In another post I talked about Dr. John Gottman's term, The Four Horseman", Those characteristics of a relationship that cause our emotional connection to be, "less than productive". I suspect that we all get defensive. Are there exceptions? Are there people who may not get defensive? There well may be, just as there are people who will sacarfice their physical lives, and have such a high level of consciousness that they have transended both anger and fear.(At least most of the time. even Jesus became angry) For most of us we can become defensive pretty easily. In thirty years of practice I have not seen one person in my office who has not shown some degree defensiveness, nor have I seen this among my friends. What is it that causes us to be defensive? My guess is the number one thing that causes us to be defensive is our own self criticism and shame. The more accepting we are of ourselves the the less likely we are to become defensive, and emotionally reactive. The more relaxed we are also influences our tendency to be emotionally reactive, and our feeling of campassion for the other may also determine our defensiveness and reaction to our partners, family members, or friends. Dr. John Gottman points out that the quality of our relationships, and the ratio of positive to negative interactions will impact the degree of defensiveness as we communicate with each other, and particularly during times of conflict. In addition the manner with which the other speaks to us will have a major impact on the way we respond. Dr. Gottman talks about what he calls "Soft Startups". When we approach our partner with a grievence or complaint, the more gentle and respectful we are, the more likely our partner will be to respond to us in a positive way, and take into account our feelings and concerns. We likely have some degree of influence regarding the defensiveness and emotionally reactive manner with which the other responds us.
Why Are They Always So Defensive
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