hit a (raw) nerve

hit a (raw) nerve

To evoke a strong emotional reaction, such as anger, sadness, or disgust, upon being encountered, heard, read, etc. Your column must have hit a nerve, because we are getting slammed with feedback from readers—and they're not happy. I could tell he was hitting a raw nerve when he brought up Jane's former employer and Jane went silent for a moment.
See also: hit, nerve