Defensive

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Many members of the metaphysical/spiritual communities are treated with the hard hand of defensiveness by others because they make a "different" kind of sense that often hits the proverbial nail on the head and can cause an uncomfortableness that runs deep. What might be the reason for this?

On Being Defensive by Kellen of Kellvision

"People don't get defensive unless they have something to defend."

One of my mentors taught me this and it is so very true.  What does it mean to "get defensive"?

The dictionaory defines defensive as "a state or posture of defense".  It is a reaction to someone else that comes from anxiety, fear, guilt or insecurity.  Defensiveness is an emotional response rather than a logical one.  Someone has hit a nerve.  Someone has pushed a button.  And off you go.  You are reacting rather than acting.  Look at the last time you snapped at someone, withdrew into a deadly silence, or played the blame game.  You were probably being defensive.  Defensiveness is an overreaction to the actions of another.  It's taking things personally which are not.

Why do people get defensive?

People can get defensive for a variety of reasons and I cannot possibly cover all of them here.  But I will cover some of the broader reasons and give some specific examples.  Some of the more common reasons are;  denial, guilt, insecurity, fear or trauma.  Usually, defensiveness comes from feeling unsafe or threatened.  If someone feels attacked, unfairly criticized or judged they may snap.

If you are guilty of something (i.e. cheating on your diet) and someone accuses you of it, you may snap on them while at the same time trying to deny it.  This is what my mentor referred to when she said, "they have something to defend".  It can also occur when someone is in denial.  This is closely linked to guilt.  If a Maria has convinced herself that no one can tell when she is high and someone mentions she looks high, she may snap at them. 

Insecurity can result in defensiveness.  If I am really pathetic at math problems and really sensitive about it, someone pointing out that my math really stinks might get an earful.  People who grew up in very hypercritical families may become defensive if you point out a mistake they made.  People who are overweight and feel really awful about it may snap if you mention their weight.  I'm reminded of the late Michael Jackson and his brothers taunting him with the name, "Big Nose".  As an adult, I imagine Jackson would have been very sensitive about his nose and likely would have snapped at anyone who mentioned it. He definitely became defensive when people suggested he had plastic surgery on it.

People who have been traumatized or who happen to be very fearful can also snap on you if you put them in what they perceive as a threatening or dangerous position.  If someone has been hurt by another person, leaning over them, backing them into a corner, coming up behind them or causing a loud noise around them may cause them to lash out.  If it is a man who was traumatized he may be hypersensitive to any comments about his masculinity or sexuality.  If it is a woman who was raped or molested she may be overly sensitive to any comments which may be interpreted as seductive or having sexual overtones.

It's important to realize that the defensiveness lies within the person themselves, not in what is being said to them.  Obviously this doesn't apply to someone who is being verbally abused, criticized unfairly, manipulated, etc.  Defensiveness is when you make a simple observation of fact and are met with an emotional lashing out.

On Being Defensive
"People don't get defensive unless they have something to defend."

One of my mentors taught me this and it is so very true.  What does it mean to "get defensive"?

The dictionaory defines defensive as "a state or posture of defense".  It is a reaction to someone else that comes from anxiety, fear, guilt or insecurity.  Defensiveness is an emotional response rather than a logical one.  Someone has hit a nerve.  Someone has pushed a button.  And off you go.  You are reacting rather than acting.  Look at the last time you snapped at someone, withdrew into a deadly silence, or played the blame game.  You were probably being defensive.  Defensiveness is an overreaction to the actions of another.  It's taking things personally which are not.

Why do people get defensive?

People can get defensive for a variety of reasons and I cannot possibly cover all of them here.  But I will cover some of the broader reasons and give some specific examples.  Some of the more common reasons are;  denial, guilt, insecurity, fear or trauma.  Usually, defensiveness comes from feeling unsafe or threatened.  If someone feels attacked, unfairly criticized or judged they may snap.

If you are guilty of something (i.e. cheating on your diet) and someone accuses you of it, you may snap on them while at the same time trying to deny it.  This is what my mentor referred to when she said, "they have something to defend".  It can also occur when someone is in denial.  This is closely linked to guilt.  If a Maria has convinced herself that no one can tell when she is high and someone mentions she looks high, she may snap at them. 

Insecurity can result in defensiveness.  If I am really pathetic at math problems and really sensitive about it, someone pointing out that my math really stinks might get an earful.  People who grew up in very hypercritical families may become defensive if you point out a mistake they made.  People who are overweight and feel really awful about it may snap if you mention their weight.  I'm reminded of the late Michael Jackson and his brothers taunting him with the name, "Big Nose".  As an adult, I imagine Jackson would have been very sensitive about his nose and likely would have snapped at anyone who mentioned it. He definitely became defensive when people suggested he had plastic surgery on it.

People who have been traumatized or who happen to be very fearful can also snap on you if you put them in what they perceive as a threatening or dangerous position.  If someone has been hurt by another person, leaning over them, backing them into a corner, coming up behind them or causing a loud noise around them may cause them to lash out.  If it is a man who was traumatized he may be hypersensitive to any comments about his masculinity or sexuality.  If it is a woman who was raped or molested she may be overly sensitive to any comments which may be interpreted as seductive or having sexual overtones.

It's important to realize that the defensiveness lies within the person themselves, not in what is being said to them.  Obviously this doesn't apply to someone who is being verbally abused, criticized unfairly, manipulated, etc.  Defensiveness is when you make a simple observation of fact and are met with an emotional lashing out.

http://www.kellevision.com/kellevision/2010/02/on-being-defensive.html