Psycho-Babble Relationships Thread 829989

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My Defensiveness with Spouse

Posted by nomadjones on May 19, 2008, at 16:17:42

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone can point me to reading material about being less defensive, specifically to a spouse's comments. My wife has lots of "advice" that I apparently misinterpret as unhelpful criticism and I get very defensive. Probably a result of being criticized as a child, but my reaction is damaging my marriage. My defensiveness results in downward sprials in conversations. We are seeing a couples therapist and I'm reading Gottman's "Seven Principles." Gottman (or someone commenting on Gottman) had the following which seemed on point: "The first step toward breaking out of defensiveness is to no longer see your partner's words as an attack but as information that is being strongly expressed. Try to understand and empathize with your partner. This is admittedly hard to do when you feel under siege, but it is possible and its effects are miraculous. If you are genuinely open and receptive when your partner is expecting a defensive response, he or she is less likely to criticize you or react contemptuously when disagreements arise." For what it's worth, I've got depression & anxiety issues.
Thanks, Nomad

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