This month’s Ask Coach Kathy talks about talking to a partner when they are hyper-defensive.
My partner gets hyper-defensive whenever I express my disappointment about something. I feel like what starts out as my feeling on a situation turns into a monologue as to why my mate was justified. How do I deal with this?
Oh, boy, this is not easy. Assuming the delivery of your feelings are focused on how you feel rather than blaming your mate, your mate is more likely to hear your concerns. If, however, your mate’s defensive nature is so imprinted that he or she has no clue it’s happening, that’s a different situation.
If that’s the case, I recommend you bring up the topic of “talking about how you’re both talking” at a non-conflict moment. You won’t want to start this conversation on the heels of an already tense interaction. This is a delicate situation because it sounds like your mate is not aware of his or her defensive mode.
It’s going to be up to you to help your partner hear the defensiveness by saying, “I’m wondering … do you hear defensiveness in when you talk about _____?” Remember, this is done at a different time than when your mate is actually showing defensiveness.
Little by little, your partner might begin to hear himself or herself and slowly change.
The other option is to seek help through a coach who can objectively draw attention to the defense habit.
Whether in a long-term relationship or just casually dating, check out my 10 rules of dating. Download your 10 rules here.
Do you have sensitive issues in your relationships that you need help with? Ask Coach Kathy about it. Submit your question to Coach Kathy using the form below: