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The Four Horsemen of Relationship Apocalypse

In his research Dr. John Gottman identified the following relationship-destroying communication patterns.

To reverse or correct these patterns, see the Antidotes to The Four Relationship Horsemen.


1. Criticism

Attacking another’s personality or character.

The antidote is a Soft Start-Up.

2. Contempt

An attitude of overall superiority to another; a lack or regard or respect for another.

The antidote is to Foster a Culture of Appreciation.

3. Defensiveness

Making yourself into a victim in order to prevent an anticipated attack, and to reverse the blame.

The antidote is to Accept Responsibility.

4. Stonewalling

A refusal to engage with another, implying disapproval, and creating distance and separation from another.

The antidote is Self-Soothing.


Next: Antidotes to The Four Relationship Horsemen