physiological arousal, in a bad way ○ Makes it difficult to pay attention to partner ● The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ○ Criticism ■ Not a complaint (specific) ■ Includes blame and character assassination ○ Contempt ■ Attitude of utter disgust or hatred ■ Sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery ■ We may not mean to do it at times, but it still happens unconsciously ■ The worst ○ Defensiveness ■ Blaming the other partner ■ It’s not me, it’s definitely you ○ Stone-walling ■ When the partner finally tunes out ■ Acts as if they don’t care ■ Avoidance of the relationship itself ● Communication ○ Health effects of conflict/poor communication ■ Increased stress hormones ■ Poorer immune system function ■ Slower wound healing ● Study: People were given blisters in the study ○ Checked on the progress of the wounds through healing ○ Examined conflict communication skills ○ People with less negative communication skills healed 1-2 days faster ○ What’s the correct way to argue? ■ Specify and own your feelings ● “I” statements ○ Video in class: Oscar as the appropriate way to argue, Angela as the inappropriate way to argue ○ Don’t accuse or blame ■ Be careful with behavioral description ● Avoid the use of words like “always” and “never” ○ Blames other ○ Will cause them to become defensive ■ “I wasn’t late last Tuesday. But you were.” ■ Specify a particular event, but not 10 ● This would be “flooding” according to Gottman, and they could become overwhelmed
■ Be direct - your partner can’t read your mind ■ Let things go ● Constantly pointing out flaws is bad for your relationship ● Also.. if you feel that bad.. End the relationship ■ Use active listening ● “It sounds like you’re saying…” ● Paraphrasing what they are saying ○ Perception checking ■ Gives them an opportunity to understand what you’re saying and gives them time to formulate a response ● Validating ■ Avoid excuses, but use explanations ● But not for everything ● Sometimes you have to admit that you just messed up ● Acknowledge the legitimacy of other’s opinions and communicate respect for their position ● The Dark Side of Relationships ○ Jealousy ■ Hurt + Anger + Fear = Jealousy ● Facing the potential loss of a valued relationship to a real or imagined rival ○ Not restricted to romantic partners ■ Another common context: Siblings, friends ■ Universal - all ages and all cultures ● Society’s beliefs about jealousy shift over time and vary between cultures ■ In some limited amounts, jealousy can be helpful ● Tells you to pay more attention to your relationship because your relationship is obviously important to you ● In other cases, jealousy is no bueno ■ Square-Cap Scenarios ● People are different in their security of their relationships and this influences their ideas of jealousy/cheating ● Different definitions makes it hard to gather data
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- Spring '08