The last horseman is stonewalling, and couples who regularly engage in this behavior are more likely to get divorced. Four of them stood out as being the most destructive and biggest predictors of divorce and separation. The four horsemen are counterproductive behaviors that negatively affect a relationship, and although all relationships participate in these behaviors at times, it is the persistent engagement in these behaviors that mark a difficult relationship in need of some TLC. Becoming defensive is an easy behavior to engage in when in conflict. When you stonewall regularly, you are pulling yourself out of the relationship, instead of attempting to work on it. Try to be aware of your behaviors and understand what it is that you are really upset about and target that rather than using passive-aggressive ways to tell your partner how you feel.
Conflict is typically healthy within a relationship as it can be productive in getting your needs met by your partner. Criticism is the first horseman because it is the first behavior that is typically used in couples in conflict. When you or your partner cannot engage in conflict in a healthy manner and use the four horsemen consistently, it is time to seek help in establishing healthy communication tools. These four indicators, also known as the four horsemen, are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. Couples have to realize that these types of put downs will destroy the fondness and admiration between them. John Gottman, renowned relationship expert, discovered four markers of relationship failure with 93 percent accuracy in predicting divorce. Our clientele is diverse and includes married, cohabiting, straight and gay couples as well as individuals. Men tend to stonewall because they become overwhelmed. Of all the horsemen, contempt is the most serious. Simply put, stonewalling is when you become nonresponsive. It can be a vicious circle with one person demanding to talk and the other looking for escape. They are Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. This can sometimes be hard to do, but it pays off! The four horsemen are counterproductive behaviors that negatively affect a relationship, and although all relationships participate in these behaviors at times, it is the persistent engagement in these behaviors that mark a difficult relationship in need of some TLC. The second horseman is defensiveness. Mocking your partner, calling them names, rolling your eyes and sneering in disgust are all examples of contempt. Website design by Therapy-Web-Presence. Contempt is any statement or nonverbal behavior that puts yourself on a higher ground than your partner. The third horseman is contempt. It is not conflict itself that indicates a spoiled relationship. The fact is, couples are better at repairing their negative arguments when they basically feel close and connected, and are good friends. Can it be done? The problem with defensiveness is that once you engage in it, you naturally tune out what your partner is trying to say to you and begin making excuses, blaming your partner, and not taking responsibility for your part in the conflict. Everything seems terrific, and that initial excitement can last for weeks, months, or even years. This is a dangerous pattern to get into because neither person feels heard and both may begin to feel bad about themselves in the presence of the other. Gottman dubbed these, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
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