Episode 132 Defensiveness (1)

Defensiveness – Losing Relationship Strategy #7

Episode 132 – Defensiveness

The seventh Losing Strategy is being defensive. When we get defensive, we are going to war with the other person. We put on our armor and we gather our weapons. Defensiveness comes from our inability or our refusal to take a look at ourselves and self-confront. It is also one of the 4 horsemen the Gottman’s have identified as red flags in a relationship.

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Full Transcript

Tina Gosney  00:00

When you can self confront and drop your defenses, you are most attractive and appealing to other people. And you build trust in a relationship.

Tina Gosney  00:14

Welcome to the coaching your family relationships podcast, where we work on building a stronger you so that you can survive and thrive. No matter what is happening in your family. I’m your host certified Family Relationship Coach Tina Gosney. Let’s get started.

Tina Gosney  00:36

Welcome to the seventh, and the final episode in this series on losing relationship strategies. Now, just a reminder, the first five of these losing relationship strategies were developed by Terry real, who was one of my mentors and teachers. The last two, the last episode and this episode, were added by Jennifer Finlayson five. And she’s also one of my mentors.

Tina Gosney  01:02

And I just want to review the first six because today we’re doing part seven, like I just said. So the first one, number one is the need to be right. Number two is trying to control number three, unbridled self expression. Number four, Punishment and Retaliation. Number five, withdrawal. Number six, resentful and costly accommodation. And today we’re talking about defensiveness.

Tina Gosney  01:33

Now, if you are familiar with the four horsemen from the Gottman, that’s an idea that goblins have developed. They call it the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Because once these four things show up in a relationship, it’s, it’s a really bad sign. And defensiveness is one of them. And so defensiveness is something we really need to address. And of course, it’s going to be a losing relationship strategy.

Tina Gosney  02:00

I’m not going to just leave you the series with a bunch of losing things, these are all the things that you’re doing wrong, without giving you another way to deal with your relationships. And to come at your relationships from a different angle, I’m going to give you some winning strategies as well. And those will happen mainly in this class that I’m teaching called Healthy Relationships from the inside out, I will be going into more depth into how we use these losing relationship strategies. And not just in our intimate partner relationships, we use them in our family relationships, in our, our work relationships, in our neighbor relationships, we use them all the time, because how we do one thing is how we do everything. We don’t relate to one person differently and use different relationship skills with one person than we do with another because we have our skills and we use them no matter where we are.

Tina Gosney  02:56

So I’m going to give you some better tools and better skills. I’m going to teach you how to move start moving past those losing strategies, I want you to start thinking relationally, not transactionally. And all of these losing strategies are very transactional. That starts with how you are dealing with yourself inside. That’s why this class is named healthy relationships from the inside out. We don’t have control over what other people do, what they say how they act, how they feel, we do not get to control that. And sometimes that feels like we are so powerless in our relationships, if we can can’t change somebody else. But that is so not the case. There is so much power you have by going inward and inside of yourself, and dealing with what’s going on in there to affect the relationship on the outside. So powerful.

Tina Gosney  03:52

And I want to teach you this process, because relationships are so important in our lives. In fact, I like to call them our greatest teachers. I think they are human growing machines. And what we learn the best from them is when they’re not going well. When we’re everything is going well. We don’t really look at any need to do anything differently. We don’t grow, when we are making lots of mistakes and things are not going well. That’s a goldmine for growth opportunities. As painful as it is, it’s a goldmine for growth opportunities. So I would love for you to come to this class. It’s in just a couple of days. Please go if you’re interested, please go click that link in the show notes and attend. I would love to have you there.

Tina Gosney  04:37

There was a period of my life a good chunk of my life that I taught music classes to young children. I see now I see so many correlations between what I do now and coaching. And what I did then in teaching music classes, I could do like a whole series of podcasts just on that. But I’m going to talk about just this one day that I had in class with this one particular student. So these classes were group keyboarding classes. And these were very young children, these were five and six year olds. Now teaching Keyboarding in a group setting, to very young children can be challenging. And some of these kids, they excelled right away, they picked it up right away. And they were loving what they were doing. They didn’t struggle with any of the material that was presented with them on a weekly basis. Some of the kids were the exact opposite. Some of them struggled from day one. And they it was never easy for them. It was always a struggle, and they got really frustrated.

Tina Gosney  05:44

Well, on this one particular day, I was walking around, we were all playing a song together, we try to play songs together. And I was walking around, as we’re singing, and they were playing their keyboards and we’re singing along with them. I was trying to help each child notice where each child was and what they needed help with with that song. And I always spent a little bit more time with the kids that were struggling than the kids that were not struggling. On that particular day, there was one girl who she tended to struggle, just generally, all the time, but she had not practiced the week before. And so she was having a particularly difficult time that day, she was really struggling. And I spent a little bit more time with her than with anyone else, not not something that I thought was very noticeable, but that I think she picked up on. And as soon as that song was over, this precious little girl, she burst into tears. And then she pointed her finger at me and she said “Miss Tina hates me.” I was shocked. I was so surprised. I was thinking, What did I do to make her think that I hate her? I was racking my brain thinking, I can’t think of anything that I did. I couldn’t see how I had done anything that would have caused her to say this.

Tina Gosney  07:04

Because as a teacher, for young children in music keyboarding classes, you have to muster all of your patience with that class and positivity to feed that into those kids, right. So I was being a very patient and kind of teacher. And I realized that she was noticing that she was not keeping up with the rest of the class. And that I had spent more time with her than I did with anyone else. When she pointed her finger at me and said Miss Tina hates me. That was a defensive move for her. If she could take the attention off of her and put it on me, then she was able to feel better about herself. She was thinking she needed to blame someone else for the situation. And she didn’t want it to be her wish she was not able to tolerate blaming herself. And so it was easier for her to deflect that blame. And to put it on to me. She is only five years old, she uses precious little struggling five year old that was feeling so bad about herself.

Tina Gosney  08:10

Isn’t it interesting that even at five years old, we use these losing strategies that we get defensive, and we can’t take the blame. We can’t take the responsibility for something that we’ve done. And so we push that blame off onto somebody else.

Tina Gosney  08:26

What do you think about what’s the problem with being defensive? What is the what really is the problem with it? Well, when we get defensive, we don’t look inward, we’re pointing outward, just like this little girl did. We do not self confront. We don’t see how what we have done has contributed to creating the situation we don’t see our own part. So it says I’m going to defend myself, I’m going to blame you. And I’m going to deflect all of this badness and this terribleness I’m feeling about myself, I’m going to push it on to you.

Tina Gosney  09:02

Byron Katie, and this is a quote of hers that I have said many times on this podcast, she said “Defense is the first act of war.” Think about that. When we are going to war, and we’re going on the defense. We’re getting out our weapons. It’s sometimes we’re saying like I’m going to drag up all your past failings and all the ways you’ve let me down. Sometimes we use that weapon. We drag up all these things from the past. Sometimes we drag out the weapon of you hurt me so I’m going to hurt you. I’m justified in hurting you. And we go there.

Tina Gosney  09:40

What we’re what we don’t do is we’re not willing to take an honest look at ourselves and see what’s true about ourselves. Because we’re only focused outward. We are not dealing with ourselves and how we are showing up in their relationship. And we’re just saying like, I’m not willing to look at What is true for you, I am just trying to protect myself and I want to keep my own reality, I’m not willing to look at things from your reality. This is a way that we do not deal with ourselves. And we do not look in the mirror.

Tina Gosney  10:15

This is called self confrontation. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Self confrontation does not sound like a pleasant activity to do. And it’s not super pleasant. I gotta tell you, it’s not I’ve done a lot of it. But I’ve done a whole if you want more on this particular idea, I have done a whole episode last year on this, it was in the first part of 2023. So go back and look for that episode. But the if you’re wanting more information on self confrontation, and you’re ready to go there, you’re like, I want to get rid of this defensiveness, then I suggest that you go listen to that episode, that’s going to be a super great place for you to go and get more reference and more information about self confrontation.

Tina Gosney  11:03

But what we do when we get defensive, is we start pouting, we started acting hurt, we start telling someone else this other person, you’re causing harm to me, instead of you looking in the mirror to see if what they’re saying is true. You’re just saying, you’re harming me. And you’re not looking at to see, is there any truth, truthfulness to what this person is telling me?

Tina Gosney  11:27

I know this is really difficult, but when we’re in a conversation with someone, and they’re telling us something, that’s very hard for us to hear about ourselves, we stop listening. In fact, we only listen long enough to find something that we disagree with. And then we fixate on it. And we think of all the things that we want to say to them, it could be at that point, we either interrupt them and don’t let them finish and we tell them how they’re wrong. Or we just stop listening, and we wait for them to stop speaking. And then we tell them how much how wrong they are. But we don’t what we don’t do is say how are they right?

Tina Gosney  12:06

This is a common communication error that so many people have, we just stop listening, especially if we’re feeling defensive, a defensive person does not want to be known. And when I talk about being like willing to be known or willing to no another person, that is the definition of intimacy. And this is not intimacy in a sexual way, this is intimacy into the very core of who I am, I’m not willing to look at the core of who I am. And I’m not willing to look at the core of who you are.

Tina Gosney  12:41

Defensiveness, blocks intimacy, because intimacy, because intimacy says, I’m willing to know you, I’m willing to be known by you, even when it hurts, or it’s very difficult. And defensiveness stops intimacy in its tracks. It also resists change. Defensiveness resists our human, our very human need and desire to change. It resists us looking in a new direction, it resists looking inward, and is just focused outward. And if you are wanting to grow as a person, and you’re only focused outward into things that you see out sight of yourself, then you are not going to be able to grow, you have to be willing to see what you don’t see. our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our friends, they all see us better than we do.

Tina Gosney  13:40

And sometimes they try to tell us things that we don’t want to hear that are difficult, but we don’t want to hear them when we get defensive. Because our ego will take over. Do you know what your ego is? We could do a whole nother series on ego. But our ego is a collection of stories of who we think we are. That’s basically what it is. But those stories of who we think we are, are so true, and we will defend them to the death. Sometimes we think any perceived calling out of our weakness is an attack on our self worth. So we really fight hard to defend ourselves against it. That is an ego move, for sure.

Tina Gosney  14:21

Sometimes, we are not strong enough in our own self esteem, especially when we someone’s telling us something that we can get defensive about. And our self esteem is not strong enough to support us. Instead of looking inside, we will defend we will go to war instead and win this class and the healthy relationships from the inside out class. I’m going to go into depth into self esteem and why where we get it, how we develop it, where it comes from. It’s so important to our relationships that I’m going to have have a whole section on self esteem. Because the way that we think about ourselves affects every part of our life, we need to have a healthy, strong self esteem in order to have a healthy and strong relationship, we can’t have one without the other.

Tina Gosney  15:16

And when we don’t have a healthy self esteem, and we let our ego take over, we’re not willing to look at ourselves in a true light, we believe our own blindness, did you know that we are all blind to ourselves, it’s we’re like, we’re all living inside of a box of our own life, the directions to our life live on the outside of the box. But we live on the inside of the box. So other people outside of us see things much more clearly regarding us than we do of ourselves, we are so blinded to ourselves. But when we know that, we can address it. But when we get defensive, we are not willing to look at that, we’re not willing to say somebody else might see me better than I see myself.

Tina Gosney  16:02

And they healthier relationships class, I’m going to go deeper into this defensiveness losing strategy, you’re gonna leave this class with a plan to start working on this. You know, when we self confront, we are the most appealing to other people, we actually build trust in a relationship. When we release the need to be defensive, and we self confront.

Tina Gosney  16:28

Here’s one thing that you can do to start doing that, I want you to ask yourself this question: “What would it be like to be in a relationship with me?”

Tina Gosney  16:40

I’ve asked my clients that question before, and it usually will stop them in their tracks, and it’s very eye opening. So if you’re willing to go there, that can be a difficult one. But what is it like to be in a relationship with you, we’re going to go into this in the healthy relationships from the inside out class, I’ll be talking about the seven losing strategies. We’ll be talking more about self esteem, we’ll be talking about self confrontation, we talking about developing a stronger you and how to do that, because we start from the inside. If we want change on the outside, we have to start on the inside. There is a link in the show notes I am so looking forward to seeing you at this class.

Tina Gosney  17:25

And just one more reminder, content consumption does not make changes. To really make changes, we need to put that learning into action. We’ll do that in the healthy relationships from the inside out class. Check out the link in the show notes. And I will see you there.

Tina Gosney  17:42

If you like what you’re hearing on the podcast and you want to take the next step, set up a strategy call with me. I offer a discounted coaching call for first time clients. This is perfect for you if you’re wanting to try out this coaching thing and find out what it’s all about. Or if you’re someone who has this one relationship issue where you feel stuck, you just need some help with it. The price for these calls will be going up in April of 2024. And for the first quarter of 2024. I’ll be offering 24 of these calls at the current price of $25. These calls will go fast and when I’ve done 24 of them, the price goes up. Schedule your call today before they’re gone.