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Phases of the Negative Cascade – Contempt

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Staying Together – How to Build a healthy Relationship

If the criticisms within a relationship are not addressed, the interaction between the two partners may lead to contempt.

This stage of the negative cascade is seen when there is an attempt to insult your partner, as in, “You’re just a pig around the house and I don’t know how I could ever have loved you.” Contemptuous remarks go right to the heart of your partner’s sense of self. They are meant to hurt. There are several forms of contempt, such as name-calling, insulting jokes about your partner, mockery, and body language (such as sneering, eye rolling, or curling your upper lip). If a relationship gets to this stage, it is difficult to recapture the love and it may be vulnerable to a breakup.

To make this situation better, both partners need to identify the contempt and to replace it intentionally with words of admiration and respect. They need to work on trying to achieve the ratio of five positives to one negative.

Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT
www.sandiegofamilytherapy.net

San Diego Couples and Family Therapy provides counseling in the convenient area of Sorrento Valley Road.

We also serve the surrounding areas of La Jolla, UTC San Diego,  Del Mar, University City, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway and Escondido.

 

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