Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, Stonewalling and Their Antidotes

A36W5JEnd the most destructive patterns in your relationships: CRITICISM, DEFENSIVENESS, CONTEMPT, and STONEWALLING. There are antidotes to these very common patterns or interactions that occur in relationships. Researcher and Therapist,  Dr. John Gottman, PhD calls these destructive interactions the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse.  At a recent training in Dallas, TX this last weekend I was able to complete Level 1 of the Gottman Institute’s Bridging the Couple Chasm.  Drs Julie and John Gottman’s approach for couples counseling is a research based program based on 40 years of scientific research. I am summarizing the information on these destructive patterns and their antidotes.


Criticism Ø :  Attacks on Personality or Giving Negative Attributes   →     COMMUNICATE WITH A GENTLE START UP: “I Feel, About What, I Need”

Defensiveness Ø : Self-Protection with Righteous Indignation or Playing  Victim    →     TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: Accepting Your Part in the Problem

Contempt Ø : Addresses with Superiority     →     SHOW APPRECIATION and RESPECT: Positive Communication and Admiration

Stonewalling Ø : Emotional Withdraw    →     PRACTICE SELF SOOTHING: Staying Connected Emotionally

Becoming aware of these 4 horseman: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling is the first step. Then trying to replace them with their antidotes is the next step.  Best wishes in your quest to have more healthy communication. It can lead you to a happier, more fulfilled relationship.

You can go into the Gottman’s website to find John and Julie Gottman’s books, cds, cards, etc.

happy couple

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