Are you Guilty of these Common Relationship Mistakes?

“The problem is, you just don’t LISTEN!” 

They’re pointing their finger at you – you hate it when they do that. 

What started off as a whispered argument so as not to wake the kids is getting louder.   

You feel your own emotions rise, that rush, that hot flood of adrenaline…

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Or, you’ve just started to see someone you really like. You’re adamant – you’ll do whatever it takes – not to mess it up. 

There have probably been times where you’ve felt as though you and your spouse keep having the same argument, over and over. You wonder, when did the two of you stop being a team? 

Regardless of what stage you’re in in your relationship, the good news is you’re here. Reading this.  Because recognizing and fixing the following common issues will improve (and can actually save) your relationship. 

The Gottman Institute has pinpointed four behaviors (the Four Horsemen, named after the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) which indicate your relationship may be in trouble. Luckily, each comes with an antidote; an altogether better and less harmful way of communicating. 

Keep reading to see how they manifest, and if any are present in your relationship. If so, we’ve also included tips on what to do instead.

They are:

1. Criticism:

Criticism is an attack on a person’s character, insinuating they are faulty in some way.

The antidote: move away from verbally attacking your partner, and instead use “I” statements to express your feelings and needs.

2. Contempt:

There are different ways of displaying contempt. One way is by being mean, such as mocking someone, making fun of them, doing what you can to hurt them and make them feel inferior. 

The antidote: keep the reasons why you fell in love with your partner in the first place at the forefront. Focus on their positive qualities.

3. Defensiveness:

Defensiveness is usually used to combat criticism. When someone is being defensive, they tend to victimize themselves. It’s a quick way of absolving themselves of any of the responsibility, and the partner voicing the concern is left feeling as though they’re not taken seriously, or their needs don’t matter. 

The antidote: listen to your partner, and when applicable, apologize and accept responsibility. 

4. Stonewalling:

Couple looking away from each other in a fight | common relationship mistakes can be helped in marriage counseling in Fair Oaks, CA

Stonewalling happens when one partner withdraws from the other, or stonewalls. They may feel flooded or emotionally overwhelmed and as a defense, just detach. This can be especially maddening for the other, who is actively trying to communicate something, and may escalate as an attempt to ‘reach’ the person who has stonewalled them. 

The antidote:  let your partner know you need a break so you can calm down and regulate. If you communicate this beforehand, let them know there are times that you are overcome and can’t think clearly, then when the situation arises and you need a moment, your partner will understand you’re not just walking away.

If any of these are present in your relationship, don’t lose hope! It is possible to navigate through conflict with kindness, consideration, and love for one another. 

You can search for Gottman Method therapists in Sacramento to help guide you and your partner through interactions that are destroying your relationship, and help both of you implement new skills. 

At the Relationship Therapy Center, our therapists are experts in teaching both parties the fundamentals of a happy healthy relationship. Contact our office today, and get help and support from a Gottman trained therapist.

Begin Couples Counseling in the Sacramento Area:

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If you are ready to learn how to communicate with your partner, the therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center in Fair Oaks, CA and Roseville, CA can help! Our therapists are ready to support you in your journey towards creating a healthy and happy relationship. To begin  couples counseling in the Sacramento, CA area, please follow these three simple steps:

Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to couples counseling, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.