Divisive Language, Healing Language: The List

The key learning in this list is simple: you can watch how divisive language escalates stress. You can feel the difference as tension rises in the body.

Healing language creates openings in the body and the heart. Watch for them!


Using broad generalizations, “You always… You never…”

Blaming: “You were more unconscious, etc. than I was.”

Judging/Analyzing: “You are wrong. You are weak, immature, stupid, numb, etc.”
Withdrawing: “I have nothing to say about that.” (Or silence.)

Guessing/Intuiting: “When you get that look, I know what you are thinking.”

Confusing: “I feel that you always…” (Usually a guess or a judgment follows, NOT a feeling: bad sad mad glad.)

Parsing through who said what at what time: “You got angrier when I told you the truth that you were always late. That’s when you said…” (This is always argumentative and creates distance.)

Being right or making wrong: “I’m right about how the dishes go in the dishwasher. You don’t know anything.”

Repeating stories about past injuries and mistakes.

Any argument that goes on for more than ten minutes is sure to be nothing but repetitions of the above list.

Healing Language

We all get reactive to our partners. Here is a guide to the best forms of communication then. (Or any other time.)

Physical sensations in the body: “I feel a fluttery feeling in my stomach.” “My jaw is tight.”

Emotional descriptions, specific and in the moment: “I feel sad when I hear you talking about this.”

Self-Disclosure–Memory: “This feeling reminds me of my interactions with my father.

Present time: “I feel like this, now.”