16 Things You Should Never Say During A Heated Argument

16 Things You Should Never Say During A Heated Argument

We’re all guilty of saying things we don’t mean when we’re angry, but when you’re in a relationship with someone you truly care about, it’s extra important to think before you speak if you don’t want to cause lasting damage (or possibly destroy things for good). Here are things you should never say to your partner, no matter how mad you are, or you might come to regret it.

1. “You always…” or “You never…”

These generalizations are rarely true (if ever!) and immediately put your partner on the defensive. Focus on the specific behavior that’s bothering you in this moment, not trying to drag in every past grievance. Accusations like these lead them to shut down rather than listen, and suddenly, it’s a fight about your tone, not the actual problem you were trying to address. As Psychology Today highlights, it’s important to fight fair if you want to preserve your relationship and resolve issues completely.

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2. “Whatever.”

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This rolls your eyes in word form. It’s dismissive, disrespectful, and basically guarantees the argument escalates instead of getting resolved. If you’re not willing to engage constructively, it’s better to ask for a break and revisit the discussion when you’re calmer than throw out a verbal shrug. Their feelings are valid, and you should respect them.

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3. Name-calling of any kind

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“Idiot,” “loser,” or whatever other nasty insult pops into your head — keep it there. The moment you resort to attacking them instead of the issue, you’ve lost any hope of a productive conversation. Those hurtful words stick around long after the argument is over, eating away at the respect you should have for each other.

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

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Even if it’s true, dragging family into it is a low blow. It has nothing to do with the actual problem at hand and is just meant to hurt them on a deeper level. Insulting their family will make them instinctively defend themselves and see you as the enemy, not the partner trying to work through a difficult situation.

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5. Bringing up past mistakes they already apologized for

Okay, maybe they screwed up similarly before. If they owned it and genuinely tried to change, throwing that back in their face is unfair. Stay focused on finding a solution now, not rehashing old battles. Repeatedly bringing up past hurts makes them feel like nothing they do will ever be good enough, which breeds resentment, not motivation to do better.

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6. Any threat of leaving

“If you don’t ____, I’m out of here!” is manipulation, plain and simple. It makes them feel like your love is conditional, which damages the foundation of your whole relationship. Empty threats like this also lose their power over time, making the person hearing them less likely to believe you, even if one day you do actually mean it.

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7. “Why are you so sensitive?”

Dismissing their feelings is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Everyone has a right to be upset, even if you don’t fully understand why. Try to see things from their perspective instead of minimizing their emotions. Just because you might react differently, doesn’t mean their feelings aren’t valid.

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8. “You’re crazy!”

Don’t try to armchair diagnose them in the heat of the moment. It’s insulting and makes it seem like you’re not taking their concerns seriously, even if they’re expressing them in a way you don’t like. Using labels like this shuts down any chance of them feeling truly heard and can make them question their own sanity, which is horribly unfair.

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9. The silent treatment (which is just as bad as yelling)

Stonewalling and refusing to communicate shuts down any possibility of resolution. It’s immature and makes the other person feel completely unheard. Even if you need to cool down, explain that clearly instead of just going cold, leaving them confused and hurt.

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10. “I can’t deal with you when you’re like this.”

Walking away mid-fight might be necessary sometimes to cool down, but this phrase dismisses their feelings as a burden. Better to say something like, “I need a few minutes to clear my head, can we talk about this later?” Showing you’re willing to revisit the conversation when calmer demonstrates respect, even if you need space in the moment.

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11. Anything sarcastic

That snarky tone might feel satisfying in the moment, but it does nothing to actually solve the problem, GoodTherapy points out. Plus, those sarcastic remarks linger far longer than the actual argument. Resist the temptation to lash out with biting remarks, even if you’re feeling hurt yourself – it just adds another layer of conflict.

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12. “You made me do this!”

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Nope. You’re responsible for your own reactions, no matter how provoked you feel. Taking zero ownership for your behavior makes you impossible to have a healthy relationship with. Instead of blaming them, try explaining, “When you do X, it makes me feel Y” – it focuses on the impact of their actions, not implying they have total control over your emotions.

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13. Dredging up some unrelated fight to “win”

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“Well, remember that time YOU…” is how arguments turn into day-long misery fests. Resist the urge to deflect blame by piling on accusations that have nothing to do with the current issue. Stay on topic; otherwise it becomes a never-ending cycle of bringing up the past instead of working towards a future solution.

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14. Comparing them unfavorably to your ex/friend/anyone.

Trying to make them jealous or insecure is a terrible tactic. It creates resentment, not a desire to change. Comparing your partner to others is hurtful and implies they’re not good enough as they are, which does major damage to their self-esteem.

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15. “That never happened!”

Gaslighting, aka denying their reality, is seriously damaging to a relationship. If they remember something differently, respect their experience, even if you disagree. Telling them their own memory is wrong invalidates their feelings and makes them question their own judgment.

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16. “I wish I never met you.”

Conflict, upset and couple fighting on a sofa for toxic, cheating or relationship breakup. Upset, problem and frustrated young man and woman in an argument together in the living room of their home.

Ouch. This is basically the emotional equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Even if you don’t totally mean it, those words leave a scar that’s tough to heal. The hurt this causes might make them withdraw even if you apologize, creating a lingering distance in the relationship.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.
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