Everyone has soft spots and personal demons. There are words that when heard trigger a painful or scary reaction. Most of the time the person who said the words had no idea they might cause such a reaction; sometimes, of course, it is just the opposite especially if the people know each other well; but for the most part we tend to blunder about trying to be helpful and inadvertently causing pain.
Most well-meaning folk will immediately apologize when alerted that they have caused pain, and if the hurt person can also see that there have been no harmful actions, just blundering words, hopefully the hurt person can accept the apology. But sometimes the hurt person can’t, or won’t, and they feel that they are justified in being unkind and harsh to the person who inadvertently stumbled into their soft spot.
Sometimes the hurt person believes they are displaying toughness: I am tough and I am going to show that I am tough by not letting you trick me into forgiving you. And sometimes they are just being childish, like little girls in the school yard refusing to play with someone who made them mad.
In either case, there is nothing the blunderer can do to make the situation better. The power is in the hands of the injured party to decide if they want to hold a grudge or move on.
Of course, sometimes, the blunderer has hit upon a truth and the person with the soft spot can’t face that truth, and blames the blunderer for noticing it–as if it didn’t exist before it was noticed.
Sometimes one person can hate another person because the other person is everything they wish they could be, but can’t. Sometimes a person see themselves as something they are not, and they are so invested in that false image that they cannot learn. They take away the information for the false image, not the information for the person they truly are.
And that is sad, but it is not really anyone’s right or responsibility to change them. There’s something in the bible about not judging. Noticing is OK, but trying to change someone implies that you have judged them and decided that you know better, and you probably don’t, and even if you do it’s not your place.