Has this ever happened to you? Your conversation begins normally. Next thing you know words are flying and you are in the middle of a heated argument. How did you get here? What went so terribly wrong?
When we get defensive, it is strictly an emotional mechanism from our caveman days … our Amy/Andy senses danger and gives us three options: fight [kill or be killed], run like crazy [so we can live to fight or flee another day], or not move a muscle and hope the danger doesn’t see us [become part of our surroundings].
In today’s age our danger usually isn’t the literal life-or-death crisis, yet it is a life-or-death scenario: to our ego, to our reputation, to our credibility, to our status ………. In other words, it’s our perception of how ‘strong’ or how ‘weak’ we will appear to others. And our perception is our reality. When we are in this state of mind, there is no logical or rational reasoning with us. It’s time for someone to take a step backwards – literally – and remove themselves from the situation. Only when cooler heads prevail can the discussion return to a solution-generating conversation.
Who are your defensive reactions protecting? If it’s yourself, what ‘part’ of yourself are you protecting? and from what?