Your heart’s racing and you feel hot under the collar…all you want to do is vent your anger on the person who has annoyed you.
We’ve all been there. And we’ve all said things we probably shouldn’t have when emotions are flying high.
But if you want to improve the way you react when you’re angry, here are 12 phrases to avoid for better communication and importantly, finding solutions…
1) “You always…” or “You never…”
We’ve all been guilty of this when angry – it’s easy to use absolutes in the heat of the moment.
But when we tell someone that they are always selfish or that they never help around the house, it does more harm than good.
Rather than open up a healthy conversation about why you’re angry, all it does is make the other person closed off and defensive.
Instead of taking this approach, it’s best to stick to the current issue and avoid dragging up past arguments – this can get overwhelming and cause the other person to feel attacked.
2) “I hate it when you…”
Hate is a strong word, right?
But when you’re heated and mad, it feels good to say it. In that moment, you may feel like you actually do hate the other person.
Here’s the thing to remember – you need to tackle the problem, not the person.
When you turn your focus onto the behavior, it’s easier to work through it. And rather than using a strong, emotive word such as “hate”, you might find it more effective to use, “upset”.
For example: “I feel upset when you dismiss my feelings” rather than, “I hate it when you dismiss my feelings” (this feels like a personal attack).
3) “You’re such a…”
(Insert curse word here)…Yes, you’re not alone if you’ve ever hurled a few insults during a heated argument with someone.
But while it might feel like a good way to blow off steam, you could be permanently damaging the relationship.
People don’t forget the cruel things we say, no matter how angry we are.
If you are prone to cursing at others, it’s best to keep quiet, walk away and come back to the conversation once you’ve cooled down.
4) “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you.”
Honestly, if you really feel this way you should probably reconsider the relationship and whether it’s a positive force in your life.
But if you say this purely out of anger, know that you’re essentially breaking down one of the main pillars in any relationship – trust.
Think about it this way: If you made a mistake once in your entire marriage, and your spouse angrily shouts this at you, it’s going to make you question your whole relationship and whether your partner truly does trust you or not.
So, instead, you should focus solely on the incident at hand. Explain your feelings. But avoid unjustly accusing someone of something they may have worked so hard to build.
5) “You’re wrong.”
This is another absolute that should be avoided at all costs.
Not only are you dismissing the other person’s feelings/opinions/experiences, but you’re essentially shutting down any form of conversation.
Perhaps there’s something you’ve failed to consider, but by uttering these words, you’ll probably never get to the bottom of the problem.
Not to mention, it can come across as quite arrogant, even if you didn’t intend it that way.
6) “You don’t understand.”
Now, this next phrase is pretty common. And you’re likely to use it if you feel misunderstood or unheard.
But rather than accusing them of not understanding (which is more frustrating than effective), you could try to explain your feelings instead.
Use plenty of “I” statements, such as, “I feel angry because I don’t feel heard right now”.
This allows the other person to begin to understand where they might be going wrong.
7) “I don’t care.”
This is another popular phrase that we’re all guilty of using…but deep down, we do care.
Otherwise, we wouldn’t be so annoyed!
Often, we use this because we aren’t getting anywhere with the conversation. But a better route to take is to walk away and come back when both of you have calmed down.
Because by saying you don’t care, you’re dismissing the other person’s feelings. But more than that, you’re shutting down any form of healthy conversation.
Similarly to the above, using “whatever” is another conversation stopper.
It’s okay if you need to take a breather and stop the conversation temporarily. In fact, that’s a healthy thing to do if you feel like effective communication isn’t happening.
But rather than using this one-word show-stopper, it’s best to make your intentions clear.
Let the other person know that you want a time-out. Let them know when will be a good time to resume the conversation.
That way no one is left in the dark, and no one feels disrespected.
9) “I’m fine.”
I’m guessing 9/10 times when you use this phrase, you’re not actually fine.
And while you might say it because you’re not ready to discuss your feelings, be aware that this is a form of emotional dishonesty.
It’s far better to say, “I’m not okay right now, let’s talk about this in a couple of hours once I’ve got my thoughts straight.”
But ultimately, if you can express your feelings, it’s best to do that rather than brush off the person you’re angry with.
10) “If you really loved me…”
This next phrase is highly manipulative.
You might have said it without realizing so, but when you utter this to someone who really does love you, it can make them feel guilty or pressured into doing what you want.
But their love shouldn’t be based on what they do or don’t do for you.
And tying the two together can seriously harm your relationship.
My advice? Stay well clear of this phrase. Focus on the problem, not on how much someone loves you or not.
11) “This is all your fault.”
This phrase is a classic, usually thrown around when people engage in playing the blame game.
But ultimately, placing blame doesn’t get to the root of the issue. If anything, it makes people defensive and reactive.
Instead of arguing over who is at fault, it’s far more productive to identify the problem, express your feelings, and look for a solution together.
12) “You’re just like your mother/father.”
And for the final piece of advice for when you’re really angry at someone…don’t bring their parents into it!
That can be incredibly triggering.
Most people try their hardest not to emulate the bad habits they’ve grown up around, but we’re all human and some behaviors will stick with us.
By accusing them of being like their mother or father, you could end up alienating them or making them feel resentful towards you, which will only harm your relationship.
Stay clear of lines like this, and instead help them understand how their actions are affecting you.
So, we’ve covered 12 phrases you should absolutely stay away from when feeling angry. If you’ve used these in the past, don’t beat yourself up too much.
We’re all capable of saying things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment.
But taking a moment to step away, calm down and come back clear-headed can make a world of difference in dealing with frustrating situations.