In relationship counselling, either on your own or with your partner, I try to educate clients on the communication skills that are especially destructive to their relationship. As research shows most couples wait around 7 years before seeking help, it makes sense to learn about these sooner rather than later.
This is when we verbally attack someone’s personality or character. This is a deeply personal, and hurtful attack. When we are angry, we can get caught up in making sweeping accusations about our partner’s character, or personality, ie. “You never consider me, you are selfish.”
Contempt is particularly dangerous, and according to research, the single biggest predictor of relationship breakdown. Ouch. So, avoid eye rolling, ridiculing, name calling and sarcasm. Think of this behaviour as the death knell of any relationship.
This is really a way of blaming the other person. You’ll know when you are defensive, as it usually means you feel threatened, so to escape this, you put it back on to the other party. It can get very circular, not to mention draining and confusing.
This is when one person shuts down and closes himself/herself off from the other partner. They are emotionally unavailable. This one is especially prevalent in the smartphone dominated culture we live in today. Unfortunately, the impact on the other party is devastating and isolating.
Where do you fall?
Do you recognise yourself in any of these? Good, as you have just taken the first step to remedying the situation. Now you need to learn some new, positive interactions to counteract them.
Contact me to find out more – and remember these can apply with children and work colleagues too!
Please note: The information in this blog article is based directly on research by US relationships guru John Gottman, who has studied couples intensively for the past few decades. He was able to predict divorce accurately (at around 94%) by watching the way in which couples interacted, by measuring their physiological arousal and after observing them for only a few minutes.