Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, Stonewalling
“If the purpose of relationship was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me ‘happy,’ then I’d have to get a ‘new’ relationship every two or three years.” – Gary Thomas
In my last blog I wrote about Gottman’s 4 horsemen (Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, Stonewalling). These four items are in order from least destructive to most destructive. Here are some remedies he offers to eliminate these destructive habits in your marriage.
Try practicing these for 3 months and see what happens.
- Learn to make specific complaints & requests (when X happened, I felt/thought Y, I would like Z)
- Conscious communication: Speaking the unarguable truth & listening kindly
- Validate your partner (let your partner know what makes sense to you about what they are saying; let them know you understand what they are feeling, attempt to see through their eyes)
- Shift to appreciation (5 times as much positive feeling & interaction as negative)
- Claim responsibility: “What can I learn from this?” & “What can I do about it?”
- Re-write your inner script (replace thoughts of righteous indignation or innocent victimization with thoughts of appreciation, responsibility that are soothing & validating)
- Practice getting unguarded (allowing your partner’s words to be what they really are: just thoughts and puffs of air) and let go of the stories that you are making up
I can help you with any of the above steps. Give me a call.