NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns into Verbal Abuse

Often couples who have problems communicating with each other make the mistake of believing that expressing their feelings means they can say whatever they want, in whatever tone or volume all in the name of "being honest." 

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns into Verbal Abuse

This distortion in reasoning often leads to an escalation in arguments and more misunderstandings.

Making Excuses for Verbal Abuse
As a psychotherapist and couples counselor in NYC, have heard people say over and over again, "I was just expressing my feelings" as a way to rationalize abusive verbal behavior. Often, the underlying intent of this "honesty", whether the person realizes it or not, is to hurt or one-up the other person.

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns Into Verbal Abuse

Stop and Think Before You Speak
If you stop to think about what you're about to say before you say it, you can catch yourself before you become mean spirited with your spouse or partner.

There's no reason for honesty to come with a sledge hammer. It's often better to take the time to cool down and come back to the discussion later rather than saying something rash in the heat of the moment.

Then, you can focus on what you're really trying to communicate rather than getting side tracked because you're too angry to think straight.

Getting Help
Learning effective communication skills with your spouse or partner takes practice. If you find yourself falling into the same pitfalls, you might benefit from couples counseling.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006 or email me: