Words that hurt: how to avoid them?
It’s normal to argue from time to time or to get mad. But it shouldn’t last too long and, most important, you should never use hurtful words as weapons. How can you express yourself without hurting the other person? And how should you react when you’re the victim of hurtful words? Here are some ideas.
Identify the hurtful words
You may already have heard these words. You may even have used them. They’re violent, aggressive, cruel, or contemptuous. They don’t leave visible scars but they’re painful and they can have serious consequences. Luckily, you can learn to recognize them and avoid them. Here are some examples:
1. Words that demand and give orders:
- Hug me! Touch me!
- If you really loved me, you’d do what I want.
- Shut up!
2. Words that judge and criticize:
- A guy who really loves his girlfriend spends more time with her than with his friends!
- A girl with any self-respect would never dress like you!
3. Words that humiliate and attack:
- All girls do it – you’re not normal!
- Every time we’re out in public, you act like an immature moron!
- Next time I’m leaving you!
How can you avoid using hurtful words?
When you’re angry, don’t let yourself get carried away. Bite your tongue on words you’re likely to regret, and calm down before talking. If necessary, go for a walk or do something else until your anger subsides. When you feel more in control, talk calmly, using “I.” Listen to what the other person has to say and try to find possible solutions with him/her.
What should you do when someone’s words hurt you?
If what someone said hurt you, tell them. Ask the person to stop, and explain what you feel. If you have a feeling the other person isn’t listening, end the conversation without yelling or using hurtful words yourself.
If you’re going through a long-term conflict and you can’t see any solution, talk about it with an adult you trust, a counsellor, or Tel-jeunes. That will help you see things clearly!