Sunday, May 24, 2015

3 Ways to Heal your Relationship from Criticism

John and Julie Gottman: Four Risk Factors
American researchers, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, have studied why some relationships are successful and why others are not. They monitored, interviewed and studied hundreds of couples for twenty years. By now, they are experts on the field: they can judge within five minutes, with about 90 percent accuracy, whether a couple will stay together or break up.

They have found four communication techniques that may lead to a breakup: criticism, contempt, defensive behavior and stonewalling.

According to John and Julie Gottman, it is acceptable if you complain about a particular issue to your partner. Constant criticism is different. It is about your partner’s character. It means that deep down you are dissatisfied with your partner. You do not like the person who they are. Why do you want a relationship with someone whom you dislike? If you are a criticizer, you always focus on the things you do not like about your partner. You think you are superior, you know better. You feel that you have the right to nag at your partner. He becomes defensive. Soon the two of you will have hostile feelings for each other. It has a negative effect on the relationship.

Moreover, constant criticism may lead to contempt. John and Julie Gottman say this is the worst of the four factors: once contempt appears in your relationship, you have little or no chance to stay with your partner for a long time. Your partner will sense that you have no respect and love for him. Instinct will tell him that you cannot understand him. As a result, he will not trust you. He will feel insecure and upset.

Stan Tatkin: Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy
Stan Tatkin, a clinical expert who did extensive research on relationships, has come up with a new method, psychobiological approach to couples therapy. According to him, you can fine-tune your brain to love or war, according to the signals you send to your brain. However, human brain is closer to war than love. Your mind is supposed to help you survive as an individual. You should make conscious efforts to change your mindset. According to Stan Tatkin, you should create a happy, safe atmosphere. Let your partner know that he can trust you when life gets rough. You should trust him and let him know. When you and your partner are together, both of you should feel secure and satisfied. When you despise your partner or criticize him, you hurt this atmosphere.

Sue Johnson: Emotionally Focused Therapy
Sue Johnson, a relationship therapist, has implemented another method, emotionally focused therapy. EFT can break the vicious cycle of criticism and defensive behavior. You should find the underlying reason behind the hurtful comments. Make sure that you are nice and understanding with your partner so that he dares to talk about his feelings.

For example, a man may criticize you because he thinks you ignore him. He wants to signal you that he wants more of you, this is why he is critical. Probably he could see the same behavior from his parents when he was a child. Once you understand this, you will be less defensive, you will be able to deal with his remarks, you will know how to react.