Dr. Gottman is a relationship expert and has been studying marriage and divorce for many many years.
“Dr. Gottman believes that it’s much more important to understand why certain actions increase divorce risk rather than to predict it.
What are the negative behavior patterns that can predict divorce?
Dr. Gottman has named the most corrosive negative behavior patterns, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
Specifically, these “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are:
Criticism: stating one’s complaints as a defect in one’s partner’s personality, i.e., giving the partner negative trait attributions. Example: “You always talk about yourself. You are so selfish.”
Contempt: statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated. Example: “You’re an idiot.”
Defensiveness: self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim-hood. Defensiveness wards off a perceived attack. Example: “It’s not my fault that we’re always late; it’s your fault.”
Stonewalling: emotional withdrawal from interaction. Example: The listener does not give the speaker the usual nonverbal signals that the listener is “tracking” the speaker.
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