I Am NOT Defensive! 

It is a truly rare thing to find someone who doesn’t easily get defensive. Extremely rare actually. 

Today I want to ponder some reasons behind why we get defensive so that we can figure out some more effective strategies moving forward. 

Increasingly I have people tell me that they read my blog after having had time with me to see if I’m writing something about them. I’m thrilled to have readers but I want to say up front - this blog is not about specific situations or individuals. Everything I write about applies to most if not all of us. Today is no exception - any resemblance to you is just because you are human! 

So, someone gives you feedback or tells you something they would like you to change and you kick in to defensive mode. That can look like justifying your action. It can look like coming back with what they do wrong (related or not). It can look like the silent treatment where you block them out emotionally, etc. 

None of us would honestly say that we are perfect. (If you do then it’s time to get help for real.) So, knowing we aren’t perfect could logically lead to being at peace with feedback. Not so for most of us.  

Some of the reasons why feedback triggers defensiveness: 

* Even if I know my weaknesses I would rather you didn’t 

* When I look at my shortcomings I wrestle with not liking me and assume you will too 

* It feels like you think you are better than me when you point out stuff to me 

* I have had experiences where feedback is followed by rejection so I expect that 

* At some level I try to be perfect so I am not comfortable looking at growth areas 

* I don’t have the skills to give honest feedback so when I’m being given some it pushes my buttons enough that I give feedback defensively that I’ve been sitting on for a while 

So, we all can relate at some level. The problem is that the love we are craving we push away when we get defensive.  

What’s the answer?  

It is not perfection. It is about getting more comfortable with the truth that in our imperfection we are totally lovable and valuable. Brené Brown would say that we are “worthy of love and belonging”. 

How do we practice a new pattern? How do we let people love us and accept us in our imperfection and grow to do the same for ourselves? 

Saying stuff out loud is remarkably powerful. When we notice a conversation going off the rails switch to talking about that. Once it goes off the rails with defensiveness there is very little healthy communication happening. So, solicit the help of the other person - e.g.: 

* I’m feeling really defensive right now and I know I’m not hearing you well 

* I can feel my buttons being pushed and I’m not sure what’s going on in me 

* My fear of rejection is being triggered - can you reassure me about the big picture of our relationship? 

* I really want to hear your feedback and concerns but I’m really reacting instead - can we take a break for me to get in the right space? 

Some people set up patterns for how they want to have feedback conversations. Having structure makes the process more normal and predictable and less scary. Here are two models that you may find helpful.  

1. On a regular basis pick a part of your relationship that you are wanting to see growth in. Ask these 3 questions from the world of appreciative coaching: i) What is working well?, ii) What is tricky?, and iii) What would we like to do differently moving forward? In this model you each take turns answering each question and make sure to really work on what’s going well. 

2. Person #1 says 3 statements about the situation while person #2 listens. Person #2 repeats those statements back until person #1 feels that they really heard them correctly. Then person #1 continues until they have felt heard on their points. This slows down the process and because it removes immediate feedback it takes out the temptation to respond right away in a defensive way.  

Both of these take practice, for sure but immediately you can feel the difference of really being heard, which is the point after all! 

Until next week, 


22 comments (Add your own)

1. AustRona wrote:
Vente Misoprostol20mg Buy Stromectol From India Cialis 20 viagra Trazodone By Mail Propecia Spain Cialis Levitra

Fri, May 3, 2019 @ 4:41 AM

2. wrote:
Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found
that it is truly informative. I'm gonna watch out for brussels.
I'll be grateful if you continue this in future.
Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.


Fri, May 10, 2019 @ 9:48 PM

3. wrote:
Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit
my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to
say excellent blog!

Fri, June 7, 2019 @ 10:57 AM

4. wrote:
Yes! Finally someone writes about how to get help in windows

Tue, July 16, 2019 @ 8:59 PM

5. wrote:
Hello there! This post couldn't be written any better!

Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page
to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

natalielise pof

Thu, August 1, 2019 @ 4:26 PM

6. wrote:
I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs
really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come
back later on. Many thanks

Fri, August 23, 2019 @ 7:12 PM

7. wrote:
Heya i'm for the primary time here. I found this board and I
to find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot.
I'm hoping to give one thing back and aid others such as you aided me.

Wed, September 4, 2019 @ 1:30 PM

8. wrote:
I have learn some excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting.
I wonder how a lot effort you set to make this sort of
great informative web site.

Sun, September 8, 2019 @ 3:50 PM

9. wrote:
Wonderful website you have here but I was curious about if
you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics
talked about here? I'd really love to be a part of group
where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals that
share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Mon, September 16, 2019 @ 2:54 PM

10. wrote:
It's really very complex in this full of activity life to listen news on TV,
thus I simply use world wide web for that purpose, and take the hottest news.

Sat, November 9, 2019 @ 5:57 AM

11. wrote:
hi!,I really like your writing so so much! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra about your
article on AOL? I need a specialist in this house
to solve my problem. May be that is you! Looking forward to look you.

Thu, November 14, 2019 @ 2:17 AM

12. wrote:
Remarkable! Its really remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear
idea concerning from this piece of writing.

Tue, November 19, 2019 @ 6:52 AM

13. wrote:
Very nice article, exactly what I was looking for.

Thu, November 21, 2019 @ 12:45 PM

14. wrote:
I all the time used to read post in news papers but now as I
am a user of web therefore from now I am using net for content,
thanks to web.

Thu, November 21, 2019 @ 11:30 PM

15. wrote:
Hurrah! Finally I got a webpage from where I know how to really take valuable facts regarding my study and

Sun, November 24, 2019 @ 9:18 AM

16. wrote:
Having read this I believed it was really informative.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this
information together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both
reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

Sat, November 30, 2019 @ 12:19 PM

17. wrote:
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought
to write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject
but typically people do not talk about these subjects.

To the next! Cheers!!

Sun, December 1, 2019 @ 6:32 PM

18. wrote:
These are actually impressive ideas in regarding blogging.
You have touched some good things here. Any way keep up wrinting.

Fri, December 6, 2019 @ 8:00 AM

19. wrote:
Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write
again soon!

Tue, December 31, 2019 @ 7:08 AM

20. wrote:
I'm amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that's equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you,
you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about.
I'm very happy that I found this during my hunt
for something relating to this.

Wed, January 1, 2020 @ 4:42 AM

21. wrote:
I read this post completely about the difference of latest and earlier technologies, it's awesome article.

Mon, January 13, 2020 @ 8:43 PM

22. wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on sling tv. Regards

Wed, January 29, 2020 @ 12:14 AM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.

Events Calendar