February 27, 2024

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What are the 6 phrases to avoid when talking to a couple, according to psychologists?

What are the 6 phrases to avoid when talking to a couple, according to psychologists?
One of the experts said that the use of the word “but” means “I superficially agree with your concern, but I don't really understand it or it's not valid.”

My friend, a couples therapist, came to see me after a long week. He sinks into my couch, closes his eyes, and says, “You know what I like to ban couples say? 'I never said that'”.

It's a sentence, my friend told me, that she hears every week. As soon as someone said that, the whole session turned into one Discussion About what the person said or didn't say.

It made me wonder about other phrases that therapists want couples to stop saying during conflict. Their candidates, why we should avoid them, and what to say instead.

1. Generalizations: “You Always” and “You Never”. These terms are often exaggerations and don't recognize any effort your partner is trying to make, he said. Gear Gainsa licensed therapist who works with individuals and couples in Washington, D.C., and your partner may become defensive, says: “So you're no longer having a problem-solving conversation. You jump right into the discussion.”

Although these phrases to avoid are mentioned in relation to couples, they can be used in any other type of discussion, for example, at work.

Try not to dwell on the past Stay in the present. “When you go back in time, the conversation becomes something else,” Gaines said. Pay attention problem What is in your hands, he added. (You might say, “I notice you're not helping pick up the kids; I'll tell you why that bothers me.”)

2. Deviations: “Yes, but”. Alexandra Solomon, a psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University and author of “Everyday Love,” said she hears the phrase all the time. A person expresses his opinion concern The other gives him The reasonBut then adds a warning (One person might say, “You were 10 minutes late,” and the other might respond, “Yes, but you were late last week.”)

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application The word “but”. “I superficially agree with your concern, but I don't really understand it or it doesn't make sense,” Solomon said. Instead of getting defensive, she suggests, “Try to mirror your partner's words and feelings. Try saying something like, “What I'm asking from you…”

3. Comparisons: “You should be more…”. Compare your partner with another person “Never, a good strategy”Keynes said. “I see it a lot: 'Well, Danny goes on dates with his wife three times a month,'” he continued. “Danny is a different person. Your partner is a different person. You can be who you are.

“When you say one of your partner's concerns isn't serious, it's underestimating what he's feeling and it's inaccurate,” said one of the experts, Gaines (Photo: Monique Wustenhagen/dpa)

Playing the comparison game leads JealousyKeynes said, and “creates a lot of self-image problems and hope in itself and Self-esteem within a relationship.”

“It hasn't been a problem in my other relationships.” This verbal bombshell is “Indeed Destroys trust and security What you have with your partner,” he said. Wonbin Jung, a Silicon Valley therapist specializing in LGBTQ couples therapy. “The hidden message I hear as a therapist is: 'The problem we have in this relationship is because of you.'” Keep others out of it, Keynes said, and focus more Talk about your own needs. It might make you feel very vulnerable, but it's a lot High productivity.

4. Invalid: “You're exaggerating.” Any individual is a “pattern of emotional responses,” Solomon said. Said that a person cannot decide what reactions are appropriate for others, this phrase is often used Avoid liability for our actions. Instead of judging, Solomon said, “Well, I'm listening. Tell me more. Please help me understand what this will cost you.

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5. “Be still.” Encourage your partner to take it easy on something that always worries them opposite effectJung said. “It's like pouring oil on a fire. this too: 'You're crazy'”.

Playing the comparison game can lead to jealousy, and “creates many issues with self-image and self-confidence and self-esteem in a relationship” (Getty).

If one or both partners are angry, Jung often advises them to take a break. rest Briefly and let things cool down. Or, depending on your therapist, “What do you need right now?” You can ask your partner that. (Perhaps they help you, listen to you, or give you a hug.)

6. “It's not a big deal.” When you say one of your partner's concerns isn't serious, it is contempt It's what it feels like and that's it impreciseKeynes said. “You can't measure how someone feels,” he added. “You have no frame of reference. You can't define it.”

Instead, Keynes said, respectfully acknowledge what you have Different perspectives. Next, ask your partner to help you understand why an issue is important and offer as much support as you can.

His wife, Nomi, is clean and tidy, but he is not, Gaines told me. Once, she said, he left her a bowl of crisp oatmeal in the freshly cleaned sink; She mocked him, accusing him of “trying to destroy her.”

My husband and I have similar dynamics. After hearing Nomi's phrase, I used it on him as he put his smelly cycling clothes on the ground. “You always make me laugh,” he told me. (That's the good kind of “You always make me laugh.”)

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* Johnsy Dunn – HealthDay Correspondents © The New York Times 2024