Name-Calling Is A Toxic Relationship Behavior To Watch Out For

Having arguments in a relationship is normal and can even be an indicator of a healthy relationship. According to a survey of nearly 1,000 adults, couples who argue effectively are 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who avoid conflict and communicating about difficult topics (via The Guardian). Those in healthy relationships communicate as a team to find a solution, while those in unhealthy relationships often focus on winning an argument and proving the other person wrong. How you and your partner speak to one another sets the tone and can indicate whether or not you have healthy relationship habits.

Do you find yourself or your partner resorting to name-calling during heated arguments? If you do, this can be a major red flag that you're in trouble and have toxic relationship habits. Name-calling can be incredibly damaging to the other partner's mental health and is considered verbal abuse. 

Name-calling can damage your self-esteem

If your partner is calling you names in arguments or is saying things to make you feel unworthy, they are exhibiting abusive behavior. In fact, name-calling is both verbally and emotionally abusive, and it tears down the other partner's self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Getting called hurtful names by your partner can leave you doubting yourself and feeling embarrassed and inferior.

As psychologist Cortney Warren wrote for CNBC, "Relationships quickly go downhill when one or both partners speak to each other with contempt." When your partner speaks to you disrespectfully, they are not respecting you or your boundaries. This can cause irreparable damage to the relationship. Since name-calling is a form of abuse, it is also a toxic form of control. The partner being verbally abused can become dependent on the other, learning to rely on them to say kind, affirming things that make them feel better.

What to do when your partner calls you names

Your partner is the person you're meant to feel safe with and supported by. If you find yourself feeling differently, it could be time to make a change. When your partner resorts to name-calling, you need to express how their words make you feel and make sure they are aware of how often they do so and how damaging it is.

According to GoodTherapy, using "I" statements to convey your feelings to your partner, rather than pointing out their flaws, is the best way to get them to listen to and understand you. This can also help prevent your partner from becoming overly defensive and causing a fight. Once you've had a conversation with them about their behavior, you need to set boundaries and lay out what you will and will not tolerate in your relationship. Be firm and stick to your boundaries. If you need additional help, reach out to family, friends, or a counselor for support.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support on their website.