Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Defensiveness Dilemma

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The Defensiveness Dilemma

Dear Fellow Mind-Explorers:

Have you ever been in a circumstance where someone has accused you of being 'defensive'?

This accusation is the most damning thing that can be directed at you. If you choose to refute this accusation, you will actually validate it -- you will, in point of fact, justifiably or unjustifiably, be "being defensive about being called defensive."

Two observations:

1) If you want to really get under someone's skin, accuse him or her of being defensive (and say it gently, as if you were talking palliatively to a psychiatric patient). In fact, the best way to frame this accusation is by saying, patronizingly, "There now! There's no need to be so defensive..." If they respond, simply nod your head up and down and say, "Okay, okay. No problem. I understand." This response serves increase the intensity of the offensive accusation and ratchet it up a few notches;

2) If you are accused of being defensive (by someone who has read this article), the best recourse is to say, "I'm so sorry! I didn't realize that it would sound that way to you." This response is never expected, is highly patronizing, and really serves to reverse the circumstances. A word of caution -- when you utter those words, say them sofly and gently, with a smile. If possible, pat the other person's hand in an infantalizing, clying "there, there" gesture. You cannot show the slightest sign of anger, offense or irritation. It is a bit of a challenge, but is well worth the result.

Have fun with this. Please let me know what happens.

Life is an experiment, and the world is your laboratory!


Douglas Castle

Douglas Castle
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