The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships

How to stop constantly interpreting your partner negatively?

November 01, 2020 Galit Romanelli and Assael Romanelli, Ph.D.
The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships
How to stop constantly interpreting your partner negatively?
Chapters
The Potential State Podcast - Enriching Relationships
How to stop constantly interpreting your partner negatively?
Nov 01, 2020
Galit Romanelli and Assael Romanelli, Ph.D.

We all have tense periods where we tend to interpret anything and everything our partner says or does as negative, insulting, hurtful, or aggressive.
The Gottman researchers call this dynamic N.S.O - negative sentiment override.

This lethal dynamic has a snowball effect that is hard to stop, and can lead to deep resentment and breakup.

In this talk, Galit and I explain the reasons and dynamic of NSO through examples from our marriage and the clinic. Practical (somewhat surprising) tips will help you minimize NSO in your relationship today.

Click here to join our mailing list and get free resources on enriching relationships every week to your inbox!
Click here for more information on our upcoming online couples workshop.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-other-side-relationships
http://podcast.potentialstate.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXwdZhwQFgUcRQgZoI_L2Uw
https://www.facebook.com/ThePotentialState
https://twitter.com/assael


Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q5AG6K7L8GYKA&source=url)

Show Notes Transcript

We all have tense periods where we tend to interpret anything and everything our partner says or does as negative, insulting, hurtful, or aggressive.
The Gottman researchers call this dynamic N.S.O - negative sentiment override.

This lethal dynamic has a snowball effect that is hard to stop, and can lead to deep resentment and breakup.

In this talk, Galit and I explain the reasons and dynamic of NSO through examples from our marriage and the clinic. Practical (somewhat surprising) tips will help you minimize NSO in your relationship today.

Click here to join our mailing list and get free resources on enriching relationships every week to your inbox!
Click here for more information on our upcoming online couples workshop.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-other-side-relationships
http://podcast.potentialstate.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXwdZhwQFgUcRQgZoI_L2Uw
https://www.facebook.com/ThePotentialState
https://twitter.com/assael


Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q5AG6K7L8GYKA&source=url)

Speaker 1:

The lead , sometimes everything you say to me, I S I hear like it's critical and you're angry. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Me too. Sometimes when, when you're giving me like constructive feedback, I take it as like, you're criticizing me. You're being judgmental of me. You're just, you're being nice .

Speaker 1:

And then whatever you say, or whatever, I say, whatever I say, it just sounds like more of the same. That is called negative sentiment override. And today we're going to teach you how to soften that vicious cycle. In your relationship,

Speaker 3:

You are listening to the potential state podcast with your host, dr. Sail Romanelli. Hi, my name's dr. Solomon Nelly ,

Speaker 1:

And this is the potential state . And today we are going to talk about how to stop negatively interpreting your partner and other terms , how to stop negative sentiment override . So how do you know a lawyer is lying? He's talking right. They open their mouth and we see this all the time in couples. Okay. When couples are in a tense place , um, Gottman's their research shows that they call this negative sentiment over. It would basically what happens. Anything. My partner says from past assaults to , I love you interpret it negatively. And the negative, the interpretation is usually consistent with whatever dynamic there is. So either I'm going to, she's going to experience me as being attack, attack as aggressive on the attack the whole time, or I'm going to experience my wife has always being either angry or maybe being victimy or judgmental or, or, or full of pity. And what happens is it's a vicious cycle, which is really hard to stop , because anything , even if she says, let's stop fighting, they're like, Oh, you're just saying it too , to even humiliate me more . And then what happens is you just can't get it out of that loop. So the governments would kind of define this concept. So they have their kind of recipe on how to do them. A lot of it is it's very behavioral, but we want to , we want to give our interpretation or our understanding of why this happens and how to change it . Exactly. So why does this negative interpretation?

Speaker 2:

It's this vicious cycle. I think it's clear how we, how we behave once we're in the vicious cycle, but what it actually starts and like is the catalyst for this vicious cycle that begins of interpreting everything your partner does negatively. So we found, or I've found that it's when we're confronted with a paradox, right? Like when your partner does something that's hurtful to you and you're confronted with this paradox of like, Oh, that really hurt. Um, but this person is supposed to love me. So like, how do those paradoxes sit in the same place? How does it sit in the same place that, you know, I say, I can say to me, you know, like you're really losing it and raging at the kids. If he loves me, like, if he loves me, he wouldn't say that. Cause that's so hurtful.

Speaker 1:

So those paradoxes are every single human interaction, right there flooded with a lot

Speaker 2:

Of these paradoxes. And we need to learn how to settle these paradoxes or live with these paradoxes.

Speaker 1:

So paradox is , is one of the reasons, the next reason is, is people are not owning their shit. The carpet. Now what's owning your shit. Washington talk about ownership. But basically there's this idea that there's always, we have a shadow and I have parts in there ,

Speaker 2:

Right? And sometimes I say , it really does say things that are hurtful to hurt my feelings. That's part of being in a relationship with people. That's what a stars call it. Normal marital, sadism. Exactly. You always

Speaker 1:

Hurt the one you love. It's inevitable. She's so important

Speaker 2:

To me, that paradox. And I'm feeling of like, Oh, he just hurt me, but he's supposed to love me. It's not a paradox. Yeah. He hurt me and he loves me. Right. And so the on your shit comes to kind of like smooth that over. Because if I say never admits that sometimes he hurts me. He's like emotionally gaslighting me.

Speaker 1:

And then what happens is she stops believing what I say. I see this a lot, especially with women who are not owning their aggression toward their partner. They're like, I never want to hurt you. I never want to be literally , I'm only suffering. I'm only the victim. And then what happens is, is that because partners are owning their shit, of course your partner is going to interpret everything you say as negatively because they don't trust you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Because you're never audited like , yeah , that , that there . I did it there. I didn't

Speaker 1:

That's exactly. And so the first, the biggest reason is partners are not owning their shit or not in Mo because they think that it would be bad to own the fact that sometimes I want to be little Kurt Mach , which is jab my partner, right ? The second reason, the third reason. So we have paradox. We have ownership. Third is empty love tanks. That basically it comes from Gary Chapman's work. He says, we all have a lump tank when it's empty. When we're not being filled, it seems celebrated every now and then. And it's flashing. We have with generosity of spirit and I am a survival mode and you become the enemy

Speaker 2:

And you don't care for me. And you don't love me because you're not filling my left. Hang my love tank . It's depleted.

Speaker 1:

And it's usually a God , we'll go back to the gardens .

Speaker 2:

And then, and then, sorry, one second. But like, then I don't want to fill his love tank. Cause why should I fill your love tank? If my left tank is empty, I don't have any left to give right now.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. And then we go into bookkeeping. You can look at that talk. It also means that we've dropped the five to one ratio, garments say five yeses to every note , like or five filling up the left tank . Every time we refuse it , it probably means you've dropped below the five to one ratio. Your love tank is empty. So of course, you're going to go into this negative loop and everything. She says, I'm just going to get angry and bitter because I feel I don't feel love . And the last reason that's creates this is the Holy Trinity of blocking. When your partner actually does something.

Speaker 2:

Oh , you didn't mean that. I just said that I

Speaker 1:

Actually I'm surprised and salted or disappointed. I decided to in block , even when they actually do do something. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

I'm only doing it because I wanted to do it because I asked her to do it. So yeah, exactly. Asked you to do it. So you're doing it. How Leslie,

Speaker 1:

Well , but when your negative sentiment override anything, she says, I'm going to just interpret negative and then she's out of so never mind . So even when they , the partners are trying to that, it's a vicious cycle to kind of stop. And I have so many examples just to have one from this week, from this week, I was , I met with this couple and basically they're in the stance where she's the victim and he's the persecutor. We can look at the victim triangle episode and basically anything she said can interpret it as she's being victimy and she's whining and complaining that whatever, whatever he does, he can't get it. Right. And she interprets everything he says is aggressive, right? Everything he says from, I , I don't want to go out tonight to , can I have a cup of coffee to this? Wasn't you look great. Everything was always aggressive. So they could not step out of that. And let's use an example for our marriage. Let's do it. So as we're working on these videos and we're trying to find a way to kind of work together, oftentimes

Speaker 2:

I came with an idea to say , add on like a tweak to one of these episodes. And he like immediately was like, no, that's too simplistic. Like immediate . Like, it didn't even, I could see, like, it didn't even land. He didn't even let it land. I was like, no, that's too simplistic. And then I was like, okay, while I, you know, think that it's good. And like, we can talk about it. And then, and then he came back and he started like attacking me on that. I didn't even listen. Right. That I wasn't even listening to why he thought it was too simplistic and why. And I said, I'm happy to listen. Why you think it's too simplistic, but you need to own your shit that you didn't even let it land.

Speaker 1:

So in these moments, because we're not versed , um , we're working on our verse. So we're both very sensitive. So sometimes she'll feel like I'm mismatching her. And sometimes I feel like she's trying to compete with me. And that is part of our little negative something over it. And as we're trying to work on this, but verbalizing it in the secondary , the tips, how to do it. But we just want to show that all couples have that in different scenarios . Sometimes it's very rigid. It's all encompassing. But sometimes it's going to be in areas or it's scenarios where you guys are not solid enough when you're not open enough. Yeah. Good. And we solve that. There we go tick .

Speaker 2:

So , but I think that what really, really helps is the owner .

Speaker 1:

Okay. So now we're going into the tips. Okay. Tip number one on your mother-in-law.

Speaker 2:

You have to it's the only way,

Speaker 1:

Because a lot of times, a couple of say, well, how do we stop? The first thing I say , stop blaming yourself. Your partner, start owning up, start confessing. All the things that you do,

Speaker 2:

Because this is why, this is why it's a new enlightened self-interest to do that. Because when you start owning your shit, then when you're like, no, I didn't do that to hurt you. Then the partner has to let it land. They have to, right? Because otherwise it's just going to get your, is going to get numb to any feedback you have to get .

Speaker 1:

And if you think that they get they'll get angry or because you're admitting to being aggressive, it's my experience .

Speaker 2:

Right? When it says finally admitted here that he didn't let my idea land. I was like, thank you. Thank you for saying that. Now we can move forward. It wasn't like, I knew it ain't me , me, me. And then we got into this thing. So no , it was just like, thank you. Now we can move on.

Speaker 1:

So cause if you think about it every time denied your marital, normal, their normal hair to say to them, you're basically gaslighting your partner. So start by validating. You're right. I did. We literally, I didn't listen

Speaker 2:

To you . I did it

Speaker 1:

First. I'll start with that. I don't even expect it. Just start doing that. And you'll also feel released. You can refer the ownership episode and the caveman consequences episode, and then the next step is fill up your partner's love tank. And you can do that. And there's look at the love languages episode on the emotional bids episode. But consciously start saying more, yes .

Speaker 2:

Have a full love tank. Then you're generous with each other and you want to be generous with each other and you're positive towards each other. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

The generosity of spirit, there's like more leeway. I'm more flexible. And we're open. How do you feel each other sometimes refer to those episodes or read Gary Chapman or Gary Chapman's five love languages. I also just look at the chat and then the third step is once you do that and the next step is hold onto yourself. Trust your partner. When I do, when I do indeed, do something nice to you and you interpret this in the negative symptom override , you reach your hat at you're saying, I didn't mean to hurt you. This was not. I come in peace yesterday. I confessed to you that I jabbed you. But now this is not one of those moments, right ? You're helping cleaning up her glasses or filling up her

Speaker 2:

Interpret in a more positive light.

Speaker 1:

And for that, I need to be a little bit playful. And even if she does the Holy Trinity Lockie , which is being insulted surprised or disappointed or blocking her, same me to me, it's fake. I can just say, it's not, this is real. Um , and I keep reaching my hand out. I'm holding onto myself and I'm , and I'm saying to my partner, I am here. This is how you change. This is how you clean and soften the negative sentiment override . You own your shit. You fill each other's love tank. And when you are indeed and check by the way, if your partner says, Oh, you're just doing it. You're jabbing me again. Take a second. Have I , if I have owned it. But if I haven't, if , if my intention was not to hurt Gilead, I will say, no, this was actually,

Speaker 2:

And then your partner essentially has a choice. Like, do I accept that interpretation? Do I hold, do I reach my hand back out? Right? And then you get out of the loop of the vicious cycle of negative sentiment override. So in my mind, it's paradox, which is what instigates it. Right? I feel unsettled. Like how could this person hurt me? If they love me, it's interpretation. I choose to interpret. And also you can only get to that with own your shit. Right? I choose to interpret and believe I say that he didn't say it to hurt me. He wants me to grow. He wants me to expand. He wants me to stretch. And then I make a choice of accepting that interpretation and going towards his right

Speaker 1:

Now . It's quite possible that I will still reach out or galley , reach out and say the truth. But if I'm about to reject it, I can just, I can just broadcast love . I can say there's a, there's a part of me that wants to reject that . That feels that again, you're trying to belittle me, but I ain't sure .

Speaker 2:

Right. Or I'm really hurt, but I'm choosing to believe. And there's a, but they're intentionally, right?

Speaker 1:

So it's also fine . It's not going to go away overnight. It is a muscle it's , it's, it's rewiring , not only my brain and Gilead spread , but the relational space, it's cleaning up the relational space. So that is how you soften negative sentiment override. We'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. How do you think you can solve it and resolve it? And what's been your experiences. So this was Gilliam , Romanelli,

Speaker 3:

And

Speaker 1:

Where the potential state we'll see you. Next time.

Speaker 3:

You've been listening to the potential state podcast for more information, visit us@potentialstate.com. And thank you for listening.