Never Say These 23 Hurtful Things: When You’re Angry

If you have ever been in a relationship chances are you have experienced a lover’s quarrel.

In my experience, if a couple has not established practicing good communication skills, it’s fair to say they will have their share of disheartening disagreements.

Having an argument is not all bad. If each person works together it can be an opportunity for the couple to learn from it, grow closer, and strengthen their relationship.

23 things you should never say in a relationship

Communication is key to having a successful union however never should things be said to manipulate, be verbally abusive or control another person.

In this article, Never Say These 23 Hurtful Things: When You’re Angry you will discover how each one of these phrases can have a negative impact on marriage.

1. “Nothing I do ever makes you happy”

This phrase is hurtful and should be avoided because it implies that the problem lies only with the spouse who is being accused of “hard to please”.

In my marriage very early on my husband on occasion would say this during a disagreement when he became frustrated or defensive.

Moreover, in my mind, this was the furthest from the truth, and I remember getting extremely upset and feeling misunderstood.

In retrospect, we both wanted what was best for each other but didn’t know how to communicate it effectively. As a result, the conversation would end with neither of us feeling validated.

For more on validation in a relationship, there is a fantastic article that was written by Karyn Hall Ph.D. called Understanding Validation: A Way To Communicate Acceptance.

2. “Shut-Up!”

Who likes to be told to shut-up, absolutely nobody. Telling a partner to “shut-up” is a sign that there is no value in what they are saying.

3. “Why are you so stupid”

Not only is telling your partner they are stupid hurtful, but you may also run the risk of them responding by quoting American author, Leigh Bardugo,

I can be stupid on my own!”

23 Things You Should Never Say To Your Spouse:When You're Angry

4. “It’s my way or no way”

In an article written by D.A. Wolf called My Way or the Highway: How To Argue With Someone Who Needs To Be Right, the author list the following ways to handle this circumstance:

  • Try to understand the reasons for the behavior
  • Recognize your relationship (what you have to gain or lose by how you handle yourself)
  • Pick your battles
  • Be certain of your position (and your facts)
  • Stay calm and measured

5. “You’re such a loser”

Ouch! If your objective is to strip away your loved one’s self-esteem, blurting out this hurtful phrase will do it. Otherwise, never make this demeaning comment to your spouse especially when you’re angry.

A better way to handle any disappointment you may have is to redirect your energy to finding ways to empower and support them in achieving their goals and aspirations.

6. “I hate you”

Now, I’m guilty early in our marriage of saying this to my husband on numerous occasions. However, what I remember is that although I didn’t really hate him, I did loathe how he made me feel at times. But, that’s not what he heard, because that’s not what I said.

The word hate is a strong, negative emotion and is a sign that there are some serious problems in the relationship.

The two-way line of communication may be broken and resentment has developed, therefore, seeking professional help may be necessary in order to start the healing and restoration process.

7. “Grow-up!”

Telling your spouse to grow up, in fact, is telling them that they are immature, therefore, cannot be taken seriously.

In an article written in the TIME found here, it states that:

insisting that someone needs to grow-up… isn’t helpful in relationships because it’s too vague to know how to work on it. It’s a catch-all term that can mean any number of things. For this reason, it’s not actionable and therefore not useful.”

8. “I should have listened to my mother/father.”

There is a reason why the Bible says in BOTH the Old and New Testament that:

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” – Gen 2:24, Matthew 19:5

Chances are you and your spouse will make up after this. Consequently, now the seed of mistrust and doubt has been planted with your spouse towards their in-laws.

Any uncertainties that your spouse had of your parents not believing that they were the right one for you prior to you making this painful statement, has now been confirmed.

9. “Nothing you say makes sense”

Is your spouse speaking in a language you don’t understand?

Otherwise, believe me, to your spouse it makes perfect sense and they may shut down and stop sharing their ideas and other important information if they feel they are not being understood.

Saying ” I don’t completely understand, maybe you could give me an example of what you mean.” is a nonconfrontational statement and would be better received.

Allow your spouse another opportunity to help you to understand it the way they do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having differences of opinions but never should either person make exaggerated statements out of anger.

10. “Whatever”

To say “whatever” responding light-heartedly when a playful joke or comment has been made is innocent enough.

However, it takes on a whole new connotation when said during a disagreement. Responding by saying “whatever”, is an indication that one is shutting down and no longer is interested in carrying on the conversation.

11. “I’m over you”

Never say “I’m over you!” when you really don’t mean it. Instead, try explaining that you’re angry and it would be better to talk about it later when both of you have had time to think more clearly.

In my experience telling your partner, “I’m over you” immediately causes them to become anxious and confused and moves the conversation into a more toxic and disagreeable lane.

Ask yourself are you really over your spouse which means your ready to move on without them or is what you’re really feeling discouragement from dealing with unfavorable circumstances.

12. “I wish I never met you”

Nothing could be more damaging or crushing to one’s spirit then hearing this. “I wish I never met you” places all the blame on everything that has gone wrong on one person in the relationship.

Understandably most of us have experienced having an argument that has completely gotten out of control, nevertheless, avoid saying this as it does not help heal and strengthen any relationship.

Instead, examine the current situation and evaluate what you may have been able to do differently or how you may have contributed to the issues at hand.

13. “You’ve put on weight”

Telling your spouse that they put on weight when angry is mean and extremely uncalled for.

Listen, there is nothing wrong with being concerned about the amount of extra weight your spouse has put on. However, what will be gained by blurting it out to them when things are not good.

If this is an area of genuine concern you have for your partner, allow for an opportunity to talk to them with a more positive approach.

At which time your spouse will have a chance to receive your feedback without feeling they are being criticized or judged.

14. “I can’t believe I married you”

Thank goodness this has never been voiced by either my husband or myself in our 26 years of marriage.

But, if we are going to be honest how many of us have had this thought when we are angry or disappointed?

You should never say this to your spouse when angry or at any time. Hearing this will be painful and leaves your spouse wounded and scarred.

No matter how much they love and care for you, they now have to carry around the distress of knowing that no matter what they do, you regret agreeing to go through life with them through the good times and bad.

Possibly marriage isn’t what you envisioned it to be, but is it really all your spouse’s fault?

Marriage brings with it many things that may not have been a concern before tieing the knot. Or possibly you considered all the elements of marriage in premarital counseling but never really thought that your marriage would bring with it any challenges.

  • Now that you are married maybe your spouse is more difficult to live with than you thought they would be. Why are they not as tidy or punctual as before?
  • Marriage has brought with it some unforeseen circumstances: health issues or financial difficulties.
  • If there are now kids you never have time for yourself like before, your spouse works a lot away from home and you feel overwhelmed.

I think that more emphasis should be placed before marrying on the challenges that will come up during their life together so that the newlyweds are better prepared when it happens and have some tools in their marital belts to help them through it.

In my article “What You Should Expect When You’re Married”, I touch on this topic in more detail.

15. “You’re just like your mother/father.”

Yep, DNA is a real thing. Behavior geneticists have concluded that genetics does play a major role in our personalities. So yes, both you and your spouse will carry with you some genetic personality traits from your parents.

Therefore, my advice is to cease from blurting it out to your spouse with a negative undertone, after all, science is on their side.

16. “Why can’t you make more money”

It’s plausible if you have said this to your spouse you have had feelings of bitterness, resentment and financial insecurity. Do you feel you are carrying most of the burden unfairly?

Whatever you’re feeling you should never say this to your spouse when you’re angry. Your spouse more than likely will not receive it well, left feeling criticized, belittled and put on the defense if caught off guard.

Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself:

  • Self-reflect and implement change: Are you overspending, living outside of your means, therefore, creating unnecessary financial pressure on my spouse and marriage?
  • Find a mutual solution: Have you discussed and agreed upon the type of lifestyle you should live, are you both on the same page?
  • Weigh out the pros and cons: What are other areas in your situation your spouse is contributing that offset them not making more money such as (eliminating daycare cost by watching kids, handling all of the household maintenance repairs instead of always having to hire someone)?

If you have considered all these factors and you still feel your spouse should make more money and they are in agreement but have yet to secure a more lucrative opportunity, again this is a great opportunity to examine your monthly budget.

Find areas that expenses can be minimized so that there is less of a financial strain on both of you.

Things You Should Never Say To Your Spouse

17. “I wish you were more like…”

Comparing your husband or wife to another person is belittling and extremely hurtful.

Try focusing more on the positive aspects of your spouse and all the great things that he/she brings to the relationship.

New research shows that:

whether or not someone protects a partner from the negative implications of comparisons depends on the degree to which they view themselves and their partner as one unit.


Psychologists have recognized this as ‘self-other overlap’.

18. “Our children act just like you”

For ages, our society has had a tendency to blame parents for their children’s behavior. Research has shown that childhood development has many influential factors.

Attributing the negative traits of your children to your spouse’s influence is one that your spouse more than likely will not accept lightly.

If you feel strongly that your spouse is having a negative impact on the way your children behave, speak to your spouse about it when you both are in a positive frame of mind.

Together examine the points of concern and discuss areas that their behavior around the children may warrant a change.

This without a doubt should have a more positive outcome on your children’s environment, behavior, and your marriage.

19. “Do you really need that?”

Questioning your spouse’s ability to make sound decisions is surely a proven way to start an argument.

It has been my experience that the one asking the question has predetermined that their spouse needs help deciding what is best for them in other words they are controlling.

Unless we are talking about your spouse indulging in a harmful substance or dangerous and indecent activity it’s better not to question what another adult needs once they have already made up their mind.

I strongly believe that each person in the marriage should have a monthly allowance to spend or save however they want without having to give an account for it.

Purchasing big ticket items for the home etc. should always be discussed prior to and mutually agreed upon.

However, if this is a matter of you questioning your spouse’s decision to having dessert with dinner, my advice would be to keep it to yourself as you will be perceived as being judgemental, negative and rude.

20. “You are annoying”

If you find your spouse upsetting, irritating or troublesome then that is the textbook definition of annoying. Although that being the case you should avoid calling your spouse annoying while you’re angry.

Trust me it will not be received well. Scientists have recognized a person’s ability to be annoying for no apparent reason as “affective presence”.

According to an article written by The Atlantic found here, a small body of psychology research supports the idea that the way a person tends to make others feel is a consistent and measurable part of his/her personality.

21. “It’s all in your head”

One of the most frustrating things in a marriage is to hear that “it’s all in your head”.

This is interpreted as you being unwilling to hear their point of view.

Before discounting what your spouse is saying, carefully listen to them, look at the bigger picture, examine your relationship as a whole.

Ask yourself is there anything that you can do to help your spouse work through his/her concerns.

22. “You’re the problem”

Telling your spouse that they are the problem places all the blame completely on their shoulders, contributing to them feeling upset, defeated, and confused.

This is an extremely unfair statement to make especially while angry and allows you the opportunity to walk away feeling no responsibility to nurture the relationship.

23. “I’m sorry you feel that way”

Saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” leaves your spouse feeling as if you are not vested in making things right.

What the spouse now feels is that the problem is theirs, that their husband/wife is not accepting any responsibility, and an insincere apology has just been made.

This can be viewed as a “cop out”. I believe the statement is not complete instead replace it with saying “I’m sorry you feel that way, how can I help in this situation so that you might feel differently.”

Now isn’t that better no “cop out” there, only a loving spouse wanting to help in making the situation better.

There you have it 23 Hurtful Things You Should Never Say: When You’re Angry.

What have I missed? Please share below some other things couples should avoid or never say to one another.

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11 months ago

Oh goodness, guilty about some of these! It’s a great reminder to keep my composure … thank you for sharing.

Mindy Boyd
11 months ago

So many important things here! Some lessons I’ve learned the hard way in 18 years of marriage.


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