Marriage researcher John Gottman says that relationships are in trouble when there are fewer than 5 uplifting statements for every 1 critical statement. He also found that criticism and contempt are two of four phenomenon that successfully predict divorce.
But wanna know what makes Gottman’s relationship no-no’s become relationship inevitables?
Head Grumbling (urban dictionary def., that I completely made up): The act of complaining, criticizing, diminishing, pointing out errors, and disparaging another person in one’s head. Often occurs as a repeated “loop” that eventually turns into a self-righteous rage. Does not resolve a damn thing.
Synonyms (that I completely made up): “mental martyrdom,” “surfing-superiority,” “feeding the fear,” and “telling yourself that the other person’s behavior is catastrophic AND personal…over and over . And over. And over.
So. While I love Gottman, implementing his research requires another important element of relationship health, which is mindfully observing and releasing head-grumbling.
Watch this video for more instruction on how to “observe and release” an unhelpful thought that keeps bombarding your brain.
Sincerely, the therapist who says that if you really think your spouse is being a dick to hurt you (it IS personal) or is compromising your safety/health (it IS catestrophic), couples therapy (or individual therapy to sort out a strategy/accept unchangeable stuff and also manage potential anxiety) may help, but head grumbling NEVER helps.