The Third Horseman is DEFENSIVENESS
Defensiveness is a self-protection mechanism which comes out in the form of moral outrage or evoking a sense of victimhood in an attempt to fend off a perceived attack.
People often become defensive when they believe they are being criticized (First Horseman of Toxic Communication). Defensiveness is a way to push the problem away but it never helps to solve the issue at hand.
Defensiveness is a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying that the problem isn’t me, it’s you. At times this blame extends to other people, the family we grew up in or the world in general. however, the problem is not resolved, and the conflict escalates further, which paves the way for other horsemen, such as criticism and contempt, to enter into the argument.
The remedy is to accept responsibility, even if only for part of the conflict.
“Did you call your parents to let them know that we’re not coming tonight as you promised this morning?”
Defensiveness: “I was just too busy today. You know how busy my schedule is! Why didn’t you just do it?”
Remedy: “Oops, I forgot. I should have asked you this morning to do it because I knew my day would be too busy. Let me call them right now.”
By taking responsibility for part of the conflict, “I forgot”, this partner prevents the conflict from escalating by admitting their role in the situation.
Communication is the backbone of any relationship. As relationship specialists, StartPoint Counselling has helped many couples remove the toxicity in their communication and rebuild their relationships.
Call us now on 07 3458 1725, and we can equip you to change your relationship into one that you will want to be part of.