Readers often send me emails with their comments and questions. The seven queries that I respond to here deal primarily with inner passivity. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of inner passivity, you might first read this post. My responses to the queries below are in italics.
Hello. I’ve just read and re-read your article, Defensiveness for Dummies. I recognize that I’m very defensive, and this defensiveness has led to problems in many of my relationships.
After reading the article, I remain confused about the relationship between defensiveness and inner conflict. In particular, I don’t follow you when you say that aggressive defensiveness is a form of inner passivity. I understand defensiveness and aggression as very active, not passive; they are action rather than inaction. Indeed, I sometimes struggle in your articles to understand your use of passive, though I sometimes think I am understanding. How does passivity defend? Thanks! – L.B.
I’ll try to help you understand. Keep in mind that inner passivity is a challenging concept, and it can take a while for it to come into focus in our mind and then within us at a deeper level. We can recognize inner passivity through a variety of symptoms, one of which is chronic defensiveness. Such defensiveness is a passive feeling associated with self-doubt. Usually all you’re doing with defensiveness is reacting to your own insecurity. You feel that someone is holding you accountable and that you’re obligated to defend yourself. In being defensive, you’re reacting to a gut feeling of being wrong, flawed, or bad. [Read more…]