Aggressive communication in the couple

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Robert Maurer

Aggressive communication in the couple

"You are good for nothing." "You're just talking nonsense." Communicative aggression in couple relationships leaves its mark. You need to identify it and react as soon as possible.

Last update: June 17, 2022

We could provide multiple examples of aggressive communication in the couple. In all cases it damages, diminishes and destroys the psychological balance of the person to whom it is addressed.

Education, age or previous experiences do not matter: everyone, at some point, can be victims of these harmful dynamics.

The existentialist psychologist and psychotherapist Rollo May said that communication should always guide us towards understanding, intimacy and appreciation of the other.

This is also true in an emotional bond. Well-being, happiness and projection of the future between two people largely depend on this pillar.

But let's face it, not everyone is competent in this area. Because knowing how to communicate doesn't just mean being effective in conveying a message.

Correct communication is one that knows how to control emotions and expresses itself in an assertive way to obtain an end: to reach the other with respect.

How is aggressive communication?

Aggressive communication is basically about making use of a self-centered attitude who does not respect the thoughts, feelings and rights of the other.

We could describe it as that one-way interaction style in which only what the speaker says and thinks matters. It is therefore not difficult to deduce that a violent personality lies behind it. The traits of such a profile would be:

  • It only takes into account its own needs.
  • His goal is for the partner to accept and give in to his wishes, objectives and perspectives.
  • He is a warlike person, he does not hesitate to humiliate and violate the rights of others.
  • It is an explosive and unpredictable personality. You never know when it will explode with an aggressive comment.
  • Underestimate your partner's every thought, decision, or comment.

On the other hand, we must emphasize that aggressive communication can be verbal, but also non-verbal. In other words, in addition to the message or words addressed to the partner, there are gestures, a finger pointing and threatening, closeness that invades personal space, etc.

Examples of aggressive communication in the couple

It's easy to fall into a relationship where violent communication is a constant. This is mainly explained by the inertia in which most of the victims sink.

One of the characteristics of this dynamic is that communicative aggression is unpredictable. The partner is taken by surprise, he does not expect that attack full of contempt, sarcasm or insult.

Gradually the victim ends up minimizing this type of communication, normalizing it because his self-esteem is low and because his identity is completely subordinate to the other. Below we present some examples of aggressive communication in the couple.

1. You're good for nothing, leave it to me

This sentence degrades the other person. In this way, the aggressive partner assumes power by despising the other. The most complex aspect is that many times that "you are useless" is said in an affectionate and semi-joking tone that may seem harmless.

Expressions like "Oh honey, I don't know what you would do without me" are highly harmful denigrations masquerading as false kindness.

2. You always, you never ...

Speaking in absolute terms is a form of violent communication which we often overlook. It is important to keep this in mind.

Phrases like "you never do this or that, you are always like this or always wrong, etc." they hurt the other person. Daniel Goleman explains in his book Emotional Intelligence the danger of using this resource. Taking a particular event and transforming it into general is an attack on the other person.

3. The fault of everything is yours

Among the examples of aggressive communication in the couple, the projection of guilt cannot be missing. Giving others the burden of everything that happens, their discomfort, their frustrations, and even the most insignificant problems is a clear form of violence.

4. You just talk nonsense

One of the goals of any aggressive and manipulative person is emotionally and psychologically cancel the other. It is important to note this, because the desire to demean others to lower their self-esteem can make use of multiple mechanisms, resources, expressions, phrases and sophisticated comments.

The research study conducted at Loyola University in Chicago indicates that aggressive communication and contempt distinguishes both sexes equally.

5. You act like your mother, your father, like my ex (comparison)

Confrontation is another classic example of aggressive communication in the couple. However, we tend to normalize these messages, so we don't always react.

Being told "You act like your mother, you are just as exaggerated" or "You are all the same, you are as careless as my ex" are comments that we do not always identify as aggressive communication.

6. "You are not normal"

This comment is also a classic in the repertoire of violent and manipulative communication. We can define it with the term gaslighting, or make the other believe that he has a mental problem.

Convincing the partner that his worries are not normal, that he is exaggerating everything, that he is losing control. These disqualifications represent a form of abuse and manipulation.

7. Aggressive communication in the couple: "Do what I say"

"What you think does not matter, because in this house I am in charge". Another obvious example of aggressive communication in the couple. The imposition of one's own point of view, trampling on the rights of the partner to affirm one's own is a form of absolute violation.


There are many other examples of violent communication, the most decisive aspect is to recognize them and react. Aggressive language hurts, destroys, and distorts the authentic sense of affection in a relationship.

Knowing how to love implies also resorting to empathic communication, respectful and constructive. Let's keep that in mind.

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