Experiential Defensiveness

April 19, 2011

in Communication, Series

© Franz Pfluegl | Dreamstime.com

We get defensive to protect ourselves. It’s human nature both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, we can develop reflex like defensive reactions based on experience. That experience could be with our spouse, or with someone else. The result is that we get uptight in certain situations, or about certain subjects, or when we hear certain words. We may get defensive going into certain situations or when we are going to discuss certain topics – even before anything has been done that justifies our defensive actions.

If our actions are a result of experience with someone other than our spouse, then clearly it’s unfair to get defensive with our spouse. Even if our actions are based on experience with our spouse, going into something expecting trouble and being defensive is a sure way to get the behaviour we expect. Being uptight when we approach our bride puts her on guard, and starts things off poorly.

If you recognize this kind of defensiveness towards your bride, try to change. Give her a chance, maybe she has changed, maybe you don’t need to be defensive. If you find she has not changed, discuss the issue and let her know what you feel, why you feel it, and how it’s harming your relationship.

If you see defensiveness in your bride towards you, figure out how you can change that. If you have given her cause to be this way, make sure you fully stop doing that, then go to her, apologize, tell her you are working on in, and ask her to try to be less defensive. If you don’t think you have given her cause, have a calm discussion with her and try to work through it.

Image Credit: © Franz Pfluegl | Dreamstime.com

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  1. […] the relationship with assumptions which may or may not still be true.  The other posts are: Experiential Defensiveness, Experiential Impatience, Experiential Limits, and Experiential Starting […]

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