Words that Haunt us

Words and phrases can stick in our heads, taunting and haunting us years and even decades after they were spoken.

  • Why are you so stupid?
  • You’re fat!
  • Why can’t you be more like your brother?
  • You have funny looking legs.
  • You’ll never amount to anything.
  • Everyone knows that.
  • No one really likes you.
  • I’m too busy to help/play with you.

Voices fro the past © Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net 

Often we internalize these words, accepting their messages as if they were true. This results in various actions: 

  • Doing things to prove we’re not what the words said.
  • Avoiding doing things that would show the words are true.
  • Anger at others who look like what the words told us about ourselves.
  • Seeking validation and approval from those who spoke the words, or from surrogates (especially our spouses).
  • Compensating by trying to excel to ridiculous extremes in other areas.
  • Over reacting to a word or phrase said today that is not intended negatively. (For example, if you were called “silly” in the past as a way of saying you were stupid or irrelevant, your wife lovingly calling you silly making you angry.)

If you examine your life carefully, I bet you can find places where you’re doing some of these things. If you don’t see any, try to recall the words and phrases that hurt you in the past, and then look for things you may be doing as a reaction to those. In particular, look for places where words from the past are harming or limiting your marriage.

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Great tweet of the week:

Turn off your phone during dinner. @GenerousWife

Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:

Featured Post – A must read article I saw this week:
Scott at Journey to Surrender posted What Matters Most in Your Marriage? ◄ You really should read and apply this!


For Better – or What?

Apologies Made Easy (Almost) ◄ A great article that covers a few things I did not mention in my post on apologies.

The Generous Wife

And Back Again ◄ “…it’s a good idea to hold traditions lightly”

Intimacy in Marriage

Slippery When Wet: Lubricant Review ◄ Got lube? Maybe you should get some.

refine us

In Sickness and In Health ◄ Learn to care for your sick spouse the way they want, not the way you want.

Safe at home

Make Thanksgiving A Lifestyle At Your House ◄ An important aspect of live most of us miss.

Stupendous Marriage

Grace Filled Marriage with Dr. Tim Kimmel ◄ Great interview with the author of a great book.

4 Comments on “Words that Haunt us

  1. Yeah, I’ve gotten that “why can’t you be more like your brother/sister” my whole life.  Its one of the reasons I don’t tell my mother anything about what I’m doing in my life, she always gives me reasons why I’m going to fail at it, then tell me something someone else is doing that she thinks I should emulate.

  2. What about “I can’t be what you want me to be-you would be happier married to someone else.”. Very, very painful.

  3. John Eldridge, in his most excellent books on the human heart, refers to words like these as, ‘the message of the arrows’ because arrows penetrate deep to do their damage and are hard to remove without doing more damage. No human being has escaped these arrows; no, not one. However, the real truth is that none of us are these lying words-no not one. So, becoming aware of the damage done to us, as you suggested we do, is but the first step in understanding that you are not what you think you are because of the word-arrows of another, wounded human being. The next step is to replace those lies with the truth of who you really are, deep inside of you; in the very place where Jesus said the Kingdom of God is: And trust me, it is good, this truth. Therefore, to be complete, everyone of us must go deep into our hearts, either now, willingly, or later, to challenge and annul these lies and replace them with the truth of who we really are; human beings created to resemble our Creator Who Himself is virtuous and good. This, for me, is the real depth of the gospel- Our hearts; for as a human being thinks in his heart, so he or she is. Change the thoughts and you change the heart; change the heart, and you change the person. And is not the hope of renewal and a change for the better in the very heart of all that Christians preach?

  4. Paul,

    Very good information about the Featured Post – by Scott. His thoughts bring up a lot of interesting ideas to consider. Intimacy is what God has always desired through history.  I had not made all his connections before.
    Thanks for bring great content to folks!

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