When Our Partner Speaks With a Sharp Tongue

When Our Partner Speaks With a Sharp Tongue

When our feelings get hurt, all of us do something. We might close up and feel bad. We could get loud and yell. And some of us are good at cutting people down with rather pointed words.

All of these behaviors are designed to either stop the pain, whether we shut down or take someone’s head off. We are doing something because we feel terrible inside.

Cutting Words Aren’t the Best Way to Let Those Close to Us Know We’re Hurt

Sharp tongues and cutting words voice our upset while pushing people away.

But over the years I have noticed some people who are not yellers: they are explainers with a sharp twist. They scold you with proper English and you are left cut in half before you even know it.

I have seen this during counseling sessions and I hear about it from people who use this weapon. And yes, it is a weapon. It is designed to tell the listener that the person delivering the cuts has been hurt, deeply.

After one person delivers the blow, the other is probably devastated and doesn’t know what to do. I have seen the results of this as well. In one case, the woman feels so abandoned she cries and feels all alone. In another, the man feels worthless and alone as well.

Speaking with a Sharp Tongue Expresses Pain While Distancing Your Audience

Speaking with a sharp tongue pushes those close to you away.

This isn’t what the sharp-tongued individual intends. I am sure of this. I believe that refining our use of words to pack a punch is a lifelong habit. It’s one developed early, when no one was paying much attention to these people when they were little.

They grew up having to tell people they were hurt. And they probably grew up in environments that would not tolerate big emotions, so they might have had to figure out how to describe the pain. Unfortunately, aiming sharp words at another only shows them you are unhappy.

Sharp words just distance people. The sad part is that the people who use this technique do not want to be left alone. What they want is to let somebody know they have been hurt.

That’s all; they have been hurt. If they could stop at “I have been hurt,” they would get exactly what they are looking for: compassion and love. But they have to kill the offender who hurt them, and there is no compassion or love available with this kind of venom.

You Can Feel Closer By Expressing Your Pain Without Injuring the Listener

If you use your words to hurt people, I know you are hurting. I am very sorry that you have to fight so hard to let people know you were wounded. I know it isn’t fair. I also know you could feel a whole lot better if you learn a new way.

We change behavior all the time. Remember that description earlier where I talked about people who yell when they get their feelings hurt? That’s me. Well, I don’t yell anymore. I have changed. It takes work, and it is the best work you will ever do. And this is the truth.

Need Some Help Communicating Less Pointedly in Your Relationship?

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

If you’d like to get a better sense of how to talk to your partner, try reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you communicate more effectively and more openly, helping you understand each others needs and motivations, ultimately helping you better accept one another. Give it a read.

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Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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