31. Four Destructive Relationship Habits

How can I identify - and address - the behaviors that are harming my relationships?

Brooke Rasmussen, a fellow Gottman Educator, and mother of 7 is on the podcast this week to talk about the Four Horsemen, the four most common attitudes and behaviors that harm relationships.

Listen to this episode to learn what 40+ years of relationship research has to say about what hurts our relationships the most and what the antidote to each of the Four Horsemen is.

These horsemen show up even in healthy relationships, but when you’re struggling the Four Horsemen seem to take over:

  1. Criticism – when a complaint becomes a personal attack on your partner
  2. Contempt – when you take a position of moral superiority over your partner
  3. Defensiveness – using excuses, a victim position, or reversing blame to get your partner to back off
  4. Stonewalling – avoiding your partner by tuning out, turning away, or acting busy

The good news is there is an effective antidote to each bad habit:

  1. Replace criticism with a soft startup – talking about your feelings using “I” statements and expressing a positive need.
  2. Replace contempt with gratitude – remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities and find gratitude for positive actions.
  3. Replace defensiveness with taking responsibility – accept your partner’s perspective and offer an apology for any wrongdoing.
  4. Replace stonewalling with self-soothing – take a healthy break and spend that time soothing your emotions.

Connect with Brooke Rasmussen:

A Simple, Straightforward, And Surprisingly Effective Guide for Hard Conversations

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