I Have A Problem Being Too Defensive

by Lexi
(California)

I am a 25 year old female, and I feel that being overly defensive is ruining my relationship. I have the best boyfriend in the world. He is funny, understanding, thoughtful and caring.

He is frankly everything I have ever wanted and what every girl wants. I know what I have and I don't want to lose him.

As I do many things also to balance the relationship it seems I cannot knock this bad habit of being overly defensive.



Am I the only woman who experiences this defensiveness issue? Is it because of my insecurities that I get defensive in situations where I should not feel defensive?




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Lexi, and thanks for telling your story here. First, I'm very happy for you that you have found a relationship that brings you so much happiness.

Regarding your defensiveness, I want you to consider that you are defensive for good reasons. Defenses don't just show up because you have issues, they are there because of what is happening on a conscious and subconscious level.

Here is how it works:

1) Something happens, for example your boyfriend says or does something that "triggers" your defensiveness.

2) Defensiveness, by the way, is nothing more or less than fear and anger.

3) You are being "triggered" for one of two reasons...(a) because your boyfriend is in fact doing something that is threatening to you, or (b) he is doing something that activates an old fear based on your past wounds/trauma--or most likely, a combination of (a) and (b).

So, Lexi...is it possible that you are so in love with your boyfriend that you are unable or unwilling to see his flaws? That happens all of the time, by the way, which is why we've all heard the statement, "Love is blind." Don't be blind. If there is something he says or does that you don't like, pay attention to that.

Now, to deal with your issues from the past that are being activated by current situations, review your past trauma with the journaling process on this page, then use these imagery processes for emotional healing to heal those wounds.

You may also find it beneficial to do the anger journaling process in the link above, to get the anger (that is behind your defensiveness) out on paper where you can see it and understand it.

Be sure you're not letting your love for your boyfriend make you blind to what is going on.

Pay attention, honor your feelings, and--most important of all--love yourself as much as you love him. If you can't do that, then back away from the relationship until you can. It never leads to a happy ending when you love someone more than you love yourself.

Believe in yourself, Lexi. Be your own best friend.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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May 23, 2010
Being accused of being defensive or exaggerating things can completely ruin your life
by: Anonymous

It's so easy to go down the route of diagnosing someone of being too defensive or worse. Diagnosing someone is imagining things to be worse than they are.

What this does in any relationship is stripping that person of the right to stand up for him/herself or worse ignoring the person's capability to asses any situation. This will destroy a person in the long run and will make it very easy if not unavoidable for the other parties in a relationship to become completely dominant and abusive, especially when the diagnosed person is a child.

So counselors...take it easy before you even mention the possibility that someone is too defensive or even imagining things.

Apr 01, 2010
Feeling Defensive
by: Bobbi

Dear Lexi:

Feeling defensive is something I am also dealing with in my relationship. You are wise to have identified this feeling, and I would urge you to honor it and not dismiss it as being unimportant.

I find that past experiences play a large part in feeling defensive in any relationship, and if this is so in your case, I would encourage you to identify those experiences so that you can dismiss them as being the source of feeling defensive in your current relationship. A feeling of low self-esteem can also make you defensive. If that is true in your case, possibly a counselor could help you with that.

However, a very important point I would like to make here, is that you may be feeling defensive in your relationship if your boyfriend has a tendency toward bullying or power superiority. In this case, he could be, even subtly and even seemingly innocently or playfully, doing or saying things that make him feel superior by making you feel inferior or having to justify yourself.

While this behavior may seem benign early in a relationship, my experience is that as the relationship progresses, this behavior, left unchecked, can become manipulative and even abusive. I hope this is not true in your case, but please pay attention to your feelings and do whatever you can to identify the source now before you just accept this as the way it has to be.

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