How many of you have said something that you regret? I will be the first to raise my hand to let you know that I have and kicked myself for it. Many of us say poisonous things out of anger to our spouses, children, family members and co-workers. Words have destroyed friendships and even marital relationships. I'm sure we all have seen lifetime relationships end because of something that was said. I know of several broken friendships that have ended over unkind words. I often see offended people in my office with tears streaming down their face, asking for advice on how to repair a fractured relationship. Sometimes it's too late and the damage is done; however, more often than not, these fractured relationships can be restored with a little hard work and determination.
We will continue on with this week’s article on "The Power and Poison of the Tongue" – Part 2.
Disrespectful words. This is another area where people get hurt. For example, I have heard many comments about someone’s weight. I have a client who is very critical about the women he dates and their weight issues and has caused them great pain. Another example is parents who tell me about their children weeping over remarks said by fellow students about their appearance. Be extremely careful what you say about someone’s physical appearance. In some cases, these people have no control over their height or body build. Say nothing disrespectful or unflattering and you will keep yourself out of trouble. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it!”
Using comparisons. Growing up, my sister used to hear my mother say, "Why can’t you be more like your brother? He gets good grades and studies." I have to say, my sister was one who didn't care about grades or going to college. I know it hurt her as she told me when we were adults that she didn't like our mother comparing us. Even my teachers compared my sister to me. They could not believe we were siblings because we were so different from each other. Sometimes a husband will compare his wife to his friend’s wives who do things he wishes his wife would do for him. "Jim's wife has a dessert after each evening meal, why don't you?" Or, “Dave’s wife works out every day at the gym, brings home a six-figure income and keeps a sparkling clean house. Why can’t you?” This can cause discourse in a marriage by comparing spouses. So don't go there. Sit down and talk to your spouse about the needs that you may have and don't compare someone else's spouse to get your way. Be up front and honest.
Of these, which do you feel you struggle the most with? If you struggle with unkind words you need to stop and consider the damage these words can do. Think about this, how many of these poisonous words have been spoken in your marriage, friendships or work relationships? If they have, there needs to be some relationship repairs.
Go to the people you have offended and apologize for the things you have said. This will go a long way in making things right. If you both have said poisonous words to each other then ask forgiveness from each other. This helps repair the damage that has been done in your marriage, family relationships and friendships.
As I mentioned last week, taste the words you speak before you say them. This will keep you out of hot water. Think about what you will say and the reason you are saying it. If it's out of anger then be very slow to speak and look at the effect your words will have. Choose your words carefully.
If you have a problem with saying words that are poison then get some help in planning on how to stop causing people heartache. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself and the loved ones in your life. If you can't fix your broken relationship get help if you need it. Make a promise to yourself that you will stop this destructive behavior.
“I had killed our careful relationship by driving my tongue through its heart and pushing it off a cliff.” Jeff Lindsay
A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever. --Jessamyn West (1902 - 1984) US author
A man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words. --Phillips Brooks
Speak softly. It is far better to rule by love than fear./ Speak softly. Let no harsh words mar the good we may do here. --Isaac Watts (1674 - 1748) English minister
Talking much is a sign of vanity, for the one who is lavish with words is cheap in deeds. --Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 - 1618) English navigator, historian, courtier
In closing, I see many couples in my office who have beaten each other up from poison in the words that can never be taken back and leaving lifelong scars of sadness, despair and brokenness. If you need help in managing this problem, contact Dr. Mike at 303.456.0555
Do you regret the words that you have spoken and want help restoring a broken relationship? Do you need to apologize to co-workers or loved ones and need help in offering a sincere apology? Would you like to get help for the hurts you have caused others and to stop your destructive behavior? If you said yes to any of these questions give Dr. Mike a call and set up an appointment today.