Hi. This is Michelle from Counseling Recovery.And today I want to talk to you about the four signs of emotional meltdown in relationshipsand what to do instead. So, these are from the Gottman Institute where they did researchwith 677 couples on what predicts divorce. And what was amazing about this is that theyactually predicted divorce with 93 percent accuracy, which is pretty incredible and whyI want to share it with you today. The other thing I’m gonna say, starting off, is thatif you find yourself relating to any four of these characteristics, don’t freak out.It doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed or anything is gonna happen. It’s justa warning sign for you on what to correct
because these predict divorce not when ithappens once or twice, but when it’s a longterm pattern of behavior. Ok? So the first twoare criticism and defensiveness. And they go together. Back and forth, one person startswith a critical comment, the other one reacts. Those are pretty basic and most of us findourselves falling into that on occasion until we learn better skills. The third one, andthis is the one that predicts divorce the most, is when there’s contempt. And that’sa much more intense form of criticism where you’re really implying that your partner isstupid, ugly, not enough. You feel better than. This can be indirect with a look ordirectly with a comment. It can be very abusive.
That’s the part where you really want to lookat because that’s the one that really predicts divorce. Now, the fourth one is stonewalling.And, typically, the research says that men do this more than women, but not always. Andthat’s when, during a conflict, you are shut off. You just say, quot;Eh, I’m done.quot; And youget silent, you leave the room, you no longer participate out of anger. So, that’s whereyour partner feels abandoned, feels like, quot;Well, you’re not even participating in theconflict. Why can’t we work this out?quot; But the partner, for whatever reason, just shutsoff and usually that’s because either lack of skill or stress level is way too highand they can’t continue it and they need more
skills in that area. So, for the antidotes,what you do instead is, with criticism, instead of being critical, ask your partner up front:quot;Hey, can we talk about the money tonight? I really need to talk.quot; And get an agreementup front. Or, if your feelings are hurt, just say that. Use an quot;Iquot; message. Defensiveness,the antidote is find the grain of truth in the feedback you’re given. So, if your partneris giving you some critical feedback, what’s the grain of truth that you could feed backto them and say, quot;Yeah, you’re right. I did do that.quot; You don’t have to agree with allof it. It’s just one part that you could validate for your partner where their feedback is correct.Ok. Now, contempt, that means you’ve really got to look
at your stress level because usually whenthere’s contempt, there’s a lot of underlying resentment and hurt that hasn’t been expressed.So, it leaks out in the contempt. So, the antidote for contempt is tell your partnerhow you’re feeling when it happens. If they hurt your feelings, let them know it up front.Don’t let it build up. Now, for stonewalling, that’s more about managing your stress andgetting the tools so you can do it differently. So, if you know you’re an eight on the scaleof one to ten in terms of stress level, tell them that. Say, quot;You know what, right nowisn’t a good time for me to do conflict. Let’s talk about it tomorrow. I need to calm downfirst.quot; The other part with stonewalling is
you have to be willing to have the conflictand sometimes people need to do that by getting therapy, by learning some skills, or justby doing some breaths and saying quot;Ok, you know what, I’m going to make time. Let’s trythis.quot; Ok, I hope that helps and have a great day. Bye.