The Killer “You”

We have often heard about the killer « you » word in communication. The accusing, blaming, faultfinding « you »! « You » caused the floor mat to get wet! « You » did not close the window! « You » left the front door opened! « You » did not turn off the lights! » All these can be accusatory or not.

While the tone of voice may determine the sense and depth of accusation in the statements, it is not always true that the use of the word « you » is to accuse or blame « you ». At least, when the tone of voice does not reflect blaming or faultfinding and it was not the intent. Nonetheless, it is necessary to adjust one’s statements because of the sensitivity of your interlocutor about the « you » blamer. It is also good to develop a general use of statements with less assumption that one is accusing the other.

From another perspective, your past experiences may cause you to be oversensitive to anything that resembles accusing, blaming, fault-finding or pointing out error. If you have been blamed often in the past or blamed wrongfully for something that hurts deeply, you can develop a trauma or a strong dislike or resentment of any form of what seems to be another episode of faultfinding or pointing out of an error. It may bring up consciously or unconsciously, what may seem like another « having a go » at you to blame again, just as in the past. One can even develop a certain negative attitude to anything that reproaches one’s behavior or that may bring up a point that may need to be corrected in one’s habits.

Both interlocutors need to reflect on the individual adjustments necessary to walk through the reshaping of their communication one with the other. One must adjust the « you » used in statements and use more of questioning by starting with for example: « The floor mat is wet, how did it happen and what can we or I do about it? »; « Is the window closed? »; « The front door is open, should I close it? »; « The light in the room is still on, can someone turn it off? ». Likewise, the over-sensitized must recognize the unnecessary blown-up reaction to what may seem like another blaming and rather give the benefit of the doubt that no harm was meant.

Make every effort to take the stance that no harm was meant. I know, it is easier said than done, but it is possible to get to the point where you focus on the friendship of the other rather than on the fault. Maintain a good relationship even if you have issues to deal with. Look beyond the hurt and see the love, kindness and generosity you want to share with the person. You will soon be able to share painful things without fighting, malice or without being isolated or feeling victimized.

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