When someone confronts you about your struggle with alcoholism or drug addiction, you might find yourself lashing out in response. A bear caught in a trap will be defensive when approached. You are like a bear. You lash out because you don’t want to admit that you might have a serious problem, and this angers you. Another side to lashing out can come from denial. I don’t have a problem, who do they think they are accusing me?
Who likes to have others observe and confront their shortcomings? When you are in recovery it is important to take a close look at yourself when you feel defensive. Defensiveness is a sure sign that something is up with you. You may feel defensive because you don’t like being wrong. When you were still active in addiction, you thought you knew what was best for you. You thought you could handle everything that came your way. The trouble was it all caught up with you.
It takes time and patience to confront your old behavior and realize it isn’t serving you anymore. You are complete just the way your are, and in recovery you no longer have to be stuck in a defensive cycle. Like so much in recovery, you have to recognize your behavior first. Who is this defensive person? Why is he or she feeling this way?
Working with a therapist can help you figure out what is behind your defensiveness. Perhaps you were brought up by parents who were particularly hard on you as a child. They demanded perfection. One slight mishap could result in a whack across the face, or you faced unreasonably lengthy punishments. In situations like these, your learned behavior was never to be in the wrong because too much was at stake.
You carried this learned behavior into adulthood. When you became defensive, you were basically trying to protect yourself from uncomfortable feelings. Perhaps old fears loomed. You couldn’t tolerate the thought of being wrong or to appear stupid, even when the thing you insisted you were right about, was of no particular importance or consequence.
Whatever the underlying cause of your defensiveness, don’t be hard on yourself. You will make progress the more you let go of being right. You will learn it isn’t the end of the world. You might even laugh at yourself when your old defensiveness tries to reassert itself.
“I’ve learned you can make a mistake and the whole world doesn’t end. I had to learn to allow myself to make a mistake without becoming defensive and unforgiving.”— Lisa Kudrow
At the end of the day, does it matter if we are right, or sober? Entering Infinity Malibu offers you insight into all the niggling behaviors that try to block a full recovery from addiction. For lasting freedom call us today. 888-266-9048