The second issue that disrupts effective communication in relationships is defensiveness.
We get defensive when we perceive that we have been “attacked.” For whatever the reason may be, we see what the other person said as a threat to a concept we hold of our self. It is not so much the words the person used (if they use criticism, it can often trigger defensiveness), but how we view the words that were spoken.
How we respond to words we hear has a great deal to due with conditioning, past traumas, and belief systems we’ve developed over time. When any of these are triggered, we can fall quickly into a threat (fight or flight) response. This often makes us want to repel, reject, or evade what the other person said.
The problem with “defending” is that the response is not helpful to the overall problem, and may even make the problem worse. We defend because we suddenly feel unlovable and that feeling is unbearable.
The solution is to take any kind of accountability that you can. While we do not necessarily cause our partner’s to feel a certain way, we do have a responsibility to the relationship to try and validate the other person, because this keeps the line of communication and connection open.
KEY: You can accept your partner’s feelings and be accountable to your part in the problem without being at “fault.”
All defensiveness does is cut off communication. It is useless. Remember you are a worthy person, and help your partner to remember they are also worthy.