It’s the one biggest predictor of divorce.
Relationship scientists can predict with astounding accuracy whether a relationship is going to last the distance or not when they spot this one trait.
That one trait is CONTEMPT!
Scorn and contempt destroy loving relationships.
It’s one of the top signs a relationship will fail.
Think of when someone rolls their eyes at you, curls their lip or speaks sarcastically down to you. This is a relationship killer. 🗯
Contempt is a mix of disgust and anger. The word originated from a Latin word in 1393 that means scorn.
Contempt breaks up connection by destroying any flow of a conversation between people.
Scorn is the opposite of empathy. Empathy is the glue of happy relationships. People that possess many narcissistic traits are low on empathy.
The more contempt you show your partner, the less you love them.
Scorn says that I’m superior to you, I’m above you and I know better than you. It’s a horrible power play.
Scorn can poison a relationship even by the tone that is used when speaking to your partner. The tone can be toxic and dismissive even if the content of the conversation isn’t.
Scorn means, “I don’t respect you, I’m better than you.”
It makes you feel worthless.
If it’s not an abusive relationship then the good news is that behaviours can change. There’s two crucial questions I ask my couples in a session when they’re showing each other contempt.
Spotting contempt is a good way to start the work on improving your relationship. Get in touch with me to book couple counselling so you can move forward beyond contempt and into a more respectful and loving way of interacting.
Your relationship will thank you.
Cat O Dowd
Relationship and sex therapist- Art psychotherapist
Art- Egon Schiele The Scornful Woman, 1910 Gouache, watercolor and charcoal with white highlighting.