Words can hurt more than we think… and this especially when it comes to a relationship. Many times we do not realize it, but the words that we communicate to the other person day by day can affect the overall health of our relationship. According to experts, there are certain harmful phrases that can negatively affect our relationship.
Harmful phrases are those that create a disconnection between the couple. That is, those phrases that instead of inviting empathy and dialogue, activate a defensive response in the other person.
Phrases that could harm your relationship
These can be criticism disguised as “jokes,” accusations when you’re angry, or even words that set up a toxic dynamic in your relationship. (For example, “you are too sensitive”). These are all things that are very detrimental to developing attachment.
To have a healthy relationship, it is important to pay attention to the things you say. Even if you don’t mean for what you say to be hurtful, your partner can be hurt. Therefore, here are some of the harmful phrases that are like poison in relationships, according to experts.
In relationships, ‘why’ questions are really like criticism in disguise. These phrases or questions are very rarely interpreted in a positive way. For example, why did you do this? Why didn’t you tell me you were going to do that? Most of the time, these questions are accusatory. Instead of approaching your partner with an accusatory “why,” share how you feel first, and then give them a chance to explain.
2. “You should…”
Most couples, and people in general, don’t like being told they “should” do something. That’s why, better consult with your partner before giving strong advice. Over time, saying these kinds of things can make your partner feel like there’s a power difference and that you don’t appreciate what they’re already doing.
3. “You never” or “You always”
When we say ‘always’ or ‘never’ to our partner, we tend to transform a simple complaint into a criticism about who our partner is as a person. For example, “You never listen to me” or “I always have to remind you to do this.” When you say phrases like these constantly, all your partner hears is criticism. They may feel that you see or appreciate the things they do for you.
When someone feels criticized and unappreciated, are more likely to shut down or become defensive. You can and should raise your concerns. However, accusing your partner of doing something always or never is not the right way to go.
If you are going to express an annoyance, it is important to do it in such a way that it opens a discussion and allows for dialogue. Complaining by saying ‘When you don’t look at me while I’m talking, it’s hard for me to know you’re listening’ can go a long way in solving problems and moving the relationship on a better course.
4. “It doesn’t matter…”
“It doesn’t matter” or “whatever” may not seem like a big deal, especially if you’re just trying to pick a place to eat. However, sometimes this phrase can make it seem like you don’t want to participate in a conversation because you don’t care. This hurtful phrase is extremely dismissive that can make your partner feel unappreciated or even ignored.
5. “Excuse me, but…”
The phrase ‘Excuse me, but…’ can be a very damaging phrase for a relationship because it allows the person using it to easily blame their partner. It would be something like: “I know I hurt your feelings, but I can justify doing it because you did the same to me.” On the one hand, it’s the worst way to start an apology.
In fact, it’s more of a non-apology than anything else. And second, if it’s said constantly, it can make your partner feel like they’re always at fault. Relationships are about give and take. Of course, you have the right to communicate your feelings or even your complaints, but don’t try to disguise things as an apology when it clearly isn’t.
6. “Calm down”
Many times, a person says this to their partner in the heat of an argument. By saying “calm down” one normally wants to reduce the tension of the situation, however, this word can directly override how your partner feels. Basically, it sounds like you are telling your partner that they are overreacting and that the intensity of their emotions at the moment is not warranted.
As a result, things tend to escalate rather than calm down. Keep in mind that fights and arguments are best overcome when both partners take the time to listen to what the other is saying. So forget about the words “calm down” “calm down” or “relax” and instead make sure you listen and validate your partner’s feelings.
7. “Maybe we should just break up.”
Threatening divorce or breaking up a relationship is great poison unless you mean it absolutely. Many people use this as a negotiation strategy to get what they want.. This could actually count as abuse and is one of the most manipulative hurtful phrases.
It is important to remember that what you say really matters. Relationships depend on healthy communication and these phrases will not contribute to achieving it.