Why We’re So Defensive and How to Stop

Leon's Existential Cafe

We make significant mistakes when we’re protecting ourselves.

Defensiveness, self-aggrandizement, bragging, deflecting, perfectionism; whatever you want to label it, we sometimes suck at maintaining our relationships. When stuck in fight or flight, the innate system that helps us avert or challenge danger, we cultivate responses that might benefit us in the short-term but, once crystalized, insidiously corrode our connections. Consider the malignant narcissist, who desperately needs approval. He attempts to win you over by gloating about his professional and interpersonal conquests, fostering the sensed certainty stemming from admiration. The belief behind the patterned behavior is, ‘If she admires me, she’ll stay.” And at its core hides the absolute terror of abandonment, which itself cloaks a deep sense of shame. Narcissism, then, becomes a way to sustain some perverted form of intimacy, where you may not know me, but neither do I.

And narcissism is just one defense. Defensiveness (the pattern…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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