This course is for partners in relationship who have communication issues. More specifically, it is focused on husbands who lack empathy in their communication- although sometimes it is the wives who lack empathy also. This course is not just theoretical – it is also designed to teach specific empathy-building skills in 15 lessons which can be learned digitally from any internet-connected device. Most of the lessons focus on the empathy-challenged spouse, but some of them teach their partners what to do to encourage more empathy in their relationship and what to do to prevent backsliding after the new skills are learned.
Making progress in improving your life or your relationships requires not only increased understanding of yourself but also he building of new skills. Skill building occurs between sessions.
Periodically I will add new skill building material here, you rprivate skill building page. Simply download the free material and try it out.
For now, it is free, but will require a subscription fee starting January 1, 2020.
Arthur Brooks asked an expert marriage counselor what emotion is correlated with divorce. It’s not anger. Anger, according to Brooks, is a “hot emotion that says ‘I care.’ It might not be pleasant, but it doesn’t lead to divorce.” Instead of anger, eye rolling, dismissive humor, derision, and sarcasm are much better predictors of divorce. In a word, says Brooks: “contempt.”
In his latest book, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt, Dr. Brooks — president of the American Enterprise Institute, and my boss — rejects the notion that incivility and intolerance are the core problems in America today. Instead, Brooks argues that “motive attribution asymmetry” leads people to assume that those with whom they disagree are motivated by hate. This shuts off the possibility of negotiation and compromise, and breeds contempt, which Brooks defines as a combination of anger and disgust. Contempt, not only for the ideas held by those with whom we disagree, but also, and more significantly, for the people who hold those ideas.
Contempt makes political compromise and progress impossible. It also makes us unhappy as people. According to the American Psychological Association, the feeling of rejection, so often experienced after being treated with contempt, increases anxiety, depression and sadness. It also damages the contemptuous person by stimulating two stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. In ways both public and personal, contempt causes us deep harm.
The argument Dr. Brooks makes that resonates most strongly with me is first to reject the notion that disagreement is bad.
You might be tempted to say we need to find ways to disagree less, but that is incorrect. Disagreement is good because competition is good. Competition lies behind democracy in politics and markets in the economy, which — bounded by the rule of law and morality — bring about excellence. Just as in politics and economics, we need a robust “competition of ideas” — a.k.a. disagreement. Disagreement helps us innovate, improve and find the truth.
Instead, according to Brooks, we need to disagree better.
Being married to a passive-aggressive person can be a highly frustrating experience, especially if you don’t know what you are dealing with. You may just know that your partner sabotages things, they have a million excuses for why they broke a promise or commitment, and they resent your pointing out their deficiencies or irresponsible behaviors.
They seem overly sensitive to actual criticism or what they perceive as criticism. They often do not take leadership roles in the family but then get upset when told what to do what must be done.
They rarely are clear or direct about what they want and why it is important to them.
You may feel as if you are raising another child in your home instead of partnering with another adult to share life’s struggles and demands.
Case Example: Sarah and Jose had been together for 5 years and came into my office saying “we fight over everything.” When asked to describe a typical scenario, it turns out that he was the angry one — usually because he saw Sarah as lacking in self-discipline, being lazy, spending too much money, and not keeping the house clean enough.
She of course, reacted defensively when he started yelling at her, using the usual arguments that she worked too, that they had a two year old that cluttered everything, and that she deserved to buy nice things because she worked too. In turn, he would elevate things a notch by now pointing out that he observed that she would never accept responsibility for her shortcomings, she had excuses for everything, and he was tired of it all.