It’s the prickleyness of defensiveness that gets in the way of communication. It’s quite a task to wade through defenses, because they are sticky, like muck in a swamp. My work is to help people be more open & vulnerable with each other, which is the opposite of defensiveness. We can’t see the other person accurately, especially if we’re too busy piling up our own defenses.
I believe defenses are built upon a foundation of twisted core beliefs that develop in childhood. If a relative shamed you, it’s easy to get stuck in an old bad feeling about who you are. While it may have been a casual, lighthearted moment for the relative, it might not have been for you. So there is this black hole inside of you that is very tender when someone steps nearby.
The page begins with a quote from Freedom by Jonathan Franzen: “It wasn’t alcoholism, it was self-defense.” Alcoholism is one defense system to cover up the black hole of pain inside. Insisting on being right and never apologizing is another. There are countless ways to push away the relentlessness of insecurities.
We are all defensive. We all know how to bring out defensiveness in the people we love. It’s hard work to face the truth head on, when it’s sooo much easier to feel attacked. Truth can pinch us to be better people or it can be avoided.
Core beliefs are at the center of defenses, on the website I break them down into 7 main categories.
We are very creative in our defensiveness but I wanted to offer readers a place to begin to think about them. Self awareness is always the beginning point of change.
Here’s the link: http://therapyideas.net/defensiveness.htm
My idea of aging well is to do the work of being less defensive, because it improves relationships when you can hear hard truths about yourself.