Why Do My Parents Hate Each Other So Much?
I was speaking to a young boy this week, let’s call him Mat (not his real name), who asked me a question about his divorcing parents – “Why do my parents hate each other so much?”
I found myself searching for an answer and finally said: “I don’t believe your parents really ‘hate’ each other but maybe are just so angry with each other, and with the situation they are in, that it looks like they really hate each other.”
I went on further to explain my belief that in order for a couple to actually go through the process of divorcing from each other they also must go through what seems like ‘hate’ before they can really do it.
Mat then asked me: “So how did they get into that position in the first place?” The only way I know how to answer this is to believe that one or more of a set of factors became evident and ultimately became more stressful than the good that existed between the couple. When this reaches that point of being unbearable then the relationship blows out and separation and/or divorce become thereby inevitable.
John Gottman, an eminent Couples Researcher discovered after studying the incident of divorce for more than thirty years came up with a set of predictors that measure whether a couple is potentially at risk of divorce. Here they are:
- Did you marry at an early age?
- Did you not graduate from high school?
- Are you in a low-income bracket?
- Are you in an interfaith marriage?
- Did your parents divorce?
- Do you criticize one another?
- Is there a lot of defensiveness in your marriage?
- Do you tend to withdraw from one another?
- Do you feel contempt for one another?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you are statistically at a higher risk for divorce than couples who have reasonable expectations of one another and their marriage, communicate well, use conflict resolution skills, and are compatible with one another.
So this is not to say that if you answered “yes” to any one of these question you are going to divorce. What it does mean is that you have got some working out to do to ensure that you do not go that route.
And here’s the really good news: knowing the areas that leaves you in risk of divorcing means that you know what areas you most need to work with. The time is now to find a well qualified therapist to help you resolve these issues before they destroy your relationship.
And as for Mat’s parents? The issues that I suspect are current for them are more to do with how they have related to each other rather than anything to do with cultural, education or financial issues. They are very critical of each other, withdraw regularly, and I think the ‘hate’ that Mat is observing has actually now become contempt for each other as they continue to separate themselves further and further. It’s like they are on a downward spiral and are unable to stop what is happening.
So until next time – Relate with Love