Eye-rolling as contempt

I was recently listening to couples expert, John Gottman talk about the four fatal behaviors that, if all are present, can predict divorce. He calls these the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The negative behaviors are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling (silence and/or avoidance), and contempt.

What is contempt? It is total disregard for the other, disdain, scorn, a feeling that the person or thing is beneath them and undeserving of consideration.It is disconnecting and destructive.

I observed a quiet argument the other day, between a married couple. At the end of it, he folded his arms and turned away, and rolled his eyes. What was he communicating? He was saying that he was detaching, that he no longer was in the game, that she was ridiculous and not worth further attention. Eye rolling is contemptible, it is disconnecting, arrogant, and uncreative. If you are in a relationship that you care about and would even like to deepen, do not roll your eyes. Period. Instead, find words to express your disgust, confusion, disregard, shock, horror, or what ever negative feeling you are experiencing. Words can open the door to help you through the process of honestly and carefully communicating your feelings and thoughts, Eye rolling slams the door.

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