You’re in a heated argument with your spouse, and the conversation has quickly turned from a rational debate to full-on yelling.
Your wife is not attending your call and instead of understanding the reason behind it, you start blaming her for being careless.
Or maybe you say to your partner, ”I think on next date night, you should take me out to a movie, and you’re met with, ”What? Do you think I’m made of money?”
No matter how you communicate, the conversation is spiraling downward.
You might recognize this as a pattern or what’s known as a negative sentiment override (NSO).
According to Gottman’s research, negative sentiment override is a phenomenon where our negative feelings overpower our thoughts and actions.
In either situation, negativity is often the end result — feelings of anger, shame, or guilt are likely to dominate our thoughts.
In today’s blog post, we will see some obvious signs when NSO has dominated you or your partner and ways to change it into a positive sentiment override.
7 Clear Signs of Negative Sentiment Override
We all have tense periods where we tend to constantly interpret everything our partner does negatively as insulting, hurtful, or aggressive.
Look out for these signs to confirm your relationship is in sentiments of negative override and it’s time to re-evaluate the outlook on the situation.
1. You’re Constantly Arguing
When you argue a lot with your partner and it is difficult to resolve the argument, understand that you are stuck in negative thoughts.
Things get worse, and all the solutions you come up with do not seem to work.
- You and your spouse disagree on where to go for dinner, and instead of compromising, you keep arguing.
- On a small issue, you start talking about all the other past problems your partner has done wrong.
2. Judging Your Partner’s Every Action
Imagine you both are having a conversation, and they start getting defensive.
Rather than asking questions to get an understanding of their perspective, you question their intentions and make assumptions.
You might think this is their way of manipulating you or trying to get away with something.
It becomes harder for you to trust your husband/wife.
- Your partner arrives home late from work, and rather than asking if they are okay, you say, ”I know what you were doing! You were out with your friends again, weren’t you?”
3. You are Lashing Out in Anger
Sometimes we yell or become physical during an argument as a way to get our point across instead of trying to talk it out calmly and rationally.
It is also an indication of the negative sentiment override.
- During an argument about who will do the dishes, one person angrily throws a plate on the ground in frustration and storms off into another room.
- It can even take the form of name-calling or blaming each other.
4. Making Negative Assumptions
Have you assumed something bad about your girlfriend/boyfriend without any proof?
Don’t you lie awake at night replaying his/her day-to-day activities, thinking the worst?
Negative and evil thoughts can lead to making false assumptions just to quench the thirst for confirmation.
- If she went shopping but is late coming home, you think she must be cheating on you. You pass comments like, ”Let me guess, you were at the mall with your secret lover”.
5. Assigning Malicious Motives to Your Partner’s Behavior
Lovers in a relationship start believing their companion has ulterior motives behind their actions.
Not because they haven’t thought out the situation properly but because they are already in NSO mode.
Every action is seen with a hint of resentment, mistrust, and spite.
- It could be that he is away on a business trip. You start to think, ”He’s probably out seeing other women.”
- If your girlfriend is asking you to stay with her at home, you will think she is trying to limit your freedom.
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6. Jokes Feel Like Attacks
How unfortunate it is.
When you met them first, you found each other’s jokes delightful and funny, but now the same humor triggers miscommunication.
You don’t laugh together anymore and it hurts.
Harmless jokes start to be interpreted as an attack or a way of bringing up old issues already resolved.
- For example, if your better half is joking, ”I remember the last time you did your laundry, it was a disaster!”
- You might get upset thinking they’re attacking you and be unable to tell the difference between a joke and an insult.
Again, the worst form of negative sentiment is surrounding you.
7. Blaming Each Other for Every Mistake
Constantly blaming each other for any misstep in the relationship is a red flag too.
When our lover makes a mistake, we immediately point the finger at them and blame them instead.
This situation keeps the negative emotions override working in the background and can cause irreparable damage to the relationship.
- Let’s say at a birthday party, she accidentally asks you to bring the cake but you forget.
- Rather than saying nothing, she starts shouting, ”I can never count on you for anything! You’re always so forgetful.”
Tips To Embrace Positive Sentiment Override
Tip 1: Calm Yourself
It is important to take a few moments to calm yourself before responding to an argument. Make sure to pause, breathe deeply, and relax your body.
This can help break the cycle of negative emotions that are taking over and allow you to think more clearly.
Additionally, it is helpful to practice mindful activities such as yoga or meditation to help regulate your emotions in a healthy way.
Positive perspectives will penetrate you like sunshine.
Tip 2: Accept Your Responsibility
Stop avoiding responsibility for your actions and be honest about what needs to change.
Acknowledge the part you played in the disagreement and take ownership of it.
It keeps the conversation constructive and helps identify areas where both partners need growth and improvement.
- For example, if you forgot to bring the cake at the birthday party, instead of defending yourself and denying your mistake, it’s better to apologize.
Tip 3: Speak From Your Heart
Okay, this one hits differently.
No matter how furious we are, there’s always a space for positive sentiment to override in our hearts.
So go ahead and speak from your heart.
- Hold the hand of your soulmate and tell them how much you appreciate their presence in your life.
- ”Dear darling, I understand how hard it is for you to take care of all the arrangements and I’m sorry if I caused any inconvenience. I want you to know I’ll always be here for you.”
Tip 4: Don’t Play a Blame Game
It is natural to feel hurt or angry when someone has done something wrong.
However, it is essential not to blame each other but instead focus on finding solutions together. Blaming only serves to escalate the conflict further and discourage any progress from taking place.
- Try using ”I-statements”, to strengthen the connection between you and create an environment of mutual trust, understanding, and respect.
Tip 5: Turn Toward It Instead of Running Away
Turning toward problems rather than running away helps build trust within relationships.
Also, try to face conversations and conflicts head-on in order to resolve any issues that may arise.
- Let’s say you caught your spouse lying about something instead of avoiding the conversation, and it’s better to address it openly.
- Use sentences like, ”I think it’s best if we can talk about this together and find a way to move forward.”
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Tip 6: Take a Break
If arguments start escalating beyond repair, then it might be best for both sides to take a break until cooler heads prevail—a few minutes or even overnight.
A short break will act as if pressing the “reset” button, allowing both of you to come back to the discussion better prepared and with a fresh perspective.
Nothing can stop replacing negative sentiment override with positive one if each partner is truly invested in the relationship.
Tip 7: Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes
Rather than letting anger cloud your judgment, try picturing things from your partner’s perspective.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment to better understand why they might be saying what they’re saying.
You will gain insights into any deeper concerns underlying their words/actions.
- For instance, if he/she denies going out on a date, it could be because of his/her fear of being judged by your family or friends.
Tip 8: Communicate in Lovely Ways
To cultivate a safe, positive environment for communication, it is important to use love language.
Speak kindly and avoid insults or criticism. Be sure to express yourself with compassion and respect.
Never take positive sentiment override as a sign of weakness or surrender.
Think practically. It’s useless to cry over spilled milk.
Who will win if both of you keep fighting?
Of course, nobody. But your haters will have the last laugh.
Negative emotions override can be a difficult and emotional process, but with the right attitude and strategy, it is possible to replace negative feelings with positive ones.
All you have to do is apply these tips to your relationship.
In the end, positivity will win out, and you will both be better for it! So tie up your laces and get ready to start a new journey of love, trust, and understanding. Good luck!
Happy Relationship Building!