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    How We Speak to Each Other Makes a Big Difference

    By Kristen Houghton     

    “I don’t want to hear another word out of your damn mouth for the rest of the day!”

    The above statement was yelled by a teenage boy to his girlfriend as he walked into my classroom. I watched the girl slink away, head lowered, to her own class. After class, I talked to the boy telling him his words were inappropriate and asked him if he really thought he should to talk to his girlfriend like that. His answer?

    “That’s how my father keeps my mom quiet.”

    The words we use and our tone of voice tells a lot about how we treat another person. Telling someone to “shut up!” is not the same as asking someone to “please be quiet.” How we learn to speak to one another is taught at home. If Dad always speaks angrily to Mom or Mom is mostly nasty to Dad, we learn that is the way to speak. Deep down we may know its wrong but it becomes a learned behavior. In the case of my student, he had learned well from his father.

    In relationships the way we speak to our partner reveals how we feel about him or her. The sound of our voice can bring comfort or fear to the listener. A constantly raised, angry voice is a sign that we have a problem communicating. Either we don’t want to have a relationship with him or her or we have issues that need to be addressed.

    The partner who allows this manner of speaking is, unfortunately, accepting it as normal behavior. The analogy is comparable to someone stepping on your foot on a daily. If you allow it to continue, it most definitely will. You’ll end up with a sore foot and a feeling of low self-esteem because you gave permission for them to keep doing something that hurt you.

    A close friend of mine was engaged to a man who was always extremely condescending to members of his family.

    “That’s just how he is,” said a female cousin who took the brunt of his “nasty-isms.”

    When he started speaking to my friend the same way, she decided that this frog would never turn into a prince and broke off the engagement.

    If raised voices or cruel comments were common in your family, stop the “family tradition” now. Your voice can be welcomed or dreaded by your spouse. You decide what you want your voice to say about you.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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