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One Word Away from an Abusive Relationship
Have you ever gotten mad at your partner and caught yourself saying, “You’re such a ____!” – whether it was blatant and outspoken or said under your breath?
Repeat after me: HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS DO NOT NAME CALL.
Yet, so many of us have gotten in the habit of name-calling our significant other. Or, we turn a blind eye when our significant other name-calls us.
HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS DO NOT NAME CALL.
Take this opportunity to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I verbally abusing my partner?”
Do you name-call when you get frustrated?
Do you belittle their intelligence or feelings?
Do you speak extremely negatively of your partner to your friends or family?
It’s normal to get angry at your partner – two people are trying to merge their personalities, feelings, thoughts and actions into one relationship. There are going to be disagreements and arguments. However, there is a constructive way to navigate these spats, which means there is also an unconstructive way – or potentially a toxic/abusive way – to navigate them.
If you have skimmed through this and caught yourself thinking, “Wow, I could probably improve,” then congratulations! Your ability to self-reflect fairly and honestly is an attribute that many people don’t have. But it also means that we have some work to do.
Here are five tips for reconfiguring your relationship and for healthily handling your disagreements.
Analyze your intent
Before you spew out words of hate, ask yourself, “Why am I drawn to saying this?”
Are you trying to hurt your partner, or are you trying to come to a mutual and healthy agreement?
If you’re trying to hurt your partner, then you might have some more soulsearching to do. You should have so much respect and love for your significant other that you would do anything in your power to NOT hurt them.
If you’re trying to come to a mutual and healthy agreement, then you might have some maturing to do. By name-calling, you immediately lose your credibility. You’ve reduced yourself to an angry and spiteful person, and it’s difficult to follow that up with, “Let’s talk this one out”.
Use constructive words
Name-calling is a cop-out. It diminishes the potential for communication or productivity. Name-calling doesn’t directly address the problem at hand or how you feel – it merely makes YOU sound mean.
Replace “you’re such a b*tch” with constructive words. For example, take a deep breath and lay it out: “I feel sad because you cancelled our plans”.
By changing the way you communicate, you can leave room for a healthy conversation that hopefully, will lead to a better understanding of each other and a good compromise.
Be more like Rumi
As outlined by Rumi,
“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true?’
At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?’
At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?'”
I think Rumi’s Three Gates of Speech is an excellent way to rewire your brain when having a conversation with your significant other.
Before flying off the handle and talking out of spite, ask yourself: Will my comment allow for a better understanding of each other? Will my comment open the lines for compromise? Will my comment still make my partner feel respected by me?
Re-establish your boundaries
When you begin a relationship, you have a clean line drawn that outlines what is appropriate and accepted and what is a ‘hard no.’ It is my hope for you that name-calling is a ‘hard no.’
However, once our boundary is crossed, the line moves, and it becomes easier to pass. You’re weakening the standards that you have once set for yourself.
It is more difficult to re-establish these boundaries than it was to establish them in the first place.
It is essential that you look at this objectively and actively discuss the best way to re-establish your boundaries.
If you have tried numerous ways to eliminate name-calling in your relationship but have been unsuccessful, then it might be time to consider other options.
I am a huge advocate of therapy, and I believe that sometimes therapy can introduce things to you that you didn’t know about yourself.
Maybe there is a reason that you fall into this pattern. Maybe your relationship is no longer healthy or constructive for you – or maybe, just maybe, it’s brought out some of the worst traits in you.
Luckily, we have multiple avenues that allow for more self-awareness than ever before. Take advantage of them!
Despite all of this, congratulations on recognizing that you had some work to do! One of the greatest things about life is that we are all a work in progress.
So let’s work on always being better partners, coworkers, friends and people.
Written by Celina Dawdy