Quite likely, we’ve all done it, yet few of us want to admit it. Our heartbeat is racing; our skin clammy; our minds dizzy with emotion. And we say it. We let the words spill out of our mouth like an undeterred waterfall. Once the words are out, we can’t take them back, just as we can’t scoop up all of the fallen water once it has rushed over the cliff. What follows often plays back in our minds much after the fact: the hurt expression on our partner’s face, the inescapable silence, usually a huge explosion of emotion.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a “How to Argue Correctly for Dummies” manual, nor is there a script to follow when tensions run high. Instead, we have to continually work at fighting fair, which means a lot of hurt feelings along the way. Despite the inevitability of an argument, though, some things should never be said. Here’s a list of five of them.
“Here we go again”
For maximum effect, this should be accompanied by an eye roll and an exaggerated sigh. If your partner has brought up a concern, it is probably because something needs to be discussed, not because one person desires a fight. Discounting the other person’s needs is a surefire way to shut them down next time, thereby discouraging them from working toward solutions in the future.
“I want a divorce/I want to break up.”
No matter how much you feel it at the moment, let your emotions subside so you can clear your head and determine if a separation is truly wanted. These words are hard to take back and often lead to a lack of confidence in the other person.
“Look, now you’ve made the kids cry.”
Before it gets to this point, just STOP. Saying hurtful things in front of children is a no-win situation. Bringing them into the argument or using them as leverage is equally detrimental. If you do slip and argue in front of them, make sure they see the resolution as well.
“You ALWAYS…You NEVER…”
Regardless of how these phrases end, it won’t be good. More, it won’t be accurate. Using these words shows a complete lack of confidence and encourages your partner to fulfill your statement. It also allows them to easily dismiss whatever you’ve said because they know (and so do you) that they likely don’t always do it, nor do they never do it.
“Why can’t you be more like ____?”
Avoid comparing your partner to someone else, male or female. Most everyone seems perfect and desirable from the outside, yet comes with their own set of imperfections.
No article or class can repair your relationship without your serious effort. If you’ve made these statements, or others that are equally as damaging, ask for forgiveness. These statements aren’t a sign of the end, but they are a sign that work is needed.