Probably everybody is guilty of saying something they didn’t mean at least one time in their life. However, for some people, it becomes a habit. They tend to retaliate, say mean things, and call their spouse names out of anger. This causes damage to the relationship each time it occurs.
When you are angry, do you lash out? Alyson had been married to Jason for four years. He sometimes lashed out at her when he was upset. When she accidentally dropped her cell phone and broke it, he yelled,”How could you be so stupid?” She retaliated by saying, “At least I can fix this. You’re so dumb you wouldn’t know how to put the battery back in.” Their name calling had become a part of their regular routine.
Other couples make threats. Threats such as, “I can’t stand this anymore. I’m leaving and taking the kids,” damages the relationship as well. Threats of violence can be a sign of domestic violence and can be very serious.
Other times people bring up the past to hurt their partner. The argument might be about money and suddenly one person brings up something that happened five years ago in an attempt to either change the subject or hurt the other person. For example, Nancy and Rick had been married for ten years. Five years ago, Rick got fired from a job and they had struggled financially ever since then. When they argued, Nancy would bring up the past. “We wouldn’t be in this mess if you would have been able to hold down a job!”
If you are guilty of saying mean things to your partner, figure out the reason why. Do you need to learn skills to manage your anger? Are you still resentful about something that happened in the past? Do you feel like it is the only way to get your partner to listen? Learning new skills can help you communicate better and can assist you in treating your partner better.