Relationships Work: KiCK’N Relationship Tips
With Lori and Bob Hollander
Secrets to Creating Extraordinary Relationships
You can turn conflict into connection by containing your defensiveness.
“Defensiveness is a poison pill to good relationships. In conflict, defensiveness is like blood in the water to a shark. A little here, a little there, and in no time the situation has degenerated into a feeding frenzy. Remaining non-defensive is the single most important thing you can do to increase your effectiveness when working to turn conflict into collaboration.” -Judge Jim Tamm
Unchecked defensiveness in a relationship can lead to its demise. If, however, you and your partner identify, reflect upon and seek understanding of defensiveness it can be a window into a deeper understanding of yourself and each other, and lead to greater emotional intimacy.
It’s human nature to become defensive when we perceive we are being attacked. In relationships we defend ourselves when our partner: criticizes us, indicates we are wrong, or condemns what we are doing. The act of being defensive puts up a barrier or shield and blocks the perceived strike. The fallout is that it also escalates anger, impedes the flow of communication, and prevents a deeper understanding of the communication dynamics between you.
Containing defensiveness is counter intuitive, and yet that is exactly what we need to work towards, not allowing our responses to cut off the connection between ourselves and our partner. In order to achieve this we must understand what our defenses represent.