Here’s a few handy phrases I’ve learned that start or escalate fights in relationships.
These apply to communication with your partner or kids.
(Confession: I may or may not have used these…a time…or three myself)
1) “I shouldn’t have to…”
2) “If you loved me…”
A few examples, “I shouldn’t have to tell you what I need/want.” (Well, yes, actually you do need to. It’s what healthy couples do.)
“If you loved me, I shouldn’t have to ask…” or “If you loved me, you’d remember…”
“I shouldn’t have to explain to you why this is important to me…”
These manage to simultaneously help you feel angry and rejected at the same time.
3) “Why don’t you…” or “Why can’t you…”
Ever notice you rarely get the answer you want if you ask this?
The other person gives you their rationalization and rehearse why they are doing the thing you don’t want them to do. Moving them further away. Works even faster when you do this unsolicited and unexpectedly.
4) “Seriously?!?” – reinforces your indignation and insults their perspective with just one word.
You don’t even have to say these out loud, that’s just a bonus.
Saying them to yourself, affects your attitude and non-verbal communication as well.
To paraphrase Kevin Leman, nothing starts a fight faster than a superior attitude.