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Caree Brown L.C.S.W. Psychotherapy

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Recognizing Defensive Tactics in a Relationship

When you have been one half of a relationship for a long period of time, you get to know your partner in a unique and intense way. Their habits and routines become a large part of your life, and it is natural to have disagreements in a long-term relationship. Disagreements can be very healthy for your relationship, as they can mean that your spark as a couple is still strong and that you are still able to have your own opinions about situations. However, disagreements can become toxic quickly if you use personal and defensive language to communicate with your partner. Find out how you can recognize defensive tactics in your relationship, and how to communicate better with this eye-opening article from Caree Brown. Get quality and personalized couples therapy when you call to schedule your first appointment with Caree Brown today.

How to Spot Defensive Tactics in a Relationship

Being able to differentiate between normal disagreement language and defensive disagreement language is an essential part of any relationship. Whether you are the one using defensive language, or the one hearing it, being able to spot this tactic and stop it is key. Common defensive language includes invalidating your partner’s point of view, using guilt as a measure to persuade your partner, making the problem either larger or smaller than it really is, placating your partner and not giving their point of view real attention, and not taking responsibility for actions. All these common tactics are grouped under the umbrella of defensive language, and they can lead to an even bigger fight between you and your partner. Using guilt and invalidating your partner’s argument communicates to them that you don’t truly care about their feelings or their perspective on issues. All defensive language truly embodies this feeling, and that is why it is so important that you avoid utilizing it. By being defensive in an argument, your partner will feel personally attacked by your choice of phrasing, and the argument may increase to a very serious fight because of this. If you often feel like your partner is invalidating your opinion, or failing to take responsibility for actions, they may be exhibiting defensive language towards you. Try to communicate openly with them if you feel this way by sitting down with them at another time and calmly explaining how they make you feel during arguments.

If you feel like you or your partner consistently use one of the common defensive language tactics when arguing, it can be helpful to go through your most recent disagreement and think about your partner’s point of view. Putting yourself in their shoes is an effective way to understand where they are coming from and why. It can also be helpful to do the same exercise from your own point of view. After thinking about the situation from your partner’s perspective, start to analyze why you have a different opinion and strong opposite feelings. Once you can digest the why of your own argument, you can start to understand why you utilize defensive language towards your partner. If, after you have carefully analyzed your disagreements, you are still unable to come to a solution, getting couples therapy may be a great solution for you to consider. In therapy, you will be able to have an outside source hear about your relationship and provide further insight into your arguments. Using a qualified and intelligent therapist is integral to this process because they will be an excellent resource in helping you and your partner communicate more effectively. Schedule your first appointment for therapy with a skilled therapist from Caree Brown today and get your relationship back on the right track!