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It’s difficult to maintain healthy relationships when we become overly defensive. Defensiveness is a natural response to feeling threatened or scared, but it can also damage our relationships if we do not manage it appropriately.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to become stuck in a habit of defensiveness that can be hard to break. Therefore, it is important to understand why we become defensive and learn how to prevent it from taking over our interactions with the people we care about.
In this blog post, we will explore the different reasons we become defensive and provide some practical advice on how to stop being defensive in a relationship.
We will also look at the importance of self-awareness and communication, and how to develop a healthier approach to conflict resolution.
By the end of this post, you’ll have the tools you need to break out of the defensive pattern and build a better relationship with your significant other.
Identify the triggers that make you defensive
A key step in managing defensiveness in a relationship is to identify what triggers it. A trigger could be a certain situation, such as a disagreement with your partner, or a certain type of behavior, such as criticism. It can also be a certain feeling, such as feeling unimportant or powerless.
Once you have identified the trigger, you can address the underlying cause and work on strategies to stop being defensive.
For example, if you feel triggered by criticism, you can practice responding with proactive communication instead of becoming defensive. This can help to reduce tensions and lead to a healthier and more productive conversation.
Learn to recognize defensiveness in others
One of the most important skills you can learn in a relationship is how to recognize defensiveness in others.
Defensiveness is a psychological way of protecting oneself from potential criticism or attack from the other person. Using “defensive” language often accompanies it, such as accusing the other person of attacking you, or blaming them for something that isn’t their fault.
This can create a cycle of defensive behavior that can be difficult to break. To avoid this, try to observe your own behavior and the behavior of your partner.
If you notice either of you becoming defensive, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to calmly assess the situation. You may even find it helpful to take a break and come back to the conversation later when you are both in a better place.
Practice active listening
When engaging in a conversation within a relationship, it’s important to practice active listening. This means being fully present and engaged in the conversation, and not simply waiting for your turn to talk.
It also involves focusing on the other person’s words and body language, and trying to understand their perspective.
Active listening can help to build empathy and can help to reduce defensiveness. By actively listening to your partner, you can gain insight into their feelings and motivations, and can better understand why they may be feeling defensive.
Ask clarifying questions
Being defensive can be a sign that you are misunderstanding the other person. Instead of jumping to conclusions or assuming the worst, ask the other person to explain what they mean.
Give them the chance to clarify their perspective and make sure you fully understand their point of view before responding. This can help ensure that the conversation is productive, rather than leading to further misunderstandings.
Asking clarifying questions also shows that you respect the other person and value the relationship.
Take responsibility for your feelings
Taking responsibility for your feelings is essential if you want to stop being defensive in a relationship. When you take responsibility for your emotions, you acknowledge they are coming from within you, not from the other person or the situation.
This takes away the urge to blame the other person for your feelings and instead encourages you to examine yourself and your emotions. By doing this, you can learn to identify your triggers and create more effective strategies for dealing with them.
Taking responsibility for your feelings also allows you to communicate more effectively with your partner, as you can express yourself without fear of blame or judgement.
Learning to stop being defensive in a relationship is possible with a few simple steps.
First, understand the triggers for your defensiveness and why you react in this way.
Second, practice mindfulness and self-awareness when emotions rise.
Finally, communicate with your partner openly and honestly to foster a healthy and trusting relationship.
With patience and practice, you can learn to be less defensive and develop strong, healthy relationships.
If you enjoyed this post you may like our complete guide on how to stop being defensive.