Photo by Alex Osterwalder

Okay, here it is! Promised and delivered, scripts you can use as tools when communicating your unfavorable decisions to your family…or anyone, really.

Hope you find it helpful!

(The following is an excerpt from Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward)

Handling the Most Common Responses

1. Catastrophic predictions and threats

When they say:

  • You’ll destroy this family.
  • You’re not my child anymore.
  • I’m cutting you out of my will.
  • I’ll get sick.
  • I can’t make it without you.
  • I’ll make you suffer.
  • You’ll be sorry.

You say:

  • That’s you’re choice.
  • I hope you won’t do that, but I’ve made my decision.
  • I know you’re angry right now. When you’ve had a chance to think about this, maybe you’ll change your mind.
  • Why don’t we talk about this when you’re less upset.
  • Threats/suffering/tears aren’t going to work anymore.
  • I’m sorry you’re upset.

2. Name-calling, labeling, negative judgments

When they say:

  • I can’t believe you’re being so selfish. This isn’t like you.
  • You’re only thinking of yourself. You never think about my feelings.
  • I really thought you were different. I guess I was wrong.
  • That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
  • Everyone know that children are supposed to respect their parents.
  • How can you be so disloyal?
  • You’re just being an idiot.

You say:

  • You’re entitled to your opinion.
  • I’m sure that’s how it looks to you.
  • That could be.
  • You may be right.
  • I need to think about this more.
  • We’ll never get anywhere if you keep insulting me.
  • I’m sorry you’re upset.

3. The deadly whys and hows. Don’t argue, don’t explain, don’t defend and don’t answer a why with a because.

When they say:

  • How could you do this to me (after all that I’ve done for you)?
  • Why are you ruining my life?
  • Why are you being so stubborn/obstinate/selfish?
  • What’s come over you?
  • Why are you acting like this?
  • Why do you want to hurt me?
  • Why are you making such a big deal out of this?

You say:

  • I knew you wouldn’t be happy about this, but that’s the way it has to be.
  • There are no villains here. We just want different things.
  • I’m not willing to take more than 50 percent of the responsibility.
  • I know how upset/angry/disappointed you are, but it’s not negotiable.
  • We see things differently.
  • I’m sure you see it that way.
  • I’m sorry you’re upset.

And the most nondefensive response of all:

  • You’re absolutely right [even if you don’t mean it].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.