Are you looking to address the issues that always re-emerge during times of stress and strife? Are you tired of going in circles with your romantic partner, and never feeling like you're moving forward?
If so, you're not alone. In the interest of maintaining a manageable equilibrium, countless couples set major issues aside. While people might think they're experts at keeping these feelings out of sight, it only takes one minor upset to bring these issues to the surface.
Let Healing For Your Relationship help you and your partner or spouse break the cycle. Let us help you find a path forward that ensures health and happiness for all parties involved. Schedule your consultation by calling (763) 710-7670 today.
The Most Potent Relationship Poison
Contempt is an indicator of a failing relationship. It feels like squirting lemon juice in a fresh cut. And shows lack of respect and a disregard for the person you have promised to cherish above all others.
The country's foremost relationship expert, John Gottman said that there are “4 horsemen of the apocalypse” in marriage. The arrival of any one of these four problems is enough to reliably predict a divorce.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are:
Research has found that couples who are contemptuous of each other are more likely to suffer from infectious illness (colds, the flu, etc.).
Contempt is the most poisonous of all relationship killers. It arises when one or both partners can't express their anger or why they're upset. They bottle their feelings up, letting those negative emotions color their viewpoint and affect all their interactions with their significant other. When there's contempt, it's near-impossible to resolve conflict in a healthy way.
That fact cannot be emphasized enough. Contempt destroys psychological, emotional, and physical health. It affects everything: communication, love, health, and well-being, creating a fount of toxic behavior. Fortunately, though, there are ways to combat contempt.
Trusted Solutions to Overcome Contempt
If contempt has taken its toll on your relationship, Healing For Your Relationship is here to help. As a contempt specialist, we provide real, actionable solutions to help you battle contempt and eliminate it for good. Through time-tested strategies, we help you express your feelings in productive ways that prevent contempt from taking hold. Our expertise has helped countless partners build stronger bonds and lasting relationships. We're confident it can help you, too.
As a client of ours, you can expect:
- Personalized solutions
- Compassionate care and counsel
- Thoughtful guidance
- Practical, step-by-step advice
- A therapist committed to your success
Couples Therapy Tailored to You
Every relationship is different. That's why we strive to tailor our sessions to each couple's needs, wants, and precise specifications. We work closely with each client to deliver a personalized service that puts their needs first.
We take the time to get to know you—both in and out of the relationship—so we can help you discover your strengths, build your confidence, and become a more communicative partner. We want to help you work through all the challenges your relationship is facing. That way, you and your loved one will be ready for anything.
Build a Loving, Trusting Relationship
Contempt can ruin a relationship. The good news—you don't have to let it. Healing For Your Relationship's trusted counseling sessions empower couples to overcome feelings of contempt, resentment, and other negative emotions to build a better life together. Our integrative approach draws on a range of disciplines and experiences to give you the comprehensive guidance you need to feel happier, healthier, and more in love.
With our services, you can:
- Improve communication
- Develop self-awareness in fights
- Learn how to resolve conflict
- Gain self-confidence
- Build trust in your relationship
- Defeat contempt once and for all
Communication: The Key to Healthy Unions
Communication is key to a long-lasting and healthy relationship. To communicate on a deep level means doing more than simply asking one another how your day has gone. To practice healthy communication is to connect with your partner in a way that fulfills their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Without a capacity for communication, one romantic partner might leave the other person feeling completely alone in the relationship.
Identifying Your Communication Styles
In order to improve the level of communication in a relationship, you and your spouse first need to identify your primary communication styles and needs.
Every person has different needs in a relationship. Some benefit from head-on discussions about tough issues, while others require space and time to think about their feelings before they express them. In our sessions, you will learn the best path forward.
Contempt As a Weapon
In any conflict, there are sides to be chosen and weapons to be used. The real question to consider is, are you on the same team as your spouse – or are you on opposite sides of the conflict?
When any conflict presents itself in your marriage, you should work together as a team. It should be both of you vs. the conflict – not you vs. me.
Let's see what that looks like with a real example.
Tim and Lisa have been married for 15 years, they have 3 beautiful children, a wonderful home and appear to have the perfect American Dream of a life. But behind the scenes, there is a force slowly chipping away at the foundation of their marriage.
Let's visit a typical night in their house…
“Oh good, you're home… I've been home dealing with the kids all day and I need some help.”
“I'd be glad to help you with your job, just let me put my briefcase down and maybe take my jacket off first.”
“Well, if you'd like some dinner you'll need to parent your children long enough for me to cook for you.”
“I don't know why you have such a problem, my mom always managed to have dinner on the table when my father got home from work.”
Obviously, both Tim and Lisa are stressed and frazzled and instead of coming together, they are taking it out on each other.
Contempt is essentially one person thinking their needs are more important than their partner's or that they are superior to their partner.
Why Contempt is Dangerous
Contempt is an attack on your partner's sense of self. Marriage is a partnership between two individuals to create a life together. If there is contempt present, rather than drawing the partners closer, it will cause a rift that sometimes cannot be healed.
Contempt leads to and escalates conflict. It's difficult to resolve any problem when one person is getting the message that they don't matter. Further, if one person is being belittled or led to believe their partner sees them as inferior – what reason do they have to work to reconcile?
It manifests in behavior like sarcasm, eye-rolling, regular interruption, criticism, and regular impatience. The person showing contempt has work to do on their communication… But relationships are a two-way street. There are many behaviors that can make one the target of their partner's contempt. Because contempt often arises when complaints are ignored, it is vital to the health of your relationship to openly listen to your partner's issues, while they remain small.
What Causes Contempt
Contempt is built piece by piece as long-simmering negative thoughts about our partner are not addressed.
Contempt sneaks in when we begin to see our partner as the problem. Going back to our example couple, if Lisa had waited for Tim to transition from “work mode” to “home mode” before asking for help, she might have found a more receptive partner.
It works both ways though, if Lisa felt less stressed and more supported at home she would be more likely to have the time and emotional ability to do nice things for Tim.
Feeling like you are shouldering an unfair burden in the relationship can also cause contempt. Tim might say that he shouldn't have to go to work all day just to come home and be nagged by his wife. Lisa might say that if Tim were more present, she wouldn't have to nag him to help.
It's a cycle. Contempt leads to more contempt, creating a negative feedback loop where those feelings of resentment fester and grow. Both partners begin to prioritize their feelings over the other's, leaving both feeling unheard and unappreciated. The result? More conflict, more tension, and less chance of resolving things fairly.
Healing For Your Relationship can help you overcome those problems and develop positive communication strategies to resolve conflict the right way. Our approach allows both partners to feel heard and validated, ensuring they can express themselves without fear of judgment.
Behaviors That Build Contempt
When people think of the problems that can lead to a relationship's demise, they often think of the large, catastrophic incidents we see in films, like infidelity or other duplicitous actions. While countless marriages end due to cheating spouses and double-lives, many relationships dissolve due to small behavioral matters.
There are seven behaviors that are indicators of building contempt.
- Ignoring Your Partner – This will make them feel unimportant and like you do not care about your partner. (This includes scrolling your phone while they are talking.
- Body Language – You may be inadvertently communicating in ways you don't see, but your partner does. For example a shrug or eye roll can stop open communication in its tracks.
- Lack of Intimacy – Finding time for intimacy can be difficult especially after a couple has children. But physical intimacy can act as a shield against contempt.
- Not Showing Appreciation – Over time we begin to take our partner for granted and our partner begins to feel unnoticed, which leads to them giving less to their spouse.
- Becoming Complacent – If you're wanting to keep the flame alive in your relationship, you have to tend the fire. Familiar patterns can breed disinterest or even boredom.
- Ignoring Communication – John Gottman speaks at length about “bids” for attention and the effect of them going ignored. Essentially, if you ignore your partner's efforts to engage with you, they will quit trying.
- Neediness – A partner who is demanding can cause their partner to withdraw and try to distance themselves from the draining nature of their partner. This neediness will lead to contempt.
These behaviors may not always be constant in a relationship to be a problem. Some partners may only become negligent during times of duress, while others may only convey a sense of neediness when they're feeling exceptionally insecure. Over time, however, the conflicts that arise because of these intermittent shifts in behavior can inspire resentment and contempt.
Uncover Resentments and Buried Issues
When resentment festers in a relationship, it always rumbles beneath the surface. It may not present itself in overt ways, but the individual on the receiving end is often aware of it. Unable to identify the source of this resentment may only lead to further insecurities or a sense of hollowness in the relationship.
With professional help courtesy of Jon Newcomb, you can finally address the ambient sense of resentment—and its causes.
Conflict itself is unavoidable. If two individuals have to compromise on everything from the toothpaste they use to whose family they will spend Thanksgiving with, conflict will happen at some point. Having conflict in a relationship is not the problem… the way you handle the conflict is.
Remember to show your partner grace and to make sure their relationship needs are being met. If you're not sure what they need, just listen. Chances are they're already telling you.
Schedule Your Marriage Counseling Session Today
So long as both parties are willing to address their issues, it is never too late to seek counseling. Let a licensed marriage therapist help you address resentments and unresolved conflicts in a non-confrontational and proactive manner.
Healing For Your Relationship has helped countless couples reclaim their lives and overcome feelings of contempt. They've managed to build thriving lives together, gaining the confidence and trust they need to see their relationships succeed. We're confident we can help you do the same.
Schedule your consultation by calling 763) 710-7670 at your convenience.