Ever felt the heat rise up in your being when someone you have a relationship with says to you, “You always……..” just about anything can be placed in those quotations from “leave the toilet seat up”, “forget to clean your room”, “forget to call”, but you get my drift. Then the heat rises up in your being and you defend your own honor, “No I don’t”, followed by a “you always accuse me of things I don’t do” or something equally clever. I think of this when I have seen Family Guy the cartoon show on Fox.
Your reaction to other people is defensiveness, a protective devise learned through our interactions with our fellows. Like most things, defensiveness has a purpose. It is protective in nature and it can provoke discussion and healing if used properly. First though I was to tell you to pay attention to how many little defenses you have in a day. So many are small, like, “I had leave the dishes undone, I was late to work.” The statements can leave you feeling accused; there are not only emotional defenses but physical defenses. One for example is many men I know don’t want their backs to a crowd or the door in a restaurant. A small weird thing like that is almost primal. They are like hunters protecting their physical body from predators. So much of defensiveness is acted out on a subconscious basis.
However, these issues can really get in the way of you relating to others in a healthy way. So recognizing them is the first part of being able to change them. Or at least work around them. A Course in Miracles states, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” The problem can be that in being defensive first, we create the exact situation we are afraid of, or defensive about. If you put your fists up enough, someone is going to want to fight you.
What appears in defensiveness as strength is actually weakness. As you become aware of your defensiveness, you can shift to a position of spiritual receptiveness. Ask questions, don’t assume the worse and trust the process of communication. Quiet yourself and watch the situation deflate. “I did leave the dishes, I was late, and did it cause a problem?” “Yeah, it is messy and I don’t like it.” “I don’t either, but sometimes it can’t be helped. I will work on it.” Yes people really can speak to each other like that most of the time. You can find your own variation, my point is that when you stop, center yourself and ask questions you can heal conversations, and even yourself a little. The difference is you have choice on how to act. It becomes an aware decision. Not a reaction that leaves you frustrated, like you are not heard or valued. Isn’t that what we all want? So as funny as this dysfunctional Griffin family is do we really want to be like that?