Defensive Communication

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 Are You in a Relationship with Someone who Communicates Defensively?

  • Is there a pattern of accusing words, threats, or anger?
  • Is there a frequent effort to change the other person’s perspective?
  • Does one person share thoughts and feelings while the other hides behind a wall of evasiveness?
  • Or do both of you hold your feelings inside, share very little, and communicate superficially?

Defensiveness is defined as a feeling of resistance caused by conflict and frustration.  This anxiety prompts one to take protective measures to shield oneself from a perceived threat in one’s relationship.

What Are Common Behavioral Patterns of a Defensive Mind-Set?

  • The Chronic Apologizer                   
  • The Super-friendly Person                  
  • The ‘Lay Low’ Personality                   
  • The Constant Critic                   
  • The Fuss-budget                     
  • The Emotionally-charged Personality
  • The Skeptic
  • The Worrier
  • The Martyr
  • The Rebel
  • The Legalist
  • The Bossy Personality

People who resort to frequent defensive tactics live according to the assumption that personal weaknesses or interpersonal struggles indicate failure. The fact that large amounts of energy are expended to avoid such struggles is an indication of a deep feeling of the inability to handle such matters. By trying to avoid the tensions of relationship interactions, defensive people are giving themselves a stamp of no confidence. Those who protect themselves by unnecessary defensiveness are prone to thinking in unrealistic, idealistic terms. There seems to be an inability on the part of defensive people to adjust to the typical ups and downs in relationships. 

What Causes Defensiveness?

  • A Poor Self-Image
  • Overemphasis on Personal Needs  
  • Fear of Being Vulnerable 
  • A Reactor Mentality
  • A Need for Power  

For more details refer to:
Will the Defense Please Rest?  by Dr. Les Carter; ISBN 0-8010-2513-3