Being defensive

If we listened and understood how other people felt instead of becoming defensive, we’d certainly lighten the load without being defensive and bitter all the time.

If someone says something to us, it’s often because they care, not because they’re wanting to have a go at us, unless we’ve said something first to them and they’re using retaliation as a means of communication.

Imagine how much understanding we’d have and how much better off we’d all be, if we just listened and took responsibility in what we say and how we make other people feel.

There would certainly be less strife and more harmony in our relationships and in the world, if we stopped being defensive all the time.


19 Sep, 2015

8 thoughts on “Being defensive

  1. Yes, so many people get very defensive right away, usually because they assume what people are going to say or they just don’t want to hear what the other person has to say.

    I get defensive out of sheer habit from being attacked, verbally and physically; so many times over the years. Better safe than sorry, is my thought when I’m in that kind of situation. People are very reluctant to let their guard down, for obvious reasons and it isn’t that easy if you’ve had to defend yourself most of your life!

    I try not to be defensive so much of the time, but at certain times or about certain subjects, I can’t really help not be.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes it’s easy to get stuck in the old habits.

      Any bad habit that impacts our life and other people’s life in this way is considered abuse, but I’m sure you already know about that and as much as we go on to repeat those patterns, we go on to validate those patterns, because we don’t change them.

      It doesn’t help when it’s what you’ve seen and where we’ve come from, but there can be no excuse when we stick with it. That kind of behaviour will always go on to impact our lives negatively, until we change it.

      I couldn’t agree more with your first paragraph. You’ve summed up your response to my blog beautifully.

  2. I think reacting defensively is almost an automatic response in some people, rather than actually hearing what the other is person is saying; although I also believe how we say what we say can be more important than what we’re saying.

    Taking care in how we communicate can also help avoid difficult situations we’d rather not find ourselves in.

    1. Thank you. It’s an automatic response because we allow it to be. We all have choices. We choose our behaviour. In the same way we can choose to be defensive, we can choose to change. It really is up to us what we choose to do.

      The more we consciously think about it, the more we will change.

  3. I think because throughout my life I have always felt the need to defend myself from people’s misconceptions of my disability, it’s easy for me to get defensive.

    Sometimes I have to remind myself not to take things too personally.

    1. Thanks Maria. Yes, as a child I was constantly defending myself, just as you describe. I believe it was because of what I had to deal with as a child, as part of my physical difficulties.

      It would go on to take me a while to change things, so I know how you feel. When we’re struggling emotionally it’s very easy to take things personally, you’re right.

  4. People often say things strictly from their cultural point of view and sometimes their words can be very insulting, but not necessarily intentional. But I’m constantly on guard with a few people who always manage to insult me in any lengthy conversation.

    I’ve seen people who are just too careless with other people’s feelings and that can leave people very defensive.

    1. Thanks Tim. Personally, I think we blame culture and hide behind our cultures, but I’m not sure culture has anything to do with how we speak to one another.

      I believe our upbringing and past experiences has a lot to do with the way we talk to one another and whether we go on the defensive or not. We often don’t know how to talk to people.

      I do agree with you that people can be careless with other people’s feelings, which can leave us getting very defensive. I have seen that happen too.

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