Listen, we’re all there. It’s a natural instinct to try to protect yourself from a threat, whether that threat is a saber-toothed tiger leaping from the bush at us or your wife asking you why laundry has never been done today.
But the problem is, conservatism is the anathema for connection. When we defend ourselves in a conversation, it is usually at the expense of our partner as their needs and emotions are important. We prioritize protecting our ego rather than taking care of our partners and our relationships.
“There are very few situations where we really have to defend our point of view. Rather, we are driven to do so by the desire to be right, “Arnash wrote in mbg. “At the moment, we are clinging to the ego, which acts as a barrier to authentic communication and connection.”
Defensiveness can have catastrophic consequences for a relationship. According to research by psychologist John Gottman, Ph.D., self-defense is one of the four communication habits – called “four horse riding” – associated with an increased likelihood of divorce.
“Stuck to explain why one person’s point of view is right and why the other person is wrong is the most unhealthy communication dynamic that people can enter into a relationship,” Arnsh explains.