(RE)ENGAGING YOUR PARTNER CONSTRUCTIVELY

I’m so disgusted by what you did. I’m taken aback by what happened.
You make my blood boil. I’m so full of fear right now.
You irritate me. I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Can you see how the left column describes feelings and casts judgment on a partner? The right column communicates your feelings without assigning blame. Also pay close attention to the tone of your voice. If your tone conveys anger and hostility, rather than sadness and fear, the conversation is likely to turn into an argument, no matter what words you say.

Example of a Counterproductive Conversation Using Accusations
She: “I’m so mad you talked to your ex after you promised not to.”
He: “I didn’t reach out to her, she reached out to me.”
She: “But you promised not to talk to her!”
He: “I was just being polite.”
She: “Oh, so you care more about her feelings than mine!”
Yes No