You could be putting your significant other on the defensive without even realizing it

You could be putting your significant other on the defensive without even realizing it

“You’re just like your mother.”

There it is, those damning words, hanging in the air while you instantly wish you could take them back. Many couples have said something that they regret — or worse, they say things without even realizing the damage they’re doing to their relationship. 

While it’s impossible to never say a negative thing to another person, even a beloved — we are humans, after all — there is evidence to suggest that the happiest couples are the ones who “have the highest ratio of positive statements to negative statements in the way they talk to each other,” Art Markman, PhD, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, tells Yahoo Health. While the exact ratio is up for debate, it’s clear that “the negative things we say to our partner stick more than the positive ones.” 

Experts say there are certain comments that are particularly poisonous to a partnership, eroding a bond over time. Beware of these seven relationship-sabotaging phrases: 

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to make a sweeping statements such as, “You never think about what I want” or “You always leave your clothes on the floor.” There are two reasons why overarching accusations are so toxic: First, they’re judgmental, and really, no one likes to be judged. Second, across-the-board generalizations like these are not only often inaccurate — all your partner has to do is find one example to make your statement untrue —but they also automatically put your partner on the defensive, relationship expert Wendy Walsh, PhD, author of The 30-Day Love Detox, tells Yahoo Health.

And ultimately, this derails the discussion rather than getting at the heart of the problem. “If you say, ‘You always do this,’ then the argument becomes ‘No, I don’t always do this’ instead of what the argument is really about,” says Walsh. “There’s no choice but to defend yourself.” 

For example, if your partner parks the car too close to your spot and doesn’t leave any room for you to squeeze into your car, you may be tempted to say, “You always park in my space! You never think about me.” But rather than attacking your partner and getting into a fight, Walsh suggests focusing on the problem at hand and soliciting your partner’s help in coming up with a solution. “You can say, ‘Hey love, I’m cramped and can’t get into my car—can you help me fix it?’” she suggests. “This is the problem and you need some help.”

This offhand remark can easily roll off the tongue when you’re annoyed at your partner and don’t want to listen to them, but the indifference it shows is chillier than any ice bucket challenge. “It’s dismissive,” says Walsh, who points out that stonewalling like this is what marriage researcher John Gottman, PhD, who has studied partnerships for 40 years, says is one of the top predictors of divorce. “If their partner is not listening to them, sooner or later they will find someone who will listen to them — and it will be a divorce attorney or a lover,” says Walsh. (Ouch.)

This remark can also make your partner feel disrespected, says relationship and marriage therapist Karen Ruskin, PsyD, LMFT, clinical fellow with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and author of Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual. Saying “whatever” to your S.O. sends the message that “I don’t care about your thoughts or your opinions,” Ruskin tells Yahoo Health. “It’s a lack of respect for the person’s voice, thoughts, and opinions.” 

If your mother is painfully passive-aggressive or your father shirked his parenting duties, having your partner tell you that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is a low blow. This type of objectifying comment is a form of name-calling, notes Walsh, so it isn’t constructive and only serves to wound someone. “It doesn’t allow the person to be seen or fully heard as a multifaceted human being,” she says. “It’s very difficult to get back to a place of love when someone has been objectified and you’ve called them a name. It’s the worst conflict resolution style.”

Dodging responsibility by constantly blaming someone or something else outside of the relationship and playing the victim is extremely damaging, according to Walsh. “The partner is forced into a place of compassion for the victim and conflict is not resolved,” she explains. “When you have a relationship, you’re going to be constantly compromising. Along the way there will be some treading on each other’s boundaries a bit, and sometimes it will be both partners’ fault. The ability to say ‘I’m sorry’ is huge.”

It also sends the message to your partner that you’re not willing to take ownership of your mistakes, Ruskin says, and it also makes “the mate feel stuck that there is no solution or resolution.” 

"If you’re saying that it wasn’t [your fault], then basically, we’re stuck with ‘This can happen again,’" she says. "It gives you no hope or optimism for other scenarios" where you might be at fault. 

This is an apology that’s not really an apology, says Markman. “If your partner has a complaint, acknowledge that the complain is something that made your partner feel bad. When you apologize and then immediately justify your action, you are not really apologizing,” he says. “You are explaining why the thing you did was not really wrong.” Instead, try to see the situation from your partner’s perspective: Think about how and why your actions may have been taken negatively, regardless of what you think about the purity of your intentions, he says. 

By saying “calm down” (or using the phrase’s equally annoying cousin “relax”), you’re more likely to rile up your partner than soothe ‘em. “It’s condescending,” says Walsh. “When someone is upset, they aren’t going to calm down because they’ve been instructed to do so.” Instead, Walsh recommends coming from a place of sympathy, saying something like, “I can see that this is really upsetting you, and I want to find a way to help.” After all, the point of being in a partnership is that you’re in it together.

Phrases like “this is why you don’t lose weight” or “this is why you’re so stressed” can actually be expressions of contempt, and are toxic to a relationship, David Sbarra, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and director of clinical training at the University of Arizona, explains to Yahoo Health. “Making your partner feel low or inferior to you is the most noxious of relationship behaviors,” he says. 

These kinds of remarks also imply that you know all — even if you really don’t. “You’re inferring you know the reason, but maybe that’s not the reason,” Ruskin says. In reality, saying “This is why…” just makes your partner feel like you don’t understand him or her. 

This article originally appeared in : 7 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To Your Partner | | Rachel Grumman Bender | February 13, 2015

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Israeli house strikes killed mostly civilians

Israeli house strikes killed mostly civilians

The youngest to die was a 4-day-old girl, the oldest a 92-year-old man. They were among at least 844 Palestinians killed as a result of airstrikes on Gaza homes during Israel's summer war with the Islamic militant group, Hamas.

Under the rules of war, homes are protected civilian sites unless used for military purposes. Israel says it attacked only legitimate targets, alleging militants used the houses to hide weapons, fighters and command centers. Palestinians say Israel's warplanes often struck without regard for civilians.

The Associated Press examined 247 airstrikes, interviewing witnesses, visiting attack sites and compiling a detailed casualty count.

The review found that 508 of the dead — just over 60 percent — were children, women and older men, all presumed to be civilians. Hamas says it did not use women as fighters in the war, and an Israel-based research group, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which tracks militants among the war dead, said it has no evidence women participated in combat.

In addition:

  • Children younger than 16 made up one-third of the total: 280 killed, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.
  • In 83 strikes, three or more members of one family died.
  • Among those killed were 96 confirmed or suspected militants — just over 11 percent of the total — though the actual number could be higher since armed groups have not released detailed casualty lists.
  • The remaining 240 dead were males between the ages of 16 and 59 whose names did not appear in AP searches of militant websites or on street posters honoring fighters.
The review was the most painstaking attempt to date to try to determine who was killed in strikes on homes; Israel's army and Gaza militants have refused to release information about targets and casualties. The count tracked all known airstrikes on homes, though not all strikes had witnesses and damage inspected by the AP wasn't always conclusive.

The number of civilian deaths has been a key issue in the highly charged battle over the dominant narrative of the 50-day war.

Fighting erupted in July, after a month of escalating tensions triggered by Hamas' abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, and an Israeli arrest sweep of Hamas supporters that led to renewed Gaza rocket fire on Israel.

Israel says it tried to avoid harming civilians, even as Hamas embedded weapons and fighters in residential areas.

"Our position is very clear. Israel did not commit war crimes," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

Palestinians say Israel attacked with disproportionate force and callous disregard for civilians.

If most of those killed are civilians, "you cannot call them collateral damage," said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian spokeswoman.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the war, a move that could pave the way for possible prosecution of both Israel and Hamas.

International law experts note that a high civilian death toll alone does not constitute conclusive evidence of war crimes. But it "raises a red flag and suggests that further investigation is warranted," said Alex Whiting, a former top official at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands.

Israel would not say how many of its 5,000 air attacks were directed at homes. However, it insists it only aimed at legitimate military targets.

Asked for comment on the AP's findings, an Israeli army spokesman, Lt. Peter Lerner, said that "one cannot draw broad conclusions" by examining only a small percentage of Israel's airstrikes.

Reuven Erlich, a former senior Israeli intelligence officer, questioned the reliability of Gaza witnesses and said only military experts could determine what happened in each strike.

According to preliminary U.N. figures, at least 1,483 Palestinian civilians were killed in the war — 66 percent of the overall death toll of 2,205.

Gaza militants fired about 4,300 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, according to the Israeli military. The barrages drove tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes to seek cover. Five civilians were killed, among them a 4-year-old boy, along with 67 soldiers.

Advocacy groups and U.N. investigators have said that Hamas' battle tactics over the years, including indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel, amount to war crimes.

The AP examined cases in which people were killed in homes or adjacent yards, including those hit by shrapnel or debris from attacks on neighboring buildings. The count excluded artillery strikes which are inherently inaccurate.

Starting in November, three reporters visited the vast majority of attack sites, interviewed survivors and collected hundreds of death certificates — documents recognized by Israel as proof of mortality.

The youngest victim, Shayma Sheik Ali, died four days after her pregnant mother's body was pulled from the rubble of their home in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp.

The infant was delivered by emergency cesarean section, her relatives said. She died July 29, according to her death certificate.

The oldest victim, 92-year-old Abdel Karim Abu Nijem, was killed along with a son, three grandsons and three other relatives, in an airstrike on his home in the Jebaliya refugee camp. Islamic Jihad later confirmed that two fighters were also killed in that strike.

A nephew said the family received no warning. "Otherwise we would have fled," said Mohammed Abu Nijem, whose 29-year-old wife, Soha, and 3-year-old daughter, Ragheb, were killed.

The military said it warned civilians when possible, including through phone calls or "knocks on the roof" with non-explosive missiles, and it aborted some strikes due to civilians in the vicinity.

In January, the Palestinians joined the International Criminal Court, opening the way for possible investigations of both Israel and Hamas. In response, the ICC prosecutor launched a preliminary review of whether a full probe is warranted.

Israel's military says it is conducting a transparent investigation of any wrongdoing by its forces in the Gaza war. However, rights groups in Israel and abroad demand an independent investigation, arguing that house strikes were part of a policy approved at the highest levels and the Israeli military cannot investigate itself. 

This article originally appeared in : AP Exclusive: Israeli house strikes killed mostly civilians | Associated Press | By KARIN LAUB, FARES AKRAM and MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH February 13, 2015 2:52 PM

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Who Is Lindsay Lohan?

Who Is Lindsay Lohan? - I think I must be the only person in America who hasn't seen anything Lindsay Lohan is in (at least that I remember) , hasn't seen her do an interview, hasn't seen her on TV and has no idea why she is in jail.

I do however, know that she is in jail through some sort of osmotic process of living in a culture obsessed with celebrities and everything they do. And this upsets me greatly.

I deliberately ignore celebrity news because I have absolutely zero interest in whether Jenifer Aniston wore a red dress to piss off Angelina Jolie at an awards ceremony or Paris Hilton has done another sex tape with a new douchebag etc. Celebrity news does two things: Distracts us from real news that matters, and helps sell us garbage that we don't need. I buy enough useless junk as it is, and don't need to know what Brad Pitt wears to the gym so I feel pressure to buy that too. I've recently stopped watching television, and feel infinitely smarter having canceled my cable bill (and quite a bit richer too).

Which brings me back to Miss Lohan.

The fact that I know anything about this reportedly mildly talented actress who is only really famous for being an utter cow (I've heard some real horror stories from friends of mine who have met her) has started to really bug me given I have tried my very hardest to not hear about people like her.

I have to search pretty hard to find out about issues that have any type of meaningful effect on people's lives (like trade agreements that will screw working people, the details of financial reform, environmental legislation for mountain top mining etc) yet I don't have to do anything to find out that Linsay Lohan is in jail. And if I'm deliberately ignoring people like Lohan, what does that say for people who don't really think too much about the news they are consuming? A 14 year old girl in America would grow up thinking that a C list celebrity going to prison actually constituted something serious, that the lives of the mega rich and famous were of concern to society.

Our obsession with everything celebrity has stopped us being able to focus on issues that matter and morphed us into drama addicts and voyeurs. Everyone has an opinion on LeBron James's decision to switch basketball teams, but no one really has any idea whether the new health care legislation will actually help regular people (it will).

The end result is highly manipulated public trained to ignore issues that matter and obsess about issues that don't. And I'm starting to believe this is intentional -- that the mass media system is geared towards isolating people and turning them into mindless consumers. If people started to catch on to the rigged political system that benefits the rich and goes to war to make money, there would be a chance of mass movements to stop it. But our politicians know that if our attention is focused on people like Lindsay Lohan, they can basically get away with murder. So the giant conglomerates are allowed to pump our minds full of meaningless garbage and are never held to account.

The only way to stop it is to literally turn off the TV and stop buying the magazines. Otherwise we'll sleep walk into another illegal war while the media camps out infront of Lindsay Lohan's lawn to find out whether she bought Gucci shoes or Prada. ( )

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Berita Heboh ... !!! Aktris Lindsay Lohan Dikabarkan Masuk Islam

Aktris asal Amerika Serikat, Lindsay Lohan, dikabarkan masuk Islam alias menjadi mualaf.. Kabar ini mencuat setelah mantan aktris cilik tersebut terekam tengah membawa kitab Al Quran setelah pelayanan masyarakat di sebuah yayasan anak di Brooklyn, New York, Rabu (13/5/2015).

Dalam foto tersebut, artis yang dibesarkan dengan agama Katolik ini, tampak memeluk Al Quran di lengan kirinya.

Di foto itu, perempuan blasteran Irlandia dan Italia tersebut tampak mengenakan kacamata hitam dan memakai gaun santai berwarna putih.

Kabar Lindsay menjadi mualaf semakin menguat setelah awal tahun ini dia mengunggah foto di Instagram yang berisi kutipan dari ayat suci Al Quran.

Aktris Lindsay Lohan Dikabarkan Masuk Islam

"Ya Tuhan, tingkatkan pengetahuanku. Ya Allah, saya meminta pengetahuan yang bisa bermanfaat," demikian bunyi kutipan tersebut.

Namun, postingan tersebut dihapus oleh Lindsay beberapa saat kemudian.

Kendati demikian, ini bukan kali pertama Lindsay tertarik dengan agama lain selain Katolik.

Selama kariernya sebagai artis remaja, dia sempat mengenakan benang merah dengan simbol mata satu sebagai lambang dari agama Kabbalah.

Dia juga digosipkan mendatangi kelas Kabbalah.

Lalu di 2012, dia dikabarkan mengikuti kelas agama Buddha bersama penyanyi Courtney Love.

Tahun kemarin, Lindsay menggambarkan dirinya sebagai orang religius dalam tayangan dokumenter bersama Oprah Winfrey.

"Saya adalah orang yang sangat religius. Saya menjadi seperti itu seiring berjalannya waktu," ujar Lindsay dalam tayangan tersebut.

This article originally appeared in : Aktris Lindsay Lohan Dikabarkan Masuk Islam | |Kamis, 14 Mei 2015 10:18 WIB

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Greek archaeologists find couple locked in millennia-old hug

Greek archaeologists find couple locked in millennia-old hug
In this undated handout photo released by the Greek Culture Ministry on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 shows the remains of a man and woman in their early twenties, buried as they died nearly 6,000 years ago - locked in a tight embrace in Diros, southern Greece. Such double burials are very uncommon, and this is the oldest of its kind in Greece, archaeologist Anastassia Papathanassiou told the Associated Press Friday. The discovery was made in 2013, but announced this week - just before Valentine’s Day. (AP Photo/Greek Culture Ministry)

Death did not part them. Archaeologists in southern Greece have discovered the grave of a man and woman buried as they died some 5,800 years ago — still tightly embracing.

A senior member of the excavation team, Anastassia Papathanassiou, says the discovery — made in 2013 and publicized this week after DNA testing determined each skeleton's sex — is the oldest of its kind in Greece. She says the couple most likely died holding each other.

Papathanassiou told The Associated Press on Friday that the remains of the couple, estimated to be in their 20s, were found near the Alepotrypa Cave, an important prehistoric site.

It's unclear how they died and whether they were related, but Papathanassiou says further DNA testing should answer the latter question. 

This article originally appeared in : Greek archaeologists find couple locked in millennia-old hug |  Associated Press | February 13, 2015 3:55 PM

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Kate Middleton Takes Prince George to Swim Lessons as World Awaits Royal Baby

Kate Middleton Takes Prince George to Swim Lessons as World Awaits Royal Baby - Prince William and Kate Middleton Surprise Royal Baby Fans With Breakfast, Did They Reveal It’s a Girl?

Kate Middleton Takes Prince George to Swim Lessons as World Awaits Royal Baby 

The great Kate wait continues — but that doesn't hinder the Duchess of Cambridge from performing her everyday mothering duties for older son, Prince George. Proving that a mother's work is never done, Kate Middleton, 33 — now five days passed her April 23 due date — was spotted Tuesday, April 28 picking up her 21-month-old from swimming lessons at Buckingham Palace, Us Weekly has learned.

An onlooker tells Us the royal — who drove herself! — was joined by a protection officer who rode shotgun during the 11 a.m. trip to pick up George from lessons. Prince George's nanny, Maria Borrallo, was also along for the ride back to Kensington Palace.

News of Middleton's surprise outing comes just hours after she and her husband Prince William, 32, sent a breakfast treat to royal watchers patiently waiting outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in London. Around 9 a.m. local time, the second-time parents-to-be sent tea and two boxes of Danish pastries and croissants — in boxes wrapped with pink ribbons! — to the camped-out Brits.

A palace aide tells Us, "The Duke and Duchess saw reports of them camped out and wanted them to know they were thinking of them."

Tomorrow, April 29, will mark the couple's fourth wedding anniversary.

Stay with Us Weekly for all the latest updates on Royal Baby number two, including an exclusive livestream of the scene outside St. Mary's Hospital once the Duchess goes into labor, frequent updates from royal experts and Us staffers in London, the big baby reveal, and much more! 

This article originally appeared in : Kate Middleton Takes Prince George to Swim Lessons as World Awaits Royal Baby | | April 28, 2015 1:45 PM 

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The Pope Benedict Conspiracy Theories

The Pope Benedict Conspiracy Theories - For someone once bestowed with the luxury of infallibility, former Pope Benedict XVI is having a unique retirement. Two years after his unprecedented withdrawal from the papacy—well, unprecedented for the last 600 years at least—the erstwhile Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's resignation remains the subject of speculation. 

Two years ago this week, Benedict's announcement that he was stepping down for health reasons shocked the Catholic Church and much of the world. It also loosed conspiracy theorists who believe Benedict was forced to resign. On Wednesday, one of the former pope's top lieutenants defended the 87-year-old's choice.

"That a surrogate of Benedict is still out protecting the pope emeritus in the press speaks to an inherent defensiveness." "Benedict XVI is convinced that the decision that he took and communicated was right," Monsignor Georg Gaenswein told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. "He has no doubts."

The Pope Benedict Conspiracy Theories
The Pope Benedict Conspiracy Theories

The statement, when read closely, could be meaningful for two reasons. That a surrogate of Benedict is still out protecting the pope emeritus in the press might speak to an inherent defensiveness (though a reporter's questions could easily have prompted it). Then, there is the theory of his "forced resignation," which would invalidate the election of Pope Francis. "Church law says a pope's resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others," Reuters noted last year. 

The circumstances surrounding Benedict's decision to step down have titillated scholars and the journalists alike, especially given the fact that his resignation came not long after the "Vatileaks" scandal. The release of internal Vatican memos, by some accounts, revealed how Benedict's efforts to reform the church, like provide transparency on the global sex abuse scandal and the management of the Vatican bank, were undercut by internal politics. Writing in The Washington Post in 2013, Jason Horowitz summed up how the leaks might affect Benedict's legacy:
"It showed how Benedict, a weak manager who may most be remembered for the way in which he left office, was no match for a culture that rejected even a modicum of transparency and preferred a damage-control campaign that diverted attention from the institution’s fundamental problems."
Some of the talk that Benedict was forced out starts there. In the Italian media, as Reuters relayed, the leak itself was portrayed as proof that "that a faction of prelates who wanted to discredit Benedict and pressure him to resign was behind the leaks." Writing for The Atlantic, Paul Elie noted that Benedict still wears white—"the papal vestments sans cape and sash"—which others have taken as a signal that the pope emeritus still feels a bit like the pontiff. And last month, according to the AP, a retired Kazakh archbishop joined the chorus of those who say Benedict didn't choose to go. 

In a letter to Vatican Insider last year, one of Benedict's only public statements since his resignation, he stressed again that there "is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation." Doth he protest too much?

This article originally appeared in : The Pope Benedict Conspiracy Theories || By Adam Chandler |FEB 13 2015, 7:22 AM ET

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