Dr.John Gottman is known in the psychological community for analyzing relationship data to develop his theory of the four precursors of divorce, that he pithily named the four horses of the divorce apocalypse. These nasties are, criticism, condescension, stonewalling and defensiveness.
Although, all of these behaviors could prove to be highly problematic in a marriage, there does exist one quality, that like a psychological elixir, or bandage, is equally applicable and useful to the amelioration of all of these behaviors. That quality is compassion.
With compassion at the helm, we are more likely to view the other as an equal and less likely to condescend. With compassion steering us, we are more likely to want to forgive infractions and perceived slights, less likely to criticize and take offense. When we practice compassion towards ourselves we are apt to feel stronger emotionally and therefore less likely to overreact in defense or put up walls of resistance. Developing the ability to be more compassionate is often as simple as taking a breath and realizing that everyone has issues.
- Dr. John Gottman called the four precursors of divorce the four horses of the divorce apocalypse.
- The four horses of the divorce apocalypse, according to Gottman, are condescension, criticism, stonewalling and defensiveness.
- When we condescend to those around us, or to our partners, its generally because we need to feel that we are better than they are.
“Many people value compassion, but, may not always be aware or recognize that their actions or behavior are not congruent with compassion.”