How To Stop Getting Defensive About Everything

The Angry Therapist
4 min readFeb 8, 2024

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I used to feel the need to be defensive, and didn’t care to understand what triggers that response. Defensiveness is often a natural reaction that stems from various factors such as fear, ego, or a desire to prove ourselves right. For me, it’s been helpful to recognize that defensiveness can create distance and push people away, which is not what I want in my relationships.

Being defensive is a common reaction that many of us experience in various aspects of our lives, including relationships. However, constantly being defensive can create distance and push people away. If you find yourself wanting to stop being defensive, here are a few strategies that can help:

  1. Awareness: When we are defensive, we tend to prioritize protecting ourselves and proving our point rather than truly listening to the other person. This lack of genuine listening can make the other person feel unheard, invalidated, and unimportant. Over time, this can erode trust and create a sense of distance in the relationship. The first step is to be aware of when you feel defensive. Pay attention to your body’s physical reactions, such as tension or constriction, as well as your emotional responses. Recognizing these signs can help you catch yourself in the moment and pause before reacting defensively.
  2. Understand the root cause: Take a moment to understand why you are being defensive. Is it out of fear, ego, or a need to prove yourself right? By understanding the underlying reasons behind your defensiveness, you can start to address them more effectively. By taking the time to reflect and become aware of my defensiveness, I’ve discovered that certain triggers can set off this response. It could be a particular topic of conversation, criticism, or feeling misunderstood. Understanding these triggers has allowed me to be more aware of when I start to feel defensive and take a step back to assess the situation.
  3. Emotional speed bump: When you feel the urge to be defensive, try to create an emotional speed bump. Take a breath and give yourself a moment to pause and reflect before responding. This can help you break the automatic reaction and give you space to choose a more constructive response. Reflecting on the underlying reasons behind my defensiveness has also been crucial. It has helped me realize that…

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The Angry Therapist

Author of “I Used To Be A Miserable F*CK” and “Single. on Purpose.” IG: theangrytherapist