Four Negative Patterns That Predict Divorce (Part 1) | Dr. John Gottman


ANDERSON COOPER: You say that there are
four negative patterns that can predict divorce. And I think this is really critical
for folks to watch. We’re going to show some
video tapes of couples that Dr. Gottman and his associates
have interviewed. Now we’re going to look at
the specific things they do in fights. Frankly,
I think a lot of people do it I think a lot of people
in the audience are going to notice things
that maybe they do a lot of you at home
are going to notice things. The first one is criticism take a look at this example. PARTNER #1: That’s your way
of dealing with everything. You don’t do it. You don’t want to do it,
you don’t do it. It’s like doing your chores. What are you doing to make
the chore thing change you know? Like you want that to run differently
where they do more chores What kind of planning and time have you spent fixing it? Or do you just keep telling me
you want it to run differently? COOPER:
Alright, so criticism. Anyone in the audience use criticism
in an argument? Yeah, over here. Only one person being honest over here. [audience laughs] Everyone else is lying. AUDIENCE MEMBER #1:
That’s right I want to tell the whole world
that I’m critical. COOPER: So in looking at that,
you notice something you do as well? MEMBER #1:
It looked like me. COOPER:
It looked like you. MEMBER #1:
Yeah. And I wanted some tips to you know fight fear and be nice and I think you helped when
you said it’s the same um what did you say with your wife? it was the same complaint but you just DR. JOHN GOTTMAN:
I just said it in a way
she could hear it. MEMBER #1:
Exactly. COOPER: And why is criticism so dangerous
to a relationship? GOTTMAN: Well it’s really a way
of fueling the attack so you state your complaint
as an attack on the other person and what you’re going to get back is,
“You’re not so perfect either.” or an innocent victim kind of response. And so it’s just not constructive. It winds up just, you know,
leading to an escalation of the conflict. Because you’re really saying, “You know, as far as I can tell,
I’m pretty close to perfect.” “But you are defective.” [audience laughs] And the answer you’re going to get is,
“You’re not so perfect.” COOPER:
Sounds familiar? MEMBER #1:
Yes. COOPER: Alright, well I hope that helped. You say another divorce predictor
is contempt. I find this one really fascinating. Let’s take a look at this tape. PARTNER #2: Yeah but most of the time,
I already know what you’re going to say. [mocking]
“Oh it’ll be alright.” “We’ll get through it.” “We’ll make it and it’ll be okay.” “I love you.” “I’m right behind you.” COOPER:
Alright. So that guy wouldn’t even get up by the way he was so contemptuous he was just laying back so why is that so toxic? GOTTMAN:
Well, he’s mocking her, right? So he’s acting superior to her and not only is contempt
our best predictor of divorce in gay and lesbian relationships
as well as heterosexual ones because it’s really
this air of superiority it’s sulfuric acid for love. If you don’t have respect
in a relationship… COOPER:
Sulfuric acid for love. I like that. GOTTMAN:
It really is. I mean, you need respect
in a relationship and contempt is disrespect. And it’s also a predictor of how many infectious illnesses his wife is going to have
in the next four years. It erodes the immune… COOPER:
Wait a minute.
What, really? GOTTMAN:
It erodes the immune system. COOPER:
Contempt erodes the immune system? GOTTMAN:
Absolutely. COOPER:
Wait, you say you use contempt. AUDIENCE MEMBER:
Yes I do. I agree with him fully because my husband’s a geneticist. He’s Australian they don’t like arguments that’s why they have a shed you know the back so they can hide when
there’s an argument so that triggers contempt and I’m constantly having contempt and over the years
I’ve become ill I’ve had an immune system problem. Yeah. COOPER:
It’s amazing to me that something like contempt
can have physical repercussions. GOTTMAN:
At Ohio State University Jan Kiecolt-Glaser and Ron Glaser have documented how T lymphocytes don’t proliferate as much natural killer cells which are cytotoxic against tumors are not as effective in a relationship that has
contempt and criticism in it.

Michael Martin

2 Responses

  1. From the example shown, criticisms sound like they're often stated in absolutes. No room allowed for change or compromise.

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