The Four Horsemen Of Relationships – February and Valentine’s Day bring thoughts of relationships, whether we have a partner or not. Dr. John Gottman researched relationships long before his long marriage to Dr. Julie Gottman. All relationships have their ups and downs. Dr. Gottman’s research focuses on relationship stability. Based on his research on couple interactions, Dr. Gottman was able to predict with 90-94% accuracy within minutes how fair a couple would be in their relationship. These studies focus on conflict resolution, communication patterns, and friendship. Gottman created
Show where couples struggle in their relationships. The goal is to gain insights into relationship patterns, increase awareness, and change negative behaviors.
The Four Horsemen Of Relationships
Riders no. 1: Criticism – means that there is something wrong with your partner; to blame the use of “you” statements when addressing others in conversation. For example: “You always…” or “You never…”
Applying Gottman’s 4 Detrimental Influences On Marriages To Your Relationship With Yourself
Riders no. 2: Defensiveness – This can increase conflict and backfire. These riders are all about self-preservation, they can use a lot to defend themselves in a situation. Examples include making excuses for one’s actions, diverting the conversation, taking offense. “You do the same…”
Riders no. 3: Contempt – Shows disrespect through a character attack. Sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling. It conveys a high level of happiness with others. The toughest of riders.
Riders no. 4: Stonewalling – This type of withdrawal and isolation comes from overwhelmed feelings. This can lead to tuning out, not responding, not getting feedback, leaving the room or making eye contact. With a high level of withdrawal, conflict avoidance develops.
Antidote #1: Criticism – Start the conversation with “I” statements. It is important to reduce conflict and understand the other person’s point of view. “I feel… describe the situation… I need…” or start with “We…” gather to fight are a few examples.
Drs. John And Julie Gottman’s Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse In Relationships
Antidote #2: Defensiveness – Take responsibility for your side and acknowledge your feelings. This does not mean pointing out the mistakes of others. Understanding one way is not the only way, it can be a perspective. Great examples are using “I” statements or apologizing.
Antidote 3: Contempt – Remember the positive qualities of others, acknowledge them and create positive moments. Use “I” statements, a tone that aims to understand rather than judge. The desire to accept a person and show with a hug, a positive word helps; it is part of the ways of understanding others and meeting their needs.
Antidote no. 4: stones – openness, connection, willingness to engage and share thoughts and feelings. A few examples calm yourself down, take a break to calm down and come back within 24 hours to continue the dialogue and solution.
Now take a moment to think about your relationships…with your partner, your children, your friends, your clients.
Gottman’s 4 Horsemen Can Save Your Relationship From Divorce
What are your models? Are you ready to be aware, commit, and practice these antidotes in your relationships today?
A good source to read and study is Dr. John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Alternatively, you can call today to schedule an appointment or consultation with Katie Sanders, LMFT, LPC, trained by Gottman and passionate about building healthy relationships. Dr. John Gottman has spent 40 years researching marriage stability and theorizing about these “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” but it only took him a few hours to turn them into evil ponies. Although Gottman’s research focuses on couples, I think it applies to many types of relationships—especially the interactions between parents and their teenagers.
Adolescence is inherently uneven and fraught with conflict. Parent-child relationships change rapidly as teenagers vacillate between the joys of independence and the security of dependence. While conflict is natural, it shouldn’t feel toxic—it helps foster conflict in many types of relationships by showing vulnerability and avoiding blame.
Criticism (form of accusation). A partner who engages in conflict based on criticism might say something like, “You always do that!” (Look for words like always and never.)
Four Horsemen Of Toxic Communication
This kind of non-generational conflict can be resolved by talking about your feelings instead of finding them behind you.
Contempt (concealment). Contempt in a relationship can often feel like verbal abuse. Contempt does not allow cooperation or decision-making.
This pattern can be resolved by consciously naming the things you value in your partner and in the relationship.
Stonewalling (another form of concealment) can look like silence. Examples include the “silent treatment,” withdrawing from an argument, or leaving your partner’s texts to “read.” The stone is tuning out, ignoring the other person, and sometimes fear-based closure that occurs when one does not have the emotional resources to engage (see tolerance resource window).
Trust Lessons From The “love Lab”
Image 1: The text reads: “Communication techniques that destroy trust.” Below it is a yellow banner with the text “The 4 Horsemen of Gotman’s Apocalypse”.
Image 2: Drawing of a black cloaked man with an angry expression sitting on a brown horse that also has an angry expression. A bat is drawn in the corner of the image. Next to the drawing is a yellow banner with the inscription “Criticism”. Below the black text is “(also fault).” Below it is a speech bubble with the phrase “You always do this!” At the bottom of the picture is a box that says, “Talk about your feelings.”
Image 3: Drawing of a man in a black cloak with a sad expression sitting on a brown horse that also has a sad expression. A bat is drawn next to it. To the right of the drawing is a yellow banner with the words “Contempt”. Below the black text is “(hide). Below is more text that reads: “Contempt (often verbal abuse) does not allow for unification and resolution.” At the bottom of the image is a box that says, “Intentionally practice name appreciation.”
Figure 4: Drawing of a person in a black hood holding an ax with a flat expression on his face, sitting on a brown horse that also has a flat expression. To the right of the drawing is a yellow banner with the words “Stonewalling”. Below the black text is “(hide). Beneath it is “read” text that says, “Are you crazy?” with a responsive text bubble with “…” inside. Below is more text that says, “Stonewalling is slowing down, ignoring, or sometimes fear-based closure.” At the bottom of the image is a box that says, “Request a break. Make sure. To come back”.
Jay Tuition Center
Figure 5. A drawing of a hooded man in black with a mad expression sitting on a brown horse that also has a mad expression. To the left of the drawing is a yellow banner with the words “Defensiveness”. Underneath the black text is “(malfunction type).” Below that is a speech bubble that says “It’s all your fault! Underneath it is text that reads: “Defense escalates conflict and redirects shared responsibility.” At the bottom of the picture is a box that says, “Be curious about the dynamics you create together.”
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Thanks for making this accessible to those using screen readers. I work with the visually impaired and find it refreshing!Dr. Gottman uses the metaphor to describe communication styles that can predict the end of a relationship. He calls it the “Four Horsemen” (based on the Biblical account of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.) He describes four common communication styles couples use that do not create healthy relationships: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.
Inspired by this idea, I created a version for teenagers who use the same four communication styles and how they play with parents/adults and teens.
The Four Horsemen Of Relationships: Advice From Therapists
Option A: “Have you studied for the Algebra final yet?” I know Ms. Jones mentioned that it is very important that you get a good grade in this exam. Do you need anything to get started?
Option B: “I see you haven’t started studying for the exam yet.” You don’t seem interested in your grade, even though you know it’s important. You never seem to focus on your schoolwork and are only interested in texting your friends.”
Parents can be supportive without being unnecessarily critical. Yes, children should be held accountable, but no, their character should not be insulted, made to feel rejected or hurt.
Contempt includes sarcasm, mocking, mocking, name-calling, eye-rolling, or otherwise insulting or mean behavior. Even when teenagers lash out, adults should never react that way.
Horsemen Of The Apocalypse
Young man: “Why didn’t you write my teacher an email like I asked you to?” He said I can’t take the test because he’s never heard of you!
Parents (Option A): I’m sorry, but I was busy today, and you asked me last night, and I had too many things to do. You have to ask me these things before. I have a lot to keep track of! I need
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