Seems to me that words have an emotional charge to them.  Some have bigger influences than others, but rarely is a word/phrase “neutral”.  They tend to either give life i.e. positive impact or cause a negative impact.  How many times does someone say something critical or make an accusation, and it sticks even if everyone else refutes that criticism/accusation?  I’ve heard it said that it takes 9 positive comments to override 1 negative one.  Not sure about the ratio, but it does make sense that negative words seem to have a more deepening impact.

I’ve also noticed that different negative words have different emotional charges.  Did an experiment once with my former boss where we were discussing something similar.  I suggested that swear words have more of an emotional charge than non-swear words, even if they substitute a swear word.  I demonstrated by saying that there’s a difference between “Ah shoot” vs “Ah f—“.  Interesting, even his body language showed a bit of a jolt as I swore.  Makes me wonder (just anecdotally and speculatively) if people who swear a lot tend to have more anger/rage than those who tend not to swear much because of the emotional charges those words carry.

Fact is, while “sticks and stones may break my bones” words can cause psychological scarring.

Advertisements