Shaming Language: 21 Phrases You Should Never Use in Relationships

Hey everyone, let’s talk about something that’s not only common but also incredibly destructive in relationships: shaming language. Now, you might not always recognize it when it happens, because sometimes these phrases are thrown around during heated moments or even masked as ‘just joking.’ But understanding what shaming language looks like is crucial to maintaining a healthy, respectful relationship. Here are 21 examples to help you identify and avoid these toxic exchanges.

1. “You’re just being sensitive.”

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This undermines the person’s feelings and dismisses their concerns. It’s a way of telling them their emotions aren’t valid or important.

2. “You always make such a big deal out of nothing.”

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This not only minimizes the person’s feelings but also tags them as irrational.

3. “You never think about anyone but yourself.”

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Using absolutes like ‘always’ or ‘never’ in accusations can make a person feel like they’re constantly wrong or failing.

4. “I don’t know why I put up with you.”

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This phrase can make someone feel unworthy of love or like a burden, which is deeply shaming.

5. “You’re acting crazy.”

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Labelling someone’s behaviour as ‘crazy’ is dismissive and can make them feel as though their emotions or reactions are not grounded in reality.

6. “No one else would deal with you.”

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This is a way of isolating someone by suggesting they’re so flawed, only the speaker could ever tolerate them.

7. “You should be more like [someone else].”

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Comparisons not only create insecurity but imply that the person is inherently not good enough as they are.

8. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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This dismisses the person’s thoughts and opinions, effectively silencing them.

9. “You’re overreacting.”

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Telling someone they’re overreacting is a way to gaslight them into questioning their own perceptions and feelings.

10. “If you loved me, you would…”

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This manipulative phrase suggests that failing to comply with a wish or demand is equivalent to not loving the person, which can induce guilt and shame.

11. “You always find something to complain about.”

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Again, the use of ‘always’ exaggerates and serves to label someone as perpetually negative.

12. “You’re being selfish.”

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While sometimes it’s necessary to point out selfish behaviour, using it as a blanket statement can make someone feel like their needs are always secondary.

13. “Stop being so dramatic.”

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This minimizes someone’s experiences and expressions as trivial or unworthy of serious consideration.

14. “You’re embarrassing me.”

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This phrase shames someone for their behavior, appearance, or actions in a way that can make them feel small and unvalued.

15. “Can’t you do anything right?”

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This rhetorical question implies incompetence and can deeply undermine someone’s self-esteem.

16. “You should have known better.”

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Implies that the person is foolish or incapable of making good decisions, which can make them feel belittled.

17. “That’s a stupid idea.”

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Directly attacking someone’s idea or suggestion can make them reluctant to share their thoughts in the future.

18. “You’re such a disappointment.”

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Few phrases are as directly shaming as calling someone a disappointment, which strikes at the core of their self-worth.

19. “I told you so.”

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While often said in frustration, this phrase can come off as patronizing and dismissive of someone’s effort to try something different.

20. “Why can’t you be more like me?”

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This not only imposes one’s way of being as the standard but also shames the other person for their differences.

21. “You’ll never change.”

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This statement not only shames someone for past behaviors but also strips away any hope for personal growth or improvement.

Let’s Shift the Conversation

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Recognizing these forms of shaming language is the first step in changing the dynamics of your relationship. Communication should uplift and support, not belittle and degrade. Let’s commit to shifting how we talk to each other, because everyone deserves a relationship built on respect and kindness. So next time you find yourself or your partner slipping into these patterns, pause, reflect, and choose words that foster understanding and growth. After all, the strongest relationships are built on mutual respect and compassion. Let’s work on being kinder, together.

The post Shaming Language: 21 Phrases You Should Never Use in Relationships first appeared on LoveLists.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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