Being defensive blocks connection, compassion, and isolates you from your partner. Instead of focusing on we-ness, a defensive person focuses on me-ness. Defensiveness is one of the most dangerous signs of toxic fighting because it creates never-ending cycles of negativity.… Continue reading Here
The pursue-withdraw pattern is an extremely common cause of divorce. If left unresolved, it will continue into a second marriage and subsequent intimate relationships. As Dr. Gottman explains in Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, “This classical marital impasse is all too common—a wife seeking emotional connection from a withdrawn husband.”
How do couples fall into a pursue-withdraw pattern, and why are men usually the ones that withdraw?… Continue reading Here
One of our deepest needs as humans is to feel understood, and true understanding is not possible without empathy. As psychologist Carl Rogers put it, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!”
Understanding your partner requires the capacity to listen. Really listen. Couples are advised to hear each other’s complaints without feeling attacked, and as great as this sounds, it’s often unrealistic.
When something you said (or didn’t say) hurts your partner’s feelings, there’s a strong impulse to interrupt with, “That wasn’t my intention.… Continue reading Here
Mike finds his wife’s “explosion” of anger “unbearable.” When she gets angry, he tries to neutralize or fix her feelings. He often tries to problem solve before understanding why Stacey is upset. This makes Stacey feel dumb for experiencing and expressing her innate feelings.… Continue reading Here