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Core relationship needs are needs in a relationship, which are not negotiable. It is essential to know what they are because unfulfilled needs can become deal-breakers. If your partner cannot fulfil these core relationship needs, then it is likely that your relationship won’t last or at the very best will be a shadow of what it could be.

The Second Horseman is CONTEMPT
Contempt is the actions that convey the sense to another that they are worthless or beneath our consideration. It shows up when we make statements that come from a position of us being morally superior.

The First Horseman is CRITICISM
It’s important here that when we talk about criticism that we differentiate between a complaint and criticism. A complaint targets behaviour, but criticism is an attack launched at who the person is.

Life as we know it is constantly changing. No longer is work confined to traditional daytime hours. The ability to be in contact constantly with work and the world in general due to the proliferation of phones/mobile computing devices means that there are continuous demands for your attention.

We understand that many people have the following questions when it comes to communicating with their partner.
Why can’t my partner understand where I am coming from?
Why do we disagree on so many things?
Why can’t they see common sense?

The killers lurking in your relationship disguise themselves as something far less dangerous than they actually are. As a result, we often misunderstand their power until it is almost too late.

 

 

The Fourth Horseman is STONEWALLING

Stonewalling occurs when someone completely withdraws from a conflict discussion and no longer responds to their partner. 

It usually happens when you’re feeling inundated or emotionally overwhelmed, so your reaction is to shut down, stop talking, and disengage.

When couples stonewall, they’re under a lot of emotional pressure. This pressure increases heart rates, releases stress hormones into the bloodstream, and can even trigger a fight-or-flight response.

In one of the Gottman Institutes studies, they interrupted couples after 15 minutes of an argument and told them they needed to adjust the equipment. They asked the couples not to talk about their issue, but just to read magazines for half an hour.

When they started talking again, their heart rates were significantly lower, and their interaction was more positive and productive.

During that half-hour, each partner, without even knowing it, physiologically soothed themselves by reading and avoiding discussion. They calmed down, and once they felt calm, they were able to return to the discussion respectfully and rationally.

The remedy to stonewalling is to practise physiological self-soothing, and the first step of self-soothing is to stop the conflicting discussion and call a timeout:

For Example

“Look, we’ve been through this over and over again. I’m tired of reminding you—”

Remedy:“Honey, I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I’m feeling overwhelmed and I need to take a break. Can you give me twenty minutes and then we can talk?”

Failing to take a break will lead to you stonewalling or bottling up your emotions, or you end up exploding at your partner. Either way, it is going pear-shaped.

When you take a break

· Make it for at least 20 minutes. It takes that long before your body calms down.

· Make sure that you make a definite time to come back together to discuss things; otherwise, your partner will believe that you have put a resolution on the “never-never plan”.

· During this time you must avoid thoughts of righteous indignation such as “I don’t have to take this anymore” and innocent victimhood such as “Why is he always picking on me?”.

· Spend your time doing something soothing and distracting, like listening to music, reading, or exercising.

Communication is the backbone of any relationship. As relationship specialists, StartPoint Counselling has helped many couples remove the toxicity in their communication and rebuild their relationships.

Call us now on 07 3458 1725, and we can equip you to change your relationship into one that you will want to be part of.

Couples Counselling

The Third Horseman is DEFENSIVENESS

Defensiveness is a self-protection mechanism which comes out in the form of moral outrage or evoking a sense of victimhood in an attempt to fend off a perceived attack.

People often become defensive when they believe they are being criticized (First Horseman of Toxic Communication). Defensiveness is a way to push the problem away but it never helps to solve the issue at hand.

Defensiveness is a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying that the problem isn’t me, it’s you. At times this blame extends to other people, the family we grew up in or the world in general. however, the problem is not resolved, and the conflict escalates further, which paves the way for other horsemen, such as criticism and contempt, to enter into the argument.

The remedy is to accept responsibility, even if only for part of the conflict.

For Example

“Did you call your parents to let them know that we’re not coming tonight as you promised this morning?”

Defensiveness: “I was just too busy today. You know how busy my schedule is! Why didn’t you just do it?”

Remedy: “Oops, I forgot. I should have asked you this morning to do it because I knew my day would be too busy. Let me call them right now.”

By taking responsibility for part of the conflict, “I forgot”, this partner prevents the conflict from escalating by admitting their role in the situation.

Communication is the backbone of any relationship. As relationship specialists, StartPoint Counselling has helped many couples remove the toxicity in their communication and rebuild their relationships.

Call us now on 07 3458 1725, and we can equip you to change your relationship into one that you will want to be part of.