When things get heated

Top 5 things to AVOID when things get heated

  1. Words or phrases that imply that your partner is always wrong or not trying, e.g., “You always …” or “You never …”
  2. Name-calling or making unfavourable comparisons to other parents, e.g., “You’re stupid!”
  3. Judging your partner, e.g., thinking in terms of who is right and who is wrong, or thinking of your partner as the enemy or “the one with the problem”.
  4. Criticising your partner’s body or demanding that they lose weight.
  5. Letting fights continue overnight.

REFLECT: What are your warning signs?

It’s a good idea to try to become aware of your own and your partner’s warning signs that you’re becoming overwhelmed. Does your jaw clench? Do you raise your voice? Slam doors? Is it more difficult to make decisions?


when things get heatedIf your tempers are too hot, take a break and return to communicating when you are calmer, e.g., say something like:

“I want to listen to you. I know this is important, but I’m having a hard time because we’re so mad at each other. Can we take a break and talk about it later?”

Be aware of the difference between giving feedback and attacking, i.e., feedback can be given and heard as well-meaning and constructive, while attacking is hurtful. If you feel criticised, give feedback about how you are feeling. Describe what’s causing your concerns without saying why you think it is happening.

Seek professional help if you are having difficulty resolving your relationship problems.

Be aware that intimate partner and family violence occurs when someone who has a close personal relationship with you makes you feel afraid, powerless or unsafe. It can be physical, but can also be emotional and psychological. If you do not feel safe and need immediate help call 000 or go to your local hospital emergency department.

RELATED: Talking about tricky things

Problem solving as a team

Seeking professional help


Last reviewed 24 April 2016