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The Power of Words: 20 Phrases to Heal (or Grow From) Relationship Conflicts

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Thoughts are much more than airy pieces of information that enter our minds and then disappear. The words and ideas we think, and the accompanying feelings they spark, subconsciously shape our lives.

They can literally activate chemical processes that affect us at every level, emotional, physical, mental, and thus can drive us in the direction of overall success and happiness — or failure and distress.

Thoughts are energy. Emotions are energy. Physical feelings are energy. Together, they energize us to action accordingly, and even have the power to immobilize us. How you think (and thus feel) can have a profound effect on your ability to recognize an opportunity, perform to the best of your ability, or achieve the outcome of the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

Conflict with someone you love and care about can be thought of as an opportunity for healing and rewiring old defensive patterns (emotion-command neural pathways of our brain). Each moment can be an opportunity to shift away from old defensive ways of thinking and speaking, which our bodies are automatically wired to turn to whenever we are triggered. Instead of responding out of emotions of fear, such as disgust, rage, hatred, for example, you can turn to an “opposite” emotion response and respond out of caring, love, thoughtfulness, etc.

Whether spoken to another or to our self (self-talk), words help us do that. If we’re willing and open, they can move us toward increasing possibilities for healing, wholeness, and meaningful connection.

Here are 20 phrases that can be used to start healing conversations in different contexts :

1.  I am sorry. I was wrong to _______. Please forgive me.

2.  I appreciate you for _______.

3.  I’m scared that _______.

4.  Even though I think I’m right, I could be wrong about _____.

5.  I’m thinking that what’s missing from our lives is _______.

6.  I’m sad that my action of _______blocks me from feeling safe in my relationship/connection with you.

7.  I want to change this. It sounds as if you are saying _______.

8.  This reminds me of _______.

9. So then, based on our discussion, to make life more wonderful in this area: what I’d like/really want is _______, and what you’d like/really want is ______. Is that right?

10.  In this situation, I/you choose/chose to _______.

11.  Would you be willing to _______.

12.  I need your support in this situation _______.

13.  We didn’t do that well … can we start over? (Or a “do-over?)

14.  What can we (or I) learn from this?

15.  Thank you for _____.  I appreciate that   _______.

16.  I’d like to talk … when is a good time?

17.  I love you. You are important to me.

18.  I care about you, and your dreams. I know how important _______ is to you.

19. I want you to be happy, and have what you want, and it’s also good to check to make sure it’s in your, my highest interest as well as our relationship’s.

20.  It’s not easy … would you work with me on this? I can do my part, and only you can do yours. Together we can make this work; otherwise it will not work and waste our energy and time.

Chose one or more of these phrases and take them on a test drive next time you’re in a potentially triggering situation with someone you love. Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you…

The Power of Words: 20 Phrases to Heal (or Grow From) Relationship Conflicts

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2014). The Power of Words: 20 Phrases to Heal (or Grow From) Relationship Conflicts. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 May 2014
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