Alright, y’all. It’s time to get honest about what may be the biggest reason why you and your significant other have been fighting. It’s possible that it stems from you being too damn defensive.
Are you feeling defensive right now? I’d investigate that *wink, wink*.
I mean, come on. Be honest. When your partner brings up an issue, do you listen and try to find a solution or a compromise? Or, do you get defensive?
Maybe you get defensive because they display a similar behavior and it makes you mad that they have the audacity to point it out in you. Or, maybe, you get defensive because you simply weren’t in the mental space to hear any criticism, so you turn it around and make it about you feeling “attacked”.
Don’t get me wrong, we can all get defensive from time to time. We get annoyed, we feel our needs aren’t being met, we get tired, and sometimes we simply feel like we don’t have the energy to actually solve the problem – so we lash out. We lash out because, well, it feels better at the time to let out some aggression. But, in the long run, this just creates even more problems.
Sure, getting out some of that aggression and some of those little pent-up resentments is great from time to time. I won’t pretend that I haven’t felt closer to my partner after a good screaming match. Sometimes it really is great to just get it out and to know where you honestly stand with your partner.
But… it’s important to NOT let this defensive bickering become a cycle that leads to you always arguing and never actually dealing with the problems.
The occasional argument can be helpful, but if you’re arguing all the time – it might be time to evaluate why.
Generally, arguments seem to stem from one or both people being too defensive when the other is just trying to address a problem.
So…Before you’re tempted to get defensive again; check out these tips to avoid it:
Get Over Yourself – It’s Not All About You
The next time you feel “attacked” when your partner brings up an issue, try to evaluate WHY you feel that way before getting defensive about it. Are they really trying to make you feel bad or blame you for something? Or, are you struggling personally and taking that out on them when really their point is valid?
Sure, your partner may be way out of line, but how will you know or know to what extent unless you listen to their concerns? It’s possible that they are stressed and taking it out on you. While this isn’t necessarily “fair”, it means it’s not about YOU and you need to listen to understand what it IS about. Not every problem your partner brings to you is a personal attack on you.
Sometimes it’s about making life WITH you better.
Listen To Understand – Not Just To Respond
Regardless of whether or not your partner’s concern is “valid” (in your opinion), you need to take a minute to understand the problem. Realize that everyone gets emotional (yes, even men) and that you could just be overreacting to their criticism because you’re feeling emotional about it.
Then try to understand why your partner feels the way they do without inserting too much of your own emotional baggage. It’s important to let your partner express their emotions without making it about how YOU feel. The time for that is after they’re done expressing their emotions, not during. Try not to steal the focus when your partner is trying to open up to you.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Before getting defensive, put yourself in your partner’s position. How would you want your partner to respond to you if you were voicing a concern? How would you want your partner to respond if you were having the issue they are having? I’m sure you wouldn’t want them to be defensive and make you feel like you can’t come to them with problems. Am I right?
Also, consider their unique background. Past traumas and the relationships we observe (especially the relationship between our parents) can affect the way we react to current stresses in our romantic relationships. It’s important to keep both of these things in mind when listening to your partner.
Find A Balance
Not being defensive when your partner comes to you with issues, concerns, or criticisms is vital to a relationship. It’s important in a relationship to make the other person feel like you’re someone who will make them feel heard, supported, and like you’re willing to work to make your relationship the best it can be.
But, at the same time, it’s important that you’re being heard as well and not being taken for granted. Also, it’s important to be standing up for yourself IF that is needed.
Therefore, it’s important to find a balance that you can both work with to make your relationship as strong as it can be.