During my work as a trained Gottman therapist, I assist couples to make them aware of the 4 Horsemen…. If you are wondering “What are the 4 Horsemen?” well, I’ll tell you that according to Dr John Gottman and his findings from his extensive research of 40 years+, he found that there are 4 strong indicators of a relationship breakdown/divorce and he called them ‘The 4 horsemen of the relationship apocalypse’.
These are: Criticism – Defensiveness – Contempt – Stonewalling
Dr John Gottman also found through his research that there were two types of couples: The Disasters and The Masters of Relationship. The Masters rarely used the 4 horsemen in their communication. Instead, they were able to speak more gently to their partners, take responsibility for their part in the conflict, talk about how they felt and self soothe if they became overwhelmed.
Fortunately, Gottman also identified these as the Antidotes to the Four Horsemen:
Antidote for Criticism: Using a Gentle Start-Up
Antidote for Defensiveness: Taking Responsibility
Antidote for Contempt: Describing Your Own Feelings and Needs
Antidote for Stonewalling: Doing Physiological Self Soothing
It takes practice and enough compromise from couples to become Masters of their Relationship by acknowledging the 4 Horsemen and start applying the antidotes accordingly but it can be very rewarding in the long term!
I invite you to become more aware of these 4 Horsemen in your communication with your partner and make your best to avoid them. .Remember, nobody is perfect and if you find the presence of the 4 Horsemen in your relationship make sure you apply the antidotes (now that you got them!) to improve your communication with your Significant Other.