Contempt is the sulfuric acid of loveJohn Gottman
I love the humorous sarcasm in this video…John gives words to an imaginary conversation that folks can have about the effectiveness of our contemptuous approach to others…it sounds so reasonable and realistic in a person’s head, and so utterly ridiculously funny when he gives it present voice…take a listen.
Contempt…think about it.
The power of contempt to corrupt and destroy a marriage.
- not giving the other the benefit of the doubt
- labelling the other’s character as the problem, rather than their behavior
- believing they want the worst for you…trusting that their behavior is all about making you miserable
I’ve worked with a lot of couples…and often a lot of the work is defusing the relationship to reduce contempt…rather than assuming bad things about the other person, realizing that difficult behaviors come out of pain and distress and insecurity. Having discussion turn into curiosity, desire to understand with constructive efforts to create dialogue where the other feels heard and a gentle persistent request to feel heard oneself…well…getting there tranforms the relationship.
Today’s action: Do a contempt check…on YOURSELF in this relationship. Can you dare to ask your partner if they have experienced your contempt in the last day, or the last week? Can you risk asking your spouse what happens when you approach him/her in a contemptuous spirit?