7 phrases you should never say to the one you love, according to psychology

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No one ever claimed that love was easy… 

And when it comes to navigating relationships (and the emotions that go with them). Well, let’s just say, it can get pretty overwhelming. 

Not to mention, confusing.

Something that’s made far more perplexing when you clash or have differing opinions. 

As a result, you may clam up or say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment. 

But don’t worry. 

The odd argument (when done healthily) can actually be a good thing. It’s a way to clear the air, avoid resentment, and even strengthen bonds. 

However, if you want to prevent a tiny tiff from turning into a full-on war of words, there are certain phrases you should never say to the one you love.

Here are seven of them, according to psychology.

1) “This is just like you.”

Everyone does it! Even you. You just don’t realize it. 

I’m talking about overgeneralizing.

It’s our way of excusing or rationalizing our behavior through blame-shifting. 

But here’s the thing.

When we make global evaluations or use negative attributions to describe our relationships (and our partners), it never ends well. 

In fact, research shows that using them during conflict can be both physically and mentally taxing for couples, often leaving them dissatisfied. 

Think about it.

Not only is it extremely toxic, but it becomes difficult for your partner to open up and explain themselves. 

Simply put, you’re forcing a communication stalemate. 

If psychology tells us anything, open and honest communication is a key component of any healthy relationship. 

Without it, there can be no growth!

Psychologist Lisa Marie Bobby suggests it can “erode” the attachment bond. 

2) “Stop being so sensitive.”

When we’re angry or upset, it’s easy to resort to name-calling or labeling. 

It’s what we did as kids in the playground. 

But as an adult, you soon learn it’s not very productive. Especially when you’re doing it to someone you (supposedly) love. 

So when you accuse your partner of being too “needy”, “sensitive,” “dramatic,” or “pathetic” it can be incredibly hurtful. 

Not to mention, it dismisses how they feel.

It does this by oversimplifying their emotions into one negative attribute. In other words, it implies that they’re (somehow) in the wrong or that their needs don’t matter.

Something that psychologists say can invalidate their experiences and lead to feelings of rejection or inadequacy.

What’s more, when you add the words “Don’t be…” or “Stop being so…” it becomes a demand. 

Essentially, you’re telling them that “You shouldn’t feel that way.”

In psychology, critical “should” statements are seen as judgmental. And by using them, you’re only putting your partner on the defensive. 

3) “You’re overreacting.”

Now this phrase is a tricky one…

Sure, you might just be trying to diffuse a situation before it gets out of control. But to your partner, it comes across as dismissive. 

And in the same way that telling someone “You’re being crazy” or “You’re being irrational” minimizes their feelings, saying “You’re overreacting” only serves to invalidate them and their emotions further. 

As a result, their self-esteem may take a hit. 

Not to mention, escalate things to the point of no return. Making it nearly impossible to resolve your disagreement calmly. 

But that’s not all. 

In psychology, trivializing someone’s emotions is a common form of manipulation. 

More specifically, gaslighting. 

Other examples include, “That’s not what happened” or “It’s not that big of a deal.”

What you’re really saying here, is that their emotions don’t matter or that they’re unfounded.  

In short, this type of manipulative (and discrediting) language makes them doubt their feelings and their perception of events. 

4) “It’s your fault.”

If your go-to weapon is to blame others, then it’s time to think again. 

Not only does blaming your partner (for every little thing) create a hostile environment but it prevents both of you from discussing your issues rationally and healthily.

Ultimately, it becomes a vicious cycle (a blame cycle). 

And according to psychology, it’s often a sign that you’re actually projecting. 

It’s also a classic example of (what’s known in social psychology as) fundamental attribution error.

The problem with blame-shifting is…

If you’re always quick to say “It’s your fault,” your partner may find it difficult to trust and confide in you in the future, out of fear of being blamed (yet again). 

This can eventually lead to resentment and a negative pattern of behavior later down the line. 

Not to mention, it doesn’t help with intimacy. 

5) “I hate you.”

Hate is such an ugly word – one that can evoke feelings of extreme negativity and hostility.

Made all the worse when you team it with empty threats such as “I’m over this,” “I’m leaving,” “I’m done,” or “I want to break up.”

It’s certainly not the type of emotional language you should use when conversing with the one you love. 

And once it’s said out loud, it can never be unheard. Even if it was said in haste.

Hear me out.

Not only can it emotionally harm you and your partner, but it may cause irreparable damage to your relationship.

For instance. 

It can create insecurity and low self-esteem, even during the good times. Perhaps leaving your partner questioning what you really think, months or even years down the line. 

Additionally, psychology tells us that empty threats often backfire by setting off a chain reaction and retaliatory comments. 

If that’s not enough to convince you. 

Eventually, (if overused) they will lose their impact and credibility over time. 

6) “If you really loved me, you would.”

Ever heard of guilt-tripping

Well, this is a prime example. Not only that, but it’s manipulation at its finest. 

Let me explain. 

According to psychology, this phrase is akin to emotional blackmail. 

Whether conscious or not, it puts pressure on your partner to comply (against their better judgment) just to prove their love for you…

That and to avoid the cold shoulder treatment. 

Worse still, it sends the message that your love isn’t unconditional, it comes with strings attached. Something that may point to a lack of self-awareness and perhaps even, narcissistic tendencies. 

It’s certainly not healthy behavior. 

7) The silent treatment (stonewalling)

Okay, so this last one isn’t a phrase, but it’s just as harmful. 

In fact, stonewalling is considered one of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” according to the Gottman Institute

Something they say can predict the end of a relationship. 

Perhaps you declare “Everything is fine,” when it clearly isn’t. Or, you completely shut down by adopting the silent treatment. 

Eitherway, it sends the message you’re disengaged. 

And your reluctance to open up and have an honest conversation with your partner is seriously hurting the relationship, in more ways than one. 

That’s why (even if it makes you uncomfortable), it’s essential to address issues openly and respectfully. 

So, instead of falling into the same negative communication patterns, try using courteous, empathetic, and constructive language. 

By avoiding the above phrases, it can help foster understanding, trust, and intimacy moving forward.

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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