The Most Damaging Phrases You Shouldn’t Say In A Relationship

The following is a compilation of phrases that you should delete from your list of argument vocabulary and replace with these more tolerable phrases during your conversation. Brittany Wong from Huffington Post lays it out for us.

“I think you need to calm down”

Andra Brosh, A Los Angeles psychologist says, “This phrase aggravates a situation much more than it helps. Telling someone to calm down is infantilizing and it sends the message that your partner’s feelings are intolerable to you.” She says validation and compassion is what the other person requires. She said, “It’s better to say something like, ‘I’m so sorry you’re so upset — let’s just sit down for a minute and breathe together’ or ‘I want to understand why you’re so upset but it’s hard to understand when you yell.'”

“You don’t ever help out with the kids.”

Relationship coach Lisa Schmidt says that you shouldn’t be blunt when asking your partner to be more involved as a parent. “Rather than saying something like, ‘You don’t ever help with the kids,’  try to focus on the positive. ” Tell your wife, ‘Seth just loves it when you’re there to pick him up from practice. He really lights up when he sees your car.”

“Set aside 15 minutes each Sunday to plan the week, so both parents are getting in time with the kids.”

“You never listen to me.”

Brosh said, “It’s a way of shutting your partner out while leaving them feeling hopeless. It creates a sense of finality which leaves no room for further discussion.”

Instead, you should say,  “When you’re on your cellphone during conversations I feel like you’re not listening to me,” or ‘”There are times when I’m not sure you’re really listening to me.'”

“Nevermind, I’ll do it myself.”

“When you say ‘nevermind,’ you’re rejecting your spouse and not allowing him to listen to what you need. But a relationship is a partnership, not a personal platform to martyr yourself. Don’t diminish the talents, input and assistance your spouse can bring to any given situation,” Schmidt said.

Instead, say, “I could really use your help with (insert problem). That would be such a time-saver or load off my back,” Schmidt said.

I’m not happy. I want a divorce.

Idle threats of divorce are a no go. Psychologist Anne Crowley said, “If you don’t have plans to initiate a divorce, threats like this weaken the foundation of the relationship.  It creates uncertainty and insecurities. If you are not happy in the marriage, it’s OK to say that.  But also think: what do I want to do about it?”

If you want to make the marriage work, then it’s better to go for a constructive approach, “It might be better to say, ‘I’d like to improve our marriage, will you go to therapy with me?'”

Is there someone else?

“Asking directly if there’s someone else is a harmful phrase because it challenges the integrity of your partner and brings trust, respect and fidelity into question.” Crowley said that the accusation will cause an angry reaction from your partner.

“A better way to express this thought is to ask for the reassurance. Say, ‘I know things have been different between us but you and I are still in this together, right?’ It gives your partner the opportunity to give you what you need — reassurance — instead of pushing her farther away.”

I hate it when you do that

Little habits can be incredibly irksome. Schmidt says, “Couples need to be mindful of the use of words like hate — it has such a strong connotation. Instead, reframe what you dislike to something involving praise for what really helps you out” — like cleaning up the sink or actively listening when you’ve finally managed to squeeze in a date night.”

Image Credits: subcultured


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