Do you find that you are often very defensive when people talk to you or give you feedback? Have coworkers or your manager told you that you are too defensive and you need to be open to feedback? Do you find taking feedback from friends, romantic partners, parents or people in general is difficult? Maybe even painful? Do you feel that your defensiveness is causing you to wonder if it’s too much?
Everybody gets a bit defensive once in a while when they are given feedback, but overly defensiveness or defensive in too many situations consistently can be a sign of something else.
Defensiveness is a result of a person listening to another person talk about their experience or feelings in REACTION to the listen or a situation and the listener makes what the speaker is saying about them.
For example, Partner A ask Partner B if they are going out with their friends again this Thursday. Partner B gets defensives and responds defensively, „“Are you accusing me of going out too much? Are you jealous“ This an example of being defensive and making a statement about you and not what you partner is talking about.
Other examples of defensiveness include: you get defensive when somebody tells you they don’t like it when you are late and you get angry and defensive saying you are working hard. Anther example is you get defensive when they tell you that they don’t like the gift you gave them and you get defensive saying you spent a lot of time looking for it or spent a lot of money. Another example of defensiveness is you did something that hurt a close person and they told you and you got angry and defended yourself.
In each of these cases, you are making something that is not about you about you. You often are not able to hear the message the person is telling you. You often cannot hear the person is talking about themself or their experience and feelings, not about you. You will get into a lot of fights and misunderstandings.
Do you find that confusing? Well, many times in relationships, professional or personal, people are communicating to the other person about who they are, saying what they like, what they don’t like and their preferences. People who lack good boundaries and are too defensive, may misinterpret this kind of conversations and hear everything as attack or criticism and they will make it about themself.
Being excessivelly defensive can get in a way of your relationships, making it hard for people to connect to you and be close to you. It can impact your ability to work where feedback is required.
If you are feeling that your defensiveness is hindering you in personal relationships and your work, therapy is an area that helps people address this. Often there are underlying issues around boundaries, how to process feelings and relationship and communication skills.
If you’d like to learn how therapy can help you, contact All In The Family Counselling Centre Pte ltd, preferrably by a WhatsApp, at +65 9030 7239.
All In The Family Counselling Centre Pte ltd has been providing therapy for over a decade and we are providing online therapy for over four years. For in person sessions we provide intensive therapy retreats of two, three and five days. Contact us to learn more!
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