What does it mean to be defensive? You have your personal story.
I’m a hard working person just trying to avoid drama.
I’m a kind and nurturing person who gets taken advantage of.
You’ve cobbled together your story over time, you’ve worked hard to build this thing from the rubble of your life experience, and now you want to protect it. You view everything that happens to you through this lens. When someone or something comes along and challenges the truth of this story, you lash out or you curl up or you down a handful of margaritas.
Here’s the tricky part: Generally speaking, the more defensive you are, the less likely you are to think of yourself as defensive. And your oldest, most deeply rooted defenses are often the hardest to recognize. Anger, anxiety, guilt, envy, helplessness, boredom, resentment. These defensive feelings cling to areas of your life where you’re uncertain, where your identity is somehow in question. But these negative feelings don’t help you overcome real life challenges so much as they try to reinforce your personal story. Sometimes it’s less about fixing whatever problem than it is expanding, updating your personal story. True security comes less from compulsively strengthening the castle walls than it does bravely venturing further and further from the castle.