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#372674 - 10/18/11 12:24 AM Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it?
gjonbos Offline

Registered: 09/23/11
Posts: 49
Loc: MA
One of the constant themes I struggle with at home with my fiancé and in general is defensiveness. From posts here and other things I've read, I think I understand why the behavior exists and where it comes from, but how the hell do I stop it. It's to the point that I negate anything that she says to maintain the "status quo". I hate when something isn't right, and especially if I am at fault for I put up the defenses, raise my voice because the loudest one wins, enter denial mode, and discount anyone else's feelings in an attempt to make it go away....which naturally does the opposite and only makes things worse. It's a horrible trait that I can't seem to shake, and one that really causes alot of stress and pain in our lives. I've beaten down the confidence and fight that once lived in her, and I hate being responsible for that. I feel like a bully, an I know she sees me that way as well. I want to be a supportive listener who can hear criticism and do something productive with it. I know that things in life can't always be perfect, and its normal to make mistakes......the hurdle is just being able to cope with and accept that. I'll take anything you got......

"Place your past into a book
Put in everything you ever took
Place your past into a book
Burn the pages let them cook"

#372783 - 10/19/11 05:57 AM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: gjonbos]
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1743
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hey Gjonbos

It takes a lot of courage to say what you said here. It sounds as though I wrote the letter. I am doing exactly the same to my wife and yes I feel guilty. It is as though I feel she is always attacking me, when she really isn't. Her heart is to help me not attack.
God I have put this woman through hell.
Well one thing I can suggest is that SHE goes and joins something like CODA or Al-Anon. There is also a good book for her called Co-Dependent no more. When she is finished studying that one you can read it to.
How will this help.
Well it will strengthen her and show her that not everything you do is her fault. She will also start to understand where you are coming from, and develop her own self esteem again.
Be careful though, If she takes to the program, she will no longer take your crap.
I have however found that this is good for me. I start with the shouting and she calmly tells me to chill, I then suddenly realize that I am doing IT again.
It is a tough time time to find who we are, and we go through a lot to find the "original version of me" The version that was stolen. Good thing is, I believe that we eventually do find it.

Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#372791 - 10/19/11 10:04 AM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: whome]
mpm01 Offline

Registered: 09/27/11
Posts: 85
Loc: Australia
Hi gjonbos, just thought that I would let you know that I know exactly where you are coming from... I do things EXACTLY as you describe... it is so frustrating. I seem to even know when I am doing it, while I am doing it, but can't seem to stop myself. But, with my intensive therapy, often dealing specifically with this issue, I think that I am slowly getting better, but ever so slowly.
I also will be taking on board Martin's (whome) advise. I love my partner to the extreme and I think that I owe her so much for putting up with me for the past 14 years.
Look after yourself and look after your loved one

I apreciate you all being here for me and for each other...

The world just became a better place

#372798 - 10/19/11 12:15 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: mpm01]
kb8715 Offline

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 811
Gabe there is an entirely other way to go.

Consider if it would be more healthy for you each if your Fiance was less involved in your recovery.

Any of us can become a co-dependent, and yes our loved ones very much can be traumatized by doing this right with us.

There are some really good people here who have gotten great support and love by disclosing fully and asking friends, partners and loved ones to do this with them. Awesome when that works.

My T warned not to make this a "team" project. So while my wife is very supportive of me, she is also very happy simply knowing I am doing all it takes but without the full deatil. She knows many of your names by example & thinks It's great I try to support people here, but I don't think she even knows what the intials CSA stands for. To that point we never have had a cross word or argument on this topic.

Hey there are lots of roads to recovery but it sounds like your road has some pot holes right now.

I guess I am saying for you guys right now, less is more.

I hope that makes sense & helps. No way no how should you guys loose what you had because of this. No way Gabe.

"You can get far in life by pushing except through a door marked PULL...." Profile quote in my son's senior year HS Yearbook.

#372895 - 10/20/11 01:42 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: kb8715]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758
Maybe once you work on the core issues in T the need might be less.

You "have" to look at what your acting out on, the old bad messages...and then maybe figure out that the frustration is not coming from the poeple whom we are being defensive with, but what we aer dealing with internally.

hopefully, and slowly she will also find her confidence and you guys will be a force.


#372896 - 10/20/11 01:44 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: kb8715]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758

Edited by Castle (10/20/11 01:45 PM)

#372915 - 10/20/11 06:16 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: Castle]
newground Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1154
Loc: michigan
hey man it is amazing to me just how many of these things we all share.defensiveness is something I do too and it is so hard to not do it the bestthingI have found is to be willing to go back once you realize you were wrong and try to help her understand.I have given permission sometimes for her to remind me on certain things. still a struggle but we get better each year

Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

#373517 - 10/27/11 03:55 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: newground]
Regs Offline

Registered: 12/03/08
Posts: 153
Loc: Oklahoma
I think many of us have spent so much time disliking ourselves, living in shame, wrapped in guilt and shrouded by fear. We are our own worst critic. Thus, any perceived criticism from the ones we love is just too much. I say perceived criticism because the fact is, much of the time, we are not being criticized at all. Rather, we spend our days on high alert mode constantly looking for danger and threats. Thus, we tend to see danger and threat everywhere, even from the ones who love us most. We are then defensive and angry and we often don’t even know why. This leaves our loved ones dazed, confused and hurt, and as you say, beaten down.

I think a lot of this comes from the wounded child within us. We are reacting to protect ourselves from more harm. It is a real bitch of a problem.

How do we get out of the pattern? Well, there is no easy fix, but in some ways it can be simple. Again, I am not saying it is easy. We have to continue to do our work. We have to confront the demons of our childhood and fight them to the death. That is, we have to regularly go to a good and qualified therapist. We have to be brave and force ourselves out of isolation, forming a core group of supportive and healthy survivors.

I also believe we have to tell our story. When ready, we have to face the pain, fear and shame and speak our truth. Every time the story is told, we reclaim more of the power that was stolen from us as children. We shine light in the dark places of our minds and lives. Speaking our truth is powerful. It ultimately allows us to live free of the shame that binds us to the past. It will allow you to live in and appreciate the present.

Until then, keep coming here. Keep going to therapy. Keep living every day. Never give up. A healthy and fulfilling recovery is absolutely possible. You can reach a point where the abuse is just one more unique aspect of who you are rather than the defining characteristic.

WoR Sequoia Alumni, April 2010

#373521 - 10/27/11 04:56 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: gjonbos]
Avery46 Offline

Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA
gjonbos and others,

Accepting "LOVE and COMPASSION" as the basis for what needs to come from me is the Key to good communication. This is tough as we learned some very terrible "messages" in the abuse. Believing in ourselves first is where "good" interactions come from.

Knowing we are getting upset and taking a break from the situation is important. Getting to the core issue of our being upset is important. "Working" with a good therapist individually is essential.

When we are in an uncomfortable situation (in conflict) taking deep breaths is essential.

I struggle with being defensive. I am not perfect and that is ok. Knowing I make mistakes and Knowing I can move on with love and compassion is important.

Hope this helps.


aka DJsport

#373540 - 10/27/11 08:25 PM Re: Defensive.....I get the pattern, how do I stop it? [Re: Avery46]
unhappycamper Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 756
Loc: VA
Things sometimes go wrong, don't work, move backwards during recovery. Sometimes I recognize that I could, or still can, do something differently to regain the lost ground and even gain more. Sometimes there seems to be no reason for the relapse, not even a "trigger," and no way to recoup except to start over. I dunno if it's bravery, when one has no choice, but it's what one has to do. Peace.


One always finds one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence. --Robertson Davies, Fifth Business

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