How to stop being defensive (2023)

defensive behavior

defensive behaviorit means justifying your behavior or apologizing when confronted with anger, criticism, blame, or shame.

We've all been in situations where we've received negative feedback, faced someone's anger, felt guilty about our actions, or felt ashamed.

Being defensive means running to defend yourself when faced with an uncomfortable situation rather than actually listening and talking about it, he says.Love Daramus, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist and author of Understanding Bipolar Disorder.

If you are guilty of this behavior, you are not alone. The defense is automatic psychological.Mechanismtriggered by internal or external emotional stressors.This reaction can be conscious or unconscious.

This article examines the characteristics of defensive people, possible causes of defensiveness, strategies for being less defensive, and the benefits this can offer you.

Examples of defensive behavior

Here are some examples of defensive behavior, according to Dr. Daramus:

  • Find excuses:When someone criticizes you, you can make excuses and explanations as to why it's not your fault.
  • Divert to blame:If someone accuses you of doing something wrong, you can do itto bendremind them of something they did wrong to keep the focus on them and make them feel like they are being hypocritical when they challenge you.
  • Respond dramatically:They can exaggerate what they say. For example, if someone asks you to clean up, you can say, "Oh, so you're calling me a bastard?"
  • Making false promises:You can be quick to promise things you are unlikely to be able to keep in order to avoid confrontation.

Aimee Daramus, PsyD

Blocking is good now because it takes the pressure off you, but you'll have to fix the problems it causes.

– Aimee Daramus, PsyD

What does it mean to be "shot"?

Characteristics of Defensive People

Here are some traits of defensive people that are most acceptable to you.

defensive people

  • Having an instinctive defensive reaction

  • They are not receptive to feedback.

  • Find excuses for his behavior.

    (Video) How To Stop Being Defensive - Fight or Flight Response

  • I can't bear to show weakness

  • Concern about protecting one's own image at all costs

acceptable people

Possible causes of defense

According with the doctor. Daramus some of the possible causes of defensiveness:

  • Perfectionism:If you tend to deal with difficult discussions by being defensive, that could be you.perfectionistand fear of being caught because they are human. Making a mistake can look like you have a weakness you don't want to show the world.
  • Temer:You may have a childhood, personal or professional life story where mistakes and imperfections are punished. As a result, you can do anything to not prove that you made a mistake.
  • Uncertainty:If you areinsecureabout who you are or what you're capable of, you might try to hide behind a defensive attitude.
  • Uncomfortable feelings:Emotions such as guilt, shame or embarrassment can be uncomfortable. Defending yourself with an apology can be easier than feeling guilty, ashamed or embarrassed.
  • Learned behavior:You may have subconsciously learned this tactic from a parent or other influential person who responded to criticism defensively rather than accepting responsibility for their actions.
  • Mental disease:Defensiveness can also be a symptom of mental illness, such asEating disorderoanxiety disorder.

How to stop repeating your mistakes

7 ways to be less defensive

dr. Daramus suggests some ways to be less defensive:

  • Escuchar:Listen to the person's problems before rushing to defend yourself. Sometimes just listening to the person, feeling seen and seen can helpconfirmed.
  • Please clarify:If someone accuses you of a mistake, ask for clarification to understand what they are accusing you of and how it affects them.
  • Take responsibility:If you did something wrong, admit it and take responsibility. See it as an opportunity for personal or professional growth and try to learn from it.
  • Ask how you can help:Ask the other person what you can do to improve the situation. Be honest about what you can do to fix it. Don't make promises you can't keep, just because.
  • To solve the problem:If you can do something to fix the situation, do it and get the job done. For example, if they ask you not to do the dishes, do the dishes instead of apologizing for not doing them.
  • Pay attention to your triggers:If you get defensive, ask yourself why and with whom you feel that way. It can also help to recognize who you are comfortable with and why. If someone else's behavior highlights your defensiveness, can you talk about how the two of you can improve?
  • Limit limits:If the person is harsh or disrespectful, you can do this.Limitsfor discussion, such as "I'm ready to talk about this, but I need a more calm and respectful discussion". Let me know when you're ready."

Apologize sincerely and effectively.

Less defensive benefits

Below is listed Dr. Daramus lists some of the benefits of a less defensive posture:

  • More effective troubleshooting:Remember that being defensive does not solve the problem.Problem. For example, if your boss asks you to fix a bug and you get defensive rather than oriented toward the solution, that could prevent you from finding and fixing the problem. When you're less defensive, you're more effective at problem solving.
  • Enhanced Relationships:Being less defensive can help improve your relationships. Otherwise, it becomes much more difficult to maintain successful relationships when people can't count on you to solve relationship problems together.
  • Best reputation:Research shows that people who are honest about their mistakes come across as much more credible and trustworthy than people who try to defend themselves by deflecting blame.

9 tips to win in life

common questions

common questions

  • How can I be less defensive at work?

    Here are some ways to be less defensive at work:

    • Do not rush to answer and answer calmly.
    • Ask for clarification if you don't understand the person's expectations.
    • Focus on finding solutions instead of playing the blame game.
  • How can I be less defensive with my partner?

    Here are some ways to be less defensive in a relationship:

    • Listen to your partner.
    • Try to see things from their perspective.
    • Accept your mistakes and work on them.
    • Remember that a relationship is not something you have to "earn" and trying to be right all the time can lead to a breakup.
(Video) Stop Being Defensive + Learn to Listen | Effective Communication Tips - Terri Cole

A Word from Verywell

If you tend to react defensively to uncomfortable situations, it can be helpful to become more aware of why you're doing this and work on reacting more honestly.

If your defensive tendencies are hurting your relationships or career, it may be helpful to talk to a mental health professional who can help you develop in a healthier way.communication skills.

How to become a better person

4 fonts

Verywell Mind only uses quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourpublishing processto learn more about how we verify our content and keep it accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. American Psychological Association.defensive behavior.

  2. DiGiuseppe M, Perry JC.The hierarchy of defense mechanisms..frontal psychology. 2021;12:718440. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.718440

  3. Jamilian HR, Zamani N., Darvishi M., Khansari MR.Investigation of methods and defense mechanisms in developmental, emotional (internalization) and disruptive behavior (externalization) disorders..Glob J Salud Sci. 2014;6(7 Specification No.):109-115. doi:10.5539/gjhs.v6n7p109

  4. David S., Hareli S., Hess U.The impact on perceptions of the veracity of emotional expressions presented when talking about failure.Eur J Psychology. 2015;11(1):125-138. doi:10.5964/ejop.v11i1.877

(Video) How to Get Less Defensive in Relationships

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