightening litany of humility.


I don’t think it is always a matter of rationality. Some people expect too much from themselves. The same people can use the truth to humiliate, intimidate or put down others. While I do agree people use offense as an excuse to not listen.


It’s not frightening when we realize how much God loves us, and that HE is the only one in control anyways. When we defer to His will and let ourselves and our desires be secondary, it’s actually a great relief.


These are things I’ll discuss with my spiritual director. I suppose she’ll have more patience with me. Have faith that everything will be fine and some things are meant to fall apart. I’ve been miserable about a breakup. I can’t seem to accept that I was lying to myself and that some people simply won’t like me or grow tired. I can’t settle for convenient sex with someone just not to lose them. It hurts I feel used. Please pray for me.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit