Presentation on theme: "Dr. Elena Klaw. This module of the Welcoming Warriors Home Manual (Klaw, Townsend, & Demers, 2012) is designed to facilitate veterans’ understanding."— Presentation transcript:
Dr. Elena Klaw
This module of the Welcoming Warriors Home Manual (Klaw, Townsend, & Demers, 2012) is designed to facilitate veterans’ understanding of what constitutes a healthy relationship and to learn effective communication skills and techniques … to foster healthy relationships with a partner. Topics: Arguing in healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. Ways to cultivate healthy relationships Repairing relationships after conflict *Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Even in happy partnerships, 69% of the conflicts never get resolved (a salient issue now often remains a salient issue years onward) (Gottman & Silver, 1999). What might be common sources of conflict for vets and their partners? If the issue does not get resolved, then how are two people able to go forward in their relationship?
What matters is not how much we argue, but HOW: Arguing occurs in both healthy and unhealthy relationships; what’s important is whether we show respect & acceptance vs. contempt for our partner. 70% of partners felt the quality of their relationship was a determining factor in whether they were satisfied with sex, romance, and passion they shared together (Gottman & Silver, 1999).
Couples in happy relationships are aware of nearly all of the positive actions that partners did for them, whereas in unhappy relationships, 50% of the time, each person only observes their partner’s negative actions (Gottman & Silver, 1999). In the heat of an argument, healthy relationships are found to have 5-to-1 positive comments or behaviors for every negative comment. Similarly, when a relationship is smooth, a 20-to-1 ratio has been observed (Gottman & Silver, 1999).
Turning toward your partner can entail affection, humor, support, or even an apology if things have gone awry (Gottman & Silver, 1999; Hoge, 2010). What does it mean for veterans and their partners to focus on turning toward, not away from each other?
Once an individual’s heart rate rises above 95 beats per minute, cortisol and adrenaline are released (stress hormones- the fight or flight response is initiated).The physiological effects are known as flooding and characterized by rapid breathing, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and sweating. Perceptions narrow, making it virtually impossible to have a productive, problem solving discussion (Gottman & Silver, 1999).
For men, once their heart rate (HR) is elevated, they are more likely to sustain angry thoughts after a fight. It takes men longer for their HR and blood pressure (BP) to return to normal in contrast to women, who’s HR and BP recover more quickly. This may be the reason women raise 80% of the issues in a relationship, and why men avoid discussing them (Gottman & Silver,1999)!
After emotional flooding, it’s best to take a 20- minute break (minimum time to recover physiologically) to allow each partner to calm down before resuming the discussion. One of the differences between a healthy and unhealthy relationship is how often couples respond to bids for affection or relationship repair. In healthy relationships, members respond 86% of the time to bids for affection or relationship repair, whereas couples in unhealthy relationships respond positively only 33% (Gottman & Silver, 1999).
Veterans and the rest of us can learn to manage conflict better What are key strategies?
Take partner’s perspective using empathy “I’m sorry you had a hard day.” Don’t trivialize or belittle a partner’s experience. Turn toward by asking for/offering affection, using humor, giving compliments. Take Breaks. Show appreciation and respect for your partner (At least 5 to1 positive for every negative). Focus on shared goals vs. resolving every issue; Winning the relationships vs. the argument. Connect to resources if needed e.g. counseling, clergy, support groups.