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Four Negative Patterns That Predict Divorce [Full version]

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Published on Apr 18, 2012

Dr. John Gottman on Anderson Cooper Show (Full version)

Published online on 04.18.2012

Do you fight fair or are your fights going to destroy your relationship?


World-renowned researcher on marriage and relationships, Dr. John Gottman, says there are four negative patterns that often sound familiar to fighting couples.




Gottman tells Anderson that these four elements predict divorce, and called it "the four horsemen of the apocalypse."

1. Criticism: Gottman says criticism is "really a way of fueling the attack, so you state your complaint as an attack on the other person." He noted, "It's not constructive, it winds up leading to an escalation of the conflict."

2. Contempt: "Not only is contempt the best predictor of divorce, because it's really this air of superiority. You need respect in a relationship."

3. Defensiveness: Gottman explains people need to take responsibility for the problem, and can say to the other person, "What's your point? I mean, it makes some sense what you're saying. Tell me more.'" Dr. Gottman points out that defensiveness gets in the way of two people working as a team to figure out a solution.

4. Stonewalling is also known as the silent treatment. Gottman says, "The stonewaller is really trying to calm down and not make it worse, but when you're faced with somebody who's silent like that, you escalate. So, it's a very disruptive pattern."

What's the main thing you argue about with your significant other? Dr. Gottman says the number one thing couples fight about is... nothing at all! Take a look...

According to Gottman, there are three things you should never say in a fight with a significant other. Are you guilty?

Have you said one of these three things when in a fight?

1) You never...

2) You always...

3) Anything insulting, or acted superior.

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