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how to communicate when you feel defensive

When we experience a perceived attack or threat from our partner, we may react defensively by shifting blame elsewhere, rationalizing our behaviors, or playing the victim. Try following these steps next time you find yourself getting defensive to help remain connected to your partner and let them know you're hearing them:⠀

1. Slow yourself and your emotions down by taking a deep breath. ⠀

2. Let your partner know that you're feeling defensive because the message you're hearing them say is ______. "I'm getting defensive because the message I'm hearing and telling myself is that you don't think I'm doing enough in this relationship."⠀

3. Ask for your partner to rephrase their message to help you better understand what they're saying. "Can you try rephrasing that or explaining what you meant?"⠀

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