Learn how defensiveness fosters disconnection in your relationships

Learn how defensiveness fosters disconnection in your relationships

When someone responds negatively to something you said or did, your instinct may be to get defensive. Your defensiveness is an attempt to change how that person feels. Their reaction didn’t feel good to you, for many reasons.

Rather than trying to change someone else’s emotional response, which doesn’t work, learn to be curious about their reaction. Ask questions that will help you understand why the person feels that way. Once you understand this person, your reaction may be very different from what it was in your defensiveness.

Foster connection by seeking to understand your partner. And, ask that your partner seek to understand you, too.

Developing relational skills takes practice. Practice letting go of defensiveness, and embracing curiosity.


Copyright © Caitlin Cantor 2015

The information contained on Caitlin’s Couch, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and any other material thereon, is for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended to (and does not), provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to the reader or to any other individual. The sole purpose of Caitlin’s Couch is to promote discussion, dialogue and awareness of various topics relating to lifestyle and mental health. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Caitlin’s Couch.


  1. Something I never thought about – the emotion behind my partner responding in a negative way. Always focused on the content. In the heat of the moment, it is hard to stop and think about it. But, now that I am aware that the response is more than just negative words, I will try.

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