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How to Talk to Someone Who Is Constantly Defensive

It may be a really aggravating experience. However, there are methods to get through someone's own defences.

Perhaps you’re conversing with your spouse. Or a companion. Alternatively, brother. Alternatively, a coworker. Whatever it is, you know the words will not go through, no matter how carefully you say them. It’s simply that they’re so protective. “It’s not a personal assault,” you want to shout, or “I’m simply trying to have a dialogue.” “Can you just quit being so defensive?” you mostly want to ask.

But here’s the thing: they probably won’t be able to. It’s right in the term itself. They’re protecting themselves. It signifies that there is a danger. It may be you, but it’s also possible that your words are setting off a chain reaction. Once their anxieties have been sparked, all of their attention is drawn to danger. It’s difficult for the defensive individual to break free. And telling someone to “don’t become so defensive” is about as useful as telling them to “relax.” So, what should you do if you’re talking to someone who is usually defensive? Because you’re going into the conversation heated, ratchet up your empathy and dial down your assumptions. You’re bracing yourself for that person to feel intimidated, and it ends up being that person who threatens you.

How to Talk to Someone Who Always Gets Defensive | Fatherly

“Then we have two reptile brains communicating to each other,” says certified psychologist and author of How to Be Nice to Yourself, “And then we have two reptilian brains talking to each other.” That leaves you with just three choices: fight, flight, or freeze. That’s something you’ll want to open up. You can have a look at it. It implies approaching the situation with a fresh perspective, almost as if you’re starting from scratch, where the past doesn’t matter, and instead of pulling on a rope and attempting to “win” the debate, you let it go.

How to Get Past Someone’s Restrictions

There isn’t a single thing to say to a defensive individual, but it’s the same as any other successful conversation. You may also use phrases like “I’m telling this because I know you can handle it and because you’re incredibly clever” to turn any criticism into a demonstration of confidence.
But there is no such thing as magic. Sensitization is a term used to describe how defensive people may interpret even the most innocuous statement into an assault. It’s the same sensation as when your tongue is burned by hot coffee. Everything else will set it off, no matter how nice it is. Your words, no matter how careful, have the power to accomplish that. Recognize the reality at those times. It may be something like, “This might not be the best moment.” “When would be the best time?” “It appears that what I’m saying isn’t working,” you may say. “How would you go about solving this problem?” You’re out of the conflict in any of these instances, and you’ve delegated the duty to the other person to give some insight and assistance with the answer.

Hitting Refresh

The fact that the same subject keeps coming back in disagreements, especially with family and spouses, is a typical source of frustration. A meta-conversation is one method. That is, discuss the topic of discussing the

“I’ve noticed that when we talk about your mother, things go off,” you may add. “What can we do?” says the narrator. You’re not talking about the issue here; instead, you’re talking about the issue, and that one step removed makes it simpler for the other person to participate. Rather than squabbling, you’ve decided to work together on the problem, which is referred to as united detachment in couples counseling.

Coming into the conversation fresh, as if it’s the first time, also helps. You avoid phrases like “I know you’re going to become defensive,” which has never prompted anyone to exhale.

It entails being fully engaged in the dialogue that is going to take place. It’s impossible to do this every time, but deep breathing might help you settle down if you anticipate a tough conversation. Observing three things you see, hear, and feel in that sequence might also help. It brings you back to the present moment.

All of this seems possible and certainly beneficial, but it also seems a little excessive, especially in light of someone else’s triggers. It’s not your fault, in any case.

Perhaps, and it would be too much if you had to go through these possibilities with someone all the time. However, if it just happens once in a while with someone you care about or with whom you need to continue working, it could be better to swallow your pride and focus on what matters most in the long run. “Do you prefer being right or the relationship?” “It’s the difference between being correct and being productive.”

 

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