Identifying the Four Horsemen (Contempt, Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling) takes time and, while there’s no shame in having a reference, it can be tricky to spot them in yourself or someone you interact with regularly.
Instead, you can practice looking for them in people (or characters) you only see semi-regularly from a distance. Watch for the Four Horsemen on TV or in movies. Reality TV is great for this, but scripted scenes work, too.
For a nice example of stonewalling, look no further than this scene from Fargo (contains strong language).
What can you identify? Learning to recognize these warning signs externally will make it easier to keep tabs on them when they come up in your own relationship.
- The Four Horsemen: Recognizing Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling
- Public Figures Go to Couples Therapy, Too
- The Four Horsemen: The Antidotes
The Relationship Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 11 June 2019. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.