Recognizing unhealthy discussion patterns in your relationship is the first step to getting rid of them and replacing them with healthier ones.
Countless marriages end because of simple behaviors of contempt and disregard, not infidelity as we think. A study published on the American Psychological Association (APA) website found that the leading causes of divorce were infidelity by 21.6%, and incompatibility with 19.2%. for the majority of spouses divorce, 52%, was caused by inability to discuss with the other party, and verbal abuse.
Most fire from miniature sparks
Warren D. Tenhouten, professor of sociology at the University of California, has observed that when frustration and anger combine, it creates a damaging psychological complex in the relationship, which is disgust or contempt and manifests itself through sarcastic body language, derogatory expressions. , and the contemptuous eyes of the other.
Warren’s research linked contempt to a high degree of failure in romantic relationships and turned it into a semi-permanent state of suppressing negative feelings and avoiding discussion about them until they reappear mixed with anger and a negative outlook on the other, leaving a condition. of coldness mixed with contempt.
Warren’s interpretation of enmity, despite years of love, came about 20 years after the study of clinical psychologist John Gottman, who considered – at the end of the last century – contempt a fatal stage in marital relations.
Gottman studied the behaviors and developments of more than 3,000 recent marital relationships over a period of up to 20 years. , and tries to monitor their behavior when trying to resolve it.
Gottman identified 4 behaviors he considered the “divorce vanguard” based on the data he collected: criticism, contempt, defense, and avoidance. They are heading towards a satisfying long term relationship or not.
Are you going through the pre-divorce stages?
The passage of any relationship in the pre-divorce stages may not imply the necessity of separation, as some try to save their relationship, and some continue, but its continuation does not mean its power.
Criticizing a person generally differs from complaining about his behavior. Criticism is a general attack and a breakdown of the essence of his being and questioning your mutual trust, e.g. describe you as selfish and negligent and not think about how your behavior will affect others. if you are late in preparing lunch, for example, while it is better to ask you for your need.for help.
Criticism is often accompanied by phrases such as “you always”, “you lie to them”, “I knew you were going to say this” and “this was your habit”, creating feelings of rejection and insignificance in the victim.
Reaching this stage means that your relationship will lose the value of respect, so one of you starts mocking the other, calling him his bad qualities, imitating his body language and the way he talks about insulting him and giving him hostile glances. . Contempt goes beyond the stage of criticism because while your husband attacks your personality by criticizing him, with your contempt he assumes his moral, intellectual or emotional superiority over you and shows your inherent inability to correct mistakes because you “do not understand” . and “do not feel.”
This may be one of your ways of arousing sympathy and compassion, but it is nonetheless the behavior that is most destructive to your relationship.
It is the other party’s response to express its emotions hurt by the criticism, in the form of “it’s not me, you’s responsible”, underestimating the first party’s concerns and refusing to take responsibility for the mistakes while it is. it is better for both parties to avoid escalation and take responsibility for any part, large or small, because recognizing the fact that we play a role in the relationship makes it easier to share the burden.
This stage can be observed in the efforts of one of the parties to abandon his role in the relationship, this can be directly saying “I do not care”, or indirectly disconnecting psychologically or physically from what is happening at home.
How do you keep your marriage on the doorstep?
In her 2020 study, Lauren Stiegler, a professor of family psychiatry at the University of East Carolina, presented the results of her study on spousal miscommunication, in which women were the initiators of open discussion of unspoken issues, while men were the main drivers of the report to the stages of contempt and avoidance.
We know it is the guilty person who should avoid his mistakes, but a relationship is a two-way street that you both have to walk together.
- Identify the needs of your relationship and be aware of your spouse’s needs. Healthy communication at a deeper level means more than just asking, “How was your day?” It means communicating in a way that meets your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. supporting each other and trying to devalue negative mental images of yourself.
- Create an atmosphere that encourages you both to talk honestly about your feelings and identify your common goal, remembering those moments when you went through difficult times but managed to get through them. This will create a sense of solidarity, reminding you that you are teammates, that you are on the same journey together and that you have the same goals.
- Although there are some truths in showing love through action, we must not forget that no one can read our minds and no matter how close he is to us, your husband will not know if you appreciate his help in shopping for you, or you. Think about his delayed movement. Years of home buying, so understand the value of being grateful to each other for the little things you do.
- Warren de Tenhouten found that most unhappy couples grew up in emotionally poor families and were not accustomed to expressing their anger and resentment, general or exaggerated.
- If the conflict in your relationship has exhausted you, so you can no longer discuss things rationally, Dr. Judy Rosenberg, founder of the Center for Psychological Healing in California, advises you to stop and agree with your husband to take a break to avoid an outbreak and use that time to build healing skills, take care of yourself, and liberate anger at activities such as: cooking, painting, jogging, traveling or whatever you prefer.