Recently I came across an article by Susan Heitler Ph. D. who argued that “contempt” destroys relationships of all kind. Having been through that a time or two, I can wholeheartedly agree with her assertion.
According to Wikipedia, contempt has its origins in the year 1393, from the Latin word contemptus meaning scorn. Even though people throughout time may not have been aware of the definition, they certainly have felt the emotional effects of contempt. These subtle gestures or words such as eye-rolling, upper lip raising, and sarcasm are all signs of contempt. The bottom line is that contempt indicates that a partner is not communicating to understand and grow, but rather to gain power and to belittle.
Dr. Heitler goes on to describe six identifiers that are clear signals of a contemptuous relationship including:
- Insufficient love
- Powering over
- Toxicity dump
- Break in the communication flow
- Feelings of hopelessness
The good news is that contempt has a polar opposite force, and a force that helps a relationship to bond, grow, and nurture. As much as contempt indicates dismissal and disregard for a partner, empathy signals appreciation, affection, and LOVE.
So on your journey to “Achieving Happiness”, work on getting rid of contempt, and rather choose to understand, appreciate, and empathize. Good Luck.
To read Susan Heitler Ph. D.’s whole article, go to this website: