The Four Horsemen of Poor Relationships

The "four horsemen" that cause poor relationships at home should also be watched closely in your business relationships. Here are the ones to watch out for:

I recently read a great article that talked about the four behaviors most responsible for killing relationships at home. The article quoted John Gottman, author of “The Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work.” And Gottman was quoted in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink.” I like the way this guy thinks and writes.

In the article, Gottman points to the following behaviors:

  1. Criticism (as opposed to complaints). Criticism attacks the person. Complaints attack the behavior. One is personal, one is not.
  2. Contempt. Name calling. Eye rolling. Sighing. Dismissive laughter. These are toxic, because they communicate more than “I don’t agree.” These also convey disgust.
  3. Defensiveness. Being defensive is about deflecting blame onto someone or something else. It shows an unwillingness to take responsibility. It escalates conflict, by not allowing resolution to happen.
  4. Stonewalling. Tuning out. Disengaging. Not listening. These behaviors are about removing oneself emotionally, and are highly toxic.

I love reading articles like this, because I think relationships are a non-stop effort to stay connected, to respect, to nurture. The battle is never over. Relationships need constant maintenance.

And my point today is to ask you to look closely at the list above. And then think not only about the relationships in your personal life. Think also about the relationships in your professional life.

Because those need just as much effort and nurturing as the ones at home.

Have a great day.

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3 responses to “The Four Horsemen of Poor Relationships”

  1. Holly says:

    I agree with this article. There is one thing that flies against what I am currently working on and that is #4. We have a teenager at home and have been told by experts and agree that when the teen gets upset that we should ignore it and disengage. I would also say this can be OK with a couple. If you find you are getting too upset.

  2. Helen Lennie says:

    My name is Helen Lennie MED CCC

    I am a registered counselling with a thriving buis of my own

    Are you ever looking for a facilitator ..I would be very interested

    I also am a certified teach for the last 30 years…

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.