I was reading Brene Brown over the weekend and she glowingly wrote of a research professor I’d heard nothing about, John Mordecai Gottman who is a Professor emeritus in psychology and is known for his pioneering work on marital stability and relationship analysis through scientific direct observations. Apparently the lessons derived from this work represent a partial basis for the relationship counseling movement, which aims to improve relationship functioning and the avoidance of those behaviors shown by Gottman and other researchers to harm human relationships.
So, wanting to gain more insight into his research, I dug around and watched a few video’s including this US screening of an episode from the TV show 20/20, which looks to have been filmed in the 80’s or late 70’s. It’s interesting viewing and a good introduction to Gottman’s work.
The “four horsemen of the apocalypse” refers the four destructive practices that if they become permanent residents will ultimately rip the heart out of a relationship and lead to its end. They are: (1) Criticism; (2) Contempt / Disrespect; (3) Defensiveness / Denying Responsibility / Blame; (4) Stonewalling / Withdrawal / Disengagement.