5 words and phrases to avoid during conflict with your partner

Jan 18, 2023 11:58 AM IST

Words and phrases that we use can have a big impact on how the conflict is resolved and how our partner perceives us. Here are five words and phrases to avoid during conflicts with your partner to help you navigate these situations more effectively.

Conflict in any relationship can be difficult and stressful, but when it comes to conflicts with your partner, it can be especially challenging. It's important to approach conflicts in a constructive and productive way, but sometimes, we can get caught up in the heat of the moment and say things we don't mean. Words and phrases that we use can have a big impact on how the conflict is resolved and how our partner perceives us. By being mindful of the language you use, you can improve communication, reduce hurt feelings and increase the chances of resolving conflicts positively. (Also read: 6 ways to effectively defuse conflict in your relationship )

It is paramount that we bring the highest integrity and consciousness to how we language ourselves with our partner.(Pexels)
It is paramount that we bring the highest integrity and consciousness to how we language ourselves with our partner.(Pexels)

"It is paramount that we bring the highest integrity and consciousness to how we language ourselves with our partner. The care and awareness we use to express conflict mean the difference between connection, and disconnection. When we express ourselves from a state of regulation, and we are exacting in our words, we create a safe and secure bond. Communication competency doesn't mean you have to agree with your partner; rather that you are able to listen, validate, gain more understanding of one another, and come away feeling closer," says, Jordan Dann, Psychoanalyst and Relationship Coach in her recent Instagram post.

She further suggested five words and phrases avoid during conflicts with your partner to help you navigate these situations in a more effective way.

1. “Nothing”

If you are conflict-avoidant or stewing in contempt, this might be a familiar piece of language for you. If you are angry, or frustrated, and your partner asks you what's going on, try to avoid responding with, "Nothing."

If your partner responds with "nothing", try taking a deep breath and offering, "It's important to me to know how you're feeling. When you're ready to talk, I'm open to listening."

2. “Whatever”

This is a diminishing, dismissing, and passive-aggressive word that minimizes your needs and your partner's needs. Next time you're on the receiving end of "whatever" try responding with, "When you say that to me feel you're not interested in how I feel, or what I need, and that hurts me." If this doesn't soften your partner, see if you can take space and not escalate the conflict.

3. “Always” or “Never”

Most people are familiar with some variation of this from the person/people we love. "You're never on time." "I always do the laundry." "I always listen to you but you never listen to me." Both of these words are rarely factual. When you use these words you objectify your partner and refute their ability to change and grow. If your partner feels this way they may resign to, "Why bother?" Let your partner know you have faith in their ability to take your needs/feelings seriously and respond.

4. "You are just like your (mom, dad, brother, etc)"

A fear that many people share is that we will end up with the unhealthy traits of our family, so this passive-aggressive bait can go right to the core of your partner. If you're on the receiving end of this try taking a deep breath and responding with, "It really upsets me when you compare me to my dad." Don't escalate, just identify the hurt.

5. "You're so sensitive" or "you take things so personally"

Both of these statements dismiss your partner's feelings. Be honest with yourself and investigate if these expressions might have more to do about your lack of capacity to be with your partner's emotional experience, than with what your partner is expressing. Part of being in a relationship means caring about your partner's attachment needs and emotional experience; exchanging judgment for curiosity.

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