Emotional support is a delicate tango between saying what you feel and being sensitive to the needs of your wife. Even if what you're saying to your spouse when she is asking for your attention is not aggressive or abusive, it can still be emotionally damaging. Here are 10 common phrases that are emotionally crippling your wife.
1. "Why can't you be more like ... "
Comparing your spouse to another woman is damaging no matter how positive you try to make it. Focusing on your wife's negative qualities while complimenting another woman's positive qualities is doubly disheartening. If doesn't matter what you're trying to get out of the comparison, you'll only dredge up defensiveness and resentment.
Telling your wife how to feel is a no-no from the get-go. Whether said in an argument or everyday conversation, trying to control what your partner feels is the wrong way to go about reaching mutual understanding. Make sure your message is clear and don't tell her she's wrong for misunderstanding it.
3. "You're too sensitive"
This is a very common phrase that basically absolves you of your responsibility to be supportive and puts all the weight of the relationship on your wife. Even if she has become emotional to the point of being unable to express herself clearly or be receptive to your responses, saying "You're too sensitive" won't resolve any of this. Again, it only creates defensiveness and resistance.
4. "You're crazy"
This is dismissive not only of what your wife is saying and how she feels but also of who she is as a person. Instead of acknowledging that you don't understand the points she is bringing up, saying this puts her down and ignores what she's trying to say.
5. "You're acting like a child"
Saying this or something similar, like "You're being a baby," does nothing to express feelings or resolve conflict. This focuses on the behavior you don't want instead of the behavior you do want.
6. "You're acting like a ... "
Your wife has the right to be frustrated and upset. She also has the right to express her feelings and ask for her needs to be met. Neither of these make her a b-word or any other derogatory name. But an emotionally damaging husband will try his best to make her think this is the case. These kinds of phrases send the false message that a good wife never has a bad day or negative feelings, or keeps it to herself is she does. She also keeps quiet about her needs and just takes whatever her husband is willing to give.
This is a great way to end a conversation before it starts. And end a relationship in a few moments. You may not care right then about what's happening in your wife's world if you're preoccupied, stressed or frustrated. But by saying this you're also conveying that you don't care about your wife. Be careful and choose your words wisely.
8. "Let it go"
Also said as, "Stop talking about it," this is an attempt to move the conversation to a more comfortable, interesting or important subject - to you. It disregards what is important to your wife. This phrase often pops up when a wife wants to remind her husband of his former misdeeds, and he's tired of hearing about it.
This is an angered and completely disrespectful way to silence your wife. It displays dominance instead of balance and control instead of cooperation. This is an attempt to intimidate a spouse into submission and creates an unsafe emotional environment.
10. "I'm done"
A husband may simply be done with the conversation, but this also sends the message of, "Let's just end it and get divorced." This rips the foundation out from under your wife. It makes it impossible for her to feel supported and able to express herself without the fear of being abandoned.
These emotionally crippling phrases are all too common in marriages. Learn their true meaning, call them when you see them and eliminate them from your relationships.