Avoid verbal attacks.

Based on The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense

Some phrases have negative presuppositions and just sound like attacks.  A presupposition is something that a native speaker of a language just knows is part of the meaning of the phrase – even when it is not overtly present in the phrase.

The ‘verbal attacks octagon’ that shows you which patterns in speech to look for and avoid.

If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t go out every night.
presupposition: You don’t really care about me.

If you really wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t eat so much.
presupposition: You don’t really want to lose weight.

If you really loved me, you wouldn’t want to go out every night.
presupposition: You don’t really love me, whether you go out or not. Because you still want to go.

If you really cared about losing weight you wouldn’t even want to eat that piece of cake.
presupposition: You don’t really care about losing weight whether or not you eat the cake,  because you want to eat cake.

Don’t you even care about what my mother thinks?
presupposition: You don’t care at all about my mother’s feelings.

Don’t you even care about your family?
presupposition: You don’t care at all about your family. What kind of person are you?

Even a kid knows how to do that.
presupposition: That you are stupid and incompetent.

Even a turtle can go faster than that.
presupposition: That you are so slow.

Everyone knows why you are doing that.
presupposition: You are doing something wrong and this ‘something’ is well known to the all-knowing and unidentified ‘everyone’.

All our friends get why you are acting so irrational.
presupposition: You are doing something wrong and this ‘something’ is well known to the all-knowing and unidentified ‘everyone’.

From the tone and the context, you know exactly who the speaker is directing the statement.

A person who wants to make it in life wakes up early.
presupposition: That you don’t want to make it in life because you don’t wake up as early as the speaker wishes.

A person who cares about their health wouldn’t be eating those cakes.
presupposition: That you are stupid for not realizing that eating too much cake is unhealthy, and that is the reason you aren’t feeling well.

Why do you always think only about yourself?
presupposition: That there has never been an instance that you have thought of anyone else. And you should be ashamed.

Why don’t you ever want me to be happy?
presupposition: You don’t me to be happy. You have the power to make me happy and you’re not willing to use it.

Some spouses would not put up with the mess you leave all the time.
presupposition: I’m not like all spouses, I do put up with you, but I’m getting tired of doing it.

Some people would get furious if their spouse didn’t buy a big gift for their birthday.
presupposition: I’m not like all spouses, but I too would like gift.

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