There are four reactions that John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington and founder of the Gottman Institute, has identified as a sign that something is not working well in a married couple.
In fact, when Gottman, the University of California at Berkeley and psychologist Robert Levenson grouped the
obstructionism, disparagement, criticism and defensive attitude and depending on how often they occurred in the span of a 15-minute conversation, they discovered that they could predict what marriages would end in divorce with surprising precision.
When psychologists added questions about things like relationship satisfaction or how many times research subjects had thoughts about separation, they were able to predict
which would end in divorce in 93% of cases . The figure, which comes from a study of 14 years in 79 couples in the Midwest in the United States (21 of whom divorced during the study period), was so surprising that it made the researchers labeled the four behaviors as "the four horsemen of the Apocalypse."
While the initial study, published in 2002, was small and focused on a specific population, a decade of research on marriage and divorce has lent more support to the idea that divorce is associated with specific negative behaviors.
What are those four behaviors that seem to really break a relationship?
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Contempt, a virulent mixture of anger and disgust, is
much more toxic than frustration or negativity. dad . It implies seeing your partner below you, rather than as an equal.
This behavior, says Gottman, is
"the kiss of death" for a relationship .
Contempt it is so powerful because it means that a person has closed in on himself, forgetting the needs and emotions of his partner.
If you constantly feel more intelligent, better or more sensitive than your partner, not only is he more likely to see your opinions as valid, but, what is more important, you will be less willing to try to put yourself on your skin to see the situation from your point of view.
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Like contempt, criticism consists in converting a behavior into an affirmation about his person (the type of person he or she is).
Over time, these personal detractions can add up,
feeding darker feelings of resentment and contempt . 3- Defensive attitude
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If you get used to
making you the victim in difficult situations with your partner you may be guilty of being on the defensive.
Taking responsibility for your role in a difficult situation can be uncomfortable, but often avoids a more serious situation.  4 – Obstructionism
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Normally you know when a discussion is about to begin. You can feel the increase in heart rate and the voice that starts to get a little louder. But
at the moment when things start to go up, do you ignore your partner?
Blocking a conversation can be as toxic to a relationship as contempt, which prevents you from facing an underlying problem.
Discussions are bad times, but these situations cause temporary annoyances that often prevent one's behavior and solve potentially harmful problems.
It is important to keep in mind that sometimes these behaviors are completely normal . It is when these
negative behaviors occur very frequently when they may be cause for concern.
acknowledgment that you are doing something that could be damaging your relationship is the first step to actively fight against it. If you can find a way to avoid behavior or replace it with a more positive one, the relationship is likely to be even stronger. Do you think you suffer from these behaviors in your partner? Tell us in the comments!
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