Opinion: One Phrase to Avoid In Conflict

Libby Shively McAvoy
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Words have incredible potency. They have the power to lift people up and also to tear them down. Words can be forgiven, but they are rarely forgotten. When we are upset, we can be quick to spew hurtful words that we do not necessarily mean. When you are triggered and go into fight or flight mode, I suggest you pause and breathe before responding to avoid this.

Have You Said Things to Your Significant Other You Regret?
Name-calling is off the table. We should never intentionally call our “person” derogatory things; this is the person you love and respect. Yet, most of us are a bit guilty. So, apologize sincerely and change your behavior moving forward.

One phrase to Avoid

My ex and I used to rehash the same argument over and over. He was a narcissist and just drove stuff into the ground. But, the one thing that I said was my bottom line, meaning the end to the relationship, is if he said, “I’m done,” and stormed out. Those two little words destroyed my sense of security. They left me feeling abandoned and rejected. Sadly, he always came grappling back, usually within a few days.

Saying “I’m done” without genuinely meaning it is psychological manipulation. My ex couldn’t stand to hear the truth and let go, so he would leave when he was not getting his way in an argument. After several times I started to see his pattern, and it did not affect me as dramatically.

Say what you mean and mean what you say is my new motto.

 In The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, he emphasizes the importance of being impeccable with your word. If you say things you do not mean, eventually, your words lose value. Likewise, words need to be followed by actions.

If you say, “I love you,” but constantly put that person down, lie to them, or cheat on them, those words mean little to nothing.

Saying “I’m done” indicates that you are finished with this relationship. Only use that phrase if you want the connection to be final. Otherwise, it holds no value or purpose other than to be hurtful.

Couples will have conflict, and that is normal. How you navigate the conflict is what matters. Be gentle, and remember that you are on the same team.

Avoid eye-rolling, name-calling, and criticizing. You can be respectful even in difficult times. Consider conflicts as periods of growth. They may be a tad painful at the time, but this is how we learn.

To reiterate, only use “I’m done” if you intend to leave and never return. If your emotions are running too high to gather your thoughts consider asking for a time out. Return to the conversation within a reasonable amount of time. When the conflict is resolved consider giving a hug and or kiss.

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Libby is a Personal Development and Relationship coach specializing in emotional intelligence. By blending motivational speaking, leading yoga and wellness retreats, and writing, she has mastered the art of living her best life while helping others.

Cincinnati, OH

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