Specific phrases can damage relationships if a partner repeats them too. In every relationship, kind, loving words should always exceed negative language and insults. Couples will have arguments occasionally, but they should still treat one another with respect and care. In the heat of the moment, people sometimes say things they don’t mean, which can cause irreparable damage in relationships.

A primary reason for divorce stems from irreconcilable differences, usually indicating a rift in communication. If couples show contempt for each other, they no longer see their partner as an equal. Relationships require teamwork to survive, but when partners begin battling one another, it may mean the beginning of the end.

However, stopping this behavior before it escalates into volatile fights or breakups is easy. Avoiding or limiting those phrases can safeguard your relationship from needless emotional turmoil.

Stop Saying These Seven Phrases That Damage Relationships


1. “You never…” or “You always…”.

Sweeping statements like these can drive a wedge between people and increase conflict. According to Drs. John and Julia Gottman, renowned psychologists and researchers with forty years of experience, these phrases are red flags in relationships. Usually, people use these absolute statements to criticize their partner’s character when they’re not getting their needs met.

However, most people don’t respond well to harsh criticism and become defensive out of instinct. Instead, asking for what you desire out of the relationship is best. That way, you’re not blaming your partner and putting all the responsibility on them.

For instance, if they always forget to wash their dishes, you can explain how their behavior makes you feel. The key here involves using “I” phrases instead of focusing on your partner and their flaws. While they may have made a mistake, it’s unlikely they did it on purpose or meant severe harm. If you calmly explain the importance of coming home to a clean environment after a stressful day, your partner will be more receptive to your requests.

Couples can avoid disputes by communicating their needs effectively instead of attacking their partner.

2. ”Leave me alone; I’m fine.” (When there’s something wrong.)

Phrases like this can also damage relationships because of their passive-aggressive tone. Stonewalling your partner only creates distance between partners and makes it difficult to resolve conflicts. If you shut down or turn away from your partner, they won’t feel comfortable opening up to you. You shouldn’t expect your partner to read your mind if they’ve hurt your feelings. It’s best to ask them for space until you feel ready to discuss any issues so they don’t feel left out.

3. ”I hate you.” (One of the ugliest phrases you can utter.)

This phrase will instantly make your partner feel angry and rejected. Even if you didn’t mean it, the hurtful words would replay in their mind for days or weeks after the conversation. Plus, they may no longer believe you when you say, “I love you.” If you have a heated argument, you should politely walk away from them before saying something you’ll later regret. You can return to the discussion shortly after you clear your head.

4. ”Shut up.”

Phrases like this show disrespect and dominance over your partner, which may cause them to shut down. If they feel they can’t speak their mind, they may start distancing themselves even in the joyous moments. Sadly, people remember negative words and events more than uplifting ones, so you should avoid saying this phrase in relationships. If you genuinely love and care about your partner, you’ll want to listen to their concerns and keep the lines of communication open.


5. ”You’re crazy (or delusional).”

Emotionally abusive people often gaslight their partners by making them feel crazy and putting all the blame on them. They do this to confuse them and distort their perception so much that they genuinely start to feel insane. It’s a method that manipulative, insecure people often use to control their significant other.

When you use this language, you automatically demean your partner and invalidate their feelings. If you say it frequently, they may start questioning their reasoning and judgment, leading to poor mental health.

Instead, try to understand your partner’s perspective and offer constructive advice, if necessary. That will ensure they feel heard and seen, a crucial part of healthy relationships.

6. ”I deserve better than you.”

Telling your partner how easily you can replace them will cause them to doubt your entire relationship and feel insecure around you. They will feel unworthy and pull away to save themselves from further pain. Harmful phrases like this have no place in stable, loving relationships. If you have unmet needs or concerns, express them to your partner positively and gently. You could rekindle the flames in your relationship by being honest about your feelings.

7. ”I’m done” or “I’m over this.”

When you have a conflict, it’s natural to feel frustrated and overwhelmed. However, couples who use positive communication styles during arguments feel more satisfied and secure in their relationships. Instead of using phrases like, “I’m over it,” explain to your significant other that you need space to process your thoughts. That way, they know you plan on resolving the issue instead of shutting down and becoming passive-aggressive.

Also, taking responsibility for any part you play in your relationship problems is essential. Owning up to your mistakes shows maturity and lets your partner know you’re serious about healing the relationship.


Final Thoughts on the Seven Phrases That Cause Relationship Dysfunction

In a perfect world, everyone would always act kind and respectful toward each other. However, conflicts and arguments are inevitable even in supportive, long-term relationships. How the couples respond to hardships and struggles makes or breaks a partnership. Partners can easily overcome their differences by avoiding harmful phrases that can undermine stability and security.

Positive communication, de-escalation, and honesty will ensure couples have successful, loving partnerships. Allowing each other space after a heated argument, listening to one another’s concerns, and showing patience can heal almost anything. Also, treating the relationship as a team effort will help strengthen your bond and consider the needs of both partners.