Relationship drama due to Gottman’s “Four Horsemen”


Hans, I heard about the four horsemen in relationships… What is that?
Dr. John Gottman’s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are 4 ways of interacting between partners that cause a lot of relationship drama if this happens regularly. They are: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling.
While most relationships will have some of these, healthy relationships don’t use them often and do more to repair them when they were accidentally used.

Relationship conversation

A little bit of info about those “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (of your relationship)” and ways to repair them.

  1. Criticism
    This is when you do a global attack on your partner’s character or personality. Often blaming over-generalizations (“you always are/do …” or “you don’t care”), negative labels (“you are so forgetful/ lazy/ stupid”), illnesses (“are you retarded?”, “are you demented?”).
    Antidote: Learn to complain about actions or behavior, without suggesting that your partner is somehow defective. A complaint only addresses a specific action at which your spouse failed.
  1. Defensiveness
    Blaming the partner and in essence saying: “the problem isn’t me! it is you!”
    Antidote: Accepting responsibility for at least a part of the problem. Learning that a problem of your partner undermines the relationship that carries you in your life, so being responsible to do your part in changing your relationship.
  1. Contempt
    Is where one looks down on the other. This form of superiority usually involves mockery, sarcasm, and cynicism (body language includes eye-rolling or sneering).
    Antidote: Create a culture of praise. Look at the things you are proud of in your partner and find compromises with your spouse in combining their’s and your dreams.
  1. Stonewalling
    Instead of dialoging about the problem, one of you tunes out. B.t.w., this can be a reaction to situations of feeling “emotionally flooded”.
    Antidote: Learn to breathe and self-sooth and or take time outs, providing a short break in order to gather up strength and emotionally stability before again starting up the discussion over the issue at hand.

So, let’s talk (not blame) 🙂


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Published by KinkindeRelatie

A Kink Aware and openminded (relationship) coach. That does not mean you have to talk about kink, but at least here you don't have to be silent about it.

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