When you are in an intimate relationship, you get so comfortable talking to your partner about everything, which is of course a natural thing to do. However, too much of something is not always good.
Off-the-cuff statements can be off-putting to some couples and can take the relationship into a puddle of toxicity. According to Dr. Cortney Warren, a Harvard-trained psychologist, relationships instantly go downhill when one or both partners use words and phrases that show ‘disrespect.’ Speaking with contempt is not only offensive, but degrading and imposes superiority over your partner, too. Dr. Warren said that if you are encountering or using these phrases while having conversations with your loved one, your relationship is at stake:
Name-calling in a relationship is the worst thing ever. Using words like ‘miserable’, ‘worthless’, and ‘pathetic’ to address someone is a form of abusive behavior. It is a manipulation technique to make a person disgrace her or his existence.
Dr. Warren gave an alternative to avoid name-calling. Here’s what you can say instead: “I don’t like how you handled that situation.” Have the courage to express that you did not like what they did.
“I hate you”
Some use these words out of frustration to amplify the situation. This hurtful phrase creates insecurity and makes a person doubt the real meaning of love. If you are using this or your partner is, it poses a ‘threat’ to your relationship’s security.
To avoid hurting feelings, you can use this phrase instead: “It’s hard for me to be around you right now.” Take a minute to calm down before you say something untrue, even if it feels true at the moment.
“You’re being crazy”
If you’re calling your partner ‘crazy’, you should stop. Telling this heartbreaking phrase is a simple form of gaslighting and will not make your relationship better. Using words like ‘crazy’ or ‘delusional’ will cause your partner to blame himself or herself.
Instead of using this phrase, you can say: “I think your response to this situation is making it worse.” Show what you dislike about your partner’s behavior constructively and respectfully.
“You’re so needy”
Maybe you use this phrase whenever your partner is being clingy. However, calling someone ‘needy‘ can be offensive–invalidating someone’s needs in a relationship.
To avoid this awful language, you can use this alternative phrase: “I hear that you want my attention, but I’m feeling suffocated and need some space.”
“I’m over this”
Words and phrases that threaten your relationship such as “I’m leaving,” “I’m done,” or “I want to break up”—promote inconsistency and insecurity. Your partner may develop the notion that you can leave her or him hanging sooner or later.
To avoid instability in relationships, you can use this phrase instead: “I’m really upset right now and need to take a moment,” or “We need to have a serious conversation about our relationship.” In general, you only want to threaten to leave when you mean it and have the intention to follow through.”
“You’re a bad parent”
It is hard for a father or mother to hear from their own partners that they’re not good enough when it comes to positive parenting. Receiving such remarks will not make a person confident in nurturing children.
You can use this phrase instead: “I think this situation is triggering issues from your past. How can we work through them together?”
“You don’t deserve me”
Although this phrase remind you that you deserve the best, saying it to your partner can damage his or her confidence.
To avoid showing superiority, learn to use this phrase: “I’m struggling to see us as partners right now,” or “I’m viewing you as less valuable than me, and I need to work on it.”
“Everything is fine” (when it’s not)
When you say that everything is fine, but you don’t look okay, your partner might get confused. Pretending you’re okay even if you’re not will produce more conflicts in your relationship in the long run. It will also be hard for you and your partner to solve your dilemmas.
To avoid confusion, learn to say what you really feel by saying this: “I’m really upset, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.” Instead of ignoring your problems, take some time to face and reflect on them.
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