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Four ways you may be killing your relationship

Are you stuck in the same cycle of negativity? Here are four reasons why this may be happening.

Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling

Renowned couples therapist and researcher John Gottman suggests these are the four communication styles that can lead to the end of a relationship.

Criticism is often present when we start a sentence with ‘You’-

‘You never think about anyone but yourself’

Contempt is when we show a lack of respect to the other or attack their character or mock them.

‘You’re so needy’

Defensiveness often comes up when we feel criticised and allows us not to take responsibility

‘You know how busy I am at the moment!’

Stonewalling can show up by ignoring the person trying to communicate with you.

‘I think you need to calm down, you’re always overreacting’

Imago relationship therapy aims to help you move away from these communication styles and begin to create a safe environment to really understand each other. Behind all the above communication styles is the pain of feeling disconnected from your partner.

Couples therapy is about doing things differently, this involves avoiding criticism and defensiveness by instead asking for what you need and taking responsibility. It is also about allowing a space for you to be heard and understood by your partner. In couples therapy I use the Imago dialogue to help couples move away from the cycle of negativity, towards bringing back connection and joy.


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