Study: Hurting someone’s feelings might be your way of helping them succeed

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, yells at the field judge during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Michigan 30-27 in double overtime. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

PLMOUTH, United Kingdom (WCMH) — A new study says that people may try to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings if they think it will benefit the person in the long run.

According to a study published by the Association for Psychological Science found that people may hurt someone’s feelings, not to make themselves feel better, but because they think it’ll help the person they are insulting.

“We have shown that people can be ‘cruel to be kind’ — that is, they may decide to make someone feel worse if this emotion is beneficial for that other person, even if this does not entail any personal benefit for them,” psychological scientist Belén López-Pérez who conducted the research while at the University of Plymouth and is currently at Liverpool Hope University, told “These results expand our knowledge of the motivations underlying emotion regulation between people.”

Previous studies found that people might be mean to someone for personal gain, but this study suggests being mean was a way of empathizing with a person and attempting to help them be successful. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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