Series Three: Blog Thirty-Four
Recovery is messy. Having a conversation with someone you love about relational
experiences that you have hurt is difficult. This challenge includes every
relationship but is particularly difficult when the harm and hurt involves betrayal
and broken trust. Much has been written regarding broken trust. In the world of
addiction recovery, families and partners decry that it is the lie and deceit that
unravels safety even more than the destructive behavior itself. It is so difficult to
converse about relational recovery issues without getting stuck with defensiveness.
Defending your position will block the possibility toward healing at a deeper level.
No one matures in recovery to a place that they are able to eliminate defensiveness.
Here are a few things to consider that can help you manage your own defensive
Overcoming defensiveness requires that you treat your partner with dignity and
respect when you have harmed them. When you hold presence for your partner’s
pain, you establish an environment to deconstruct shame and blame. When you
feel defensiveness coming up in your conversation, privately identify it as like heat
coming through your body. Sit with it and speak to yourself with care and
compassion until it passes. Don’t say or do anything until the heat of defensiveness
subsides. Recognize the difference between intention and impact. Work to change
what you are doing so that your intention matches your impact of action. Then
respond in a different way.
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