In John and Julie Gottman’s book, “10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage” they state that there are a set of particular poisonous interactions called “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” which can cause serious damage to relationships if gone unchecked.
Here are The Four Horsemen as described by them.
- Often criticism appears as a complaint or episode of blaming that’s coupled with a global attack on your partner’s personality or character. Criticism frequently begins with “you always or you never.”
- These are the counterattacks people use to defend their innocence, or avoid taking responsibility for a problem. Defensiveness often takes the form of cross-complaining or whining.
- This is a criticism bolstered by hostility or disgust. Think of somebody rolling their eyes while you’re trying to tell them something important to you. Contempt often involves sarcasm, mocking, name-calling or belligerence.
- This happens when listeners withdraw from conversation, offering no physical or verbal cues that they are affected by what they hear. Interacting with someone who does this is like “talking to a stone wall.”
The Gottmans have identified these as contributing factors in the destruction of relationships. If you see yourself behaving this way and want to learn better strategies, then please give me a call, email or text me and let’s course correct your relationship before it becomes irreparable. There are simple communication skills you can use to have a successful relationship…give yourself the gift of learning them; they will serve you well.
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