There are four major relationship killers out there on the rampage. They come in many disguises, but will reap destruction where ever they go if left unchecked.
1. Personal Criticism
“What is your problem? Can’t you do anything right!?”
Complaints are a natural and normal part of healthy relationships. We should all be able to discuss a specific complaint with a partner and reach some sort of agreement.
The type of criticism that is toxic and deadly to a relationship is when one person attacks the other person’s character instead of the offending behavior.
This type of criticism will only add fuel to the argument because the person being attacked will more than likely attack back.
2. Over Defensiveness
“The problem is not me, but you for always bringing up this issue.”
Defensiveness naturally occurs when a person feels they are being attacked.
It is toxic in a relationship because instead of taking responsibility for the problem the person will tend to try and wards off the perceived attack by blaming the other person.
The person will assume no responsibility for the problem even if they are obviously at fault. They will deflect by blaming the other party.
3. Open Contempt
“Ok genius, if your so perfect how come .” (correcting grammar during an argument in a mocking tone) ~Unknown
This is the worst of the 4 Horseman. It has been referred to as the “sulphuric acid for love.” Contempt in a relationship is the best predictor of a split.
A couple needs respect in the relationship in order for the relationship to thrive. Contempt is disrespectful and deadly for a relationship. The contemptuous person acts superior and may show their contempt by name calling, eye rolling, mocking or hostile humor.
Contempt in a relationship is so destructive it can serve as a predictor of how many infectious illnesses a person will have in the next 4 years. Studies have shown that contempt diminishes the immune system and can cause physical manifestations in the body.
4. Barriers and Stonewalling
Stonewalling is a communicative shutdown. After the criticism, a person may refuse to engage. They are simply tuning out and building an imaginary wall around them during an argument.
They will refuse to participate in the discussion in any way. They will not respond verbally or give any physical cues to acknowledge the argument.
Many times the stonewaller will leave the argument without saying anything. Stonewalling can become a habit and a way to avoid all arguments.
I should add that this post is not meant to diagnose or to be a guide for self-diagnoses. The sole purpose of this article is strictly for educational and insight purposes.