EP 22: Defense Is The First Act of War
I love my mom dearly, but we’ve always had a semi tumultuous relationship. She doesn’t listen well and I get mad at her for not listening. When I call her out or make a huff or a gruff noise, she immediately goes on the defensive and shuts me out. conversation over. This has been our cycle since I was a teen.
The other day, I could tell she was stressed about her upcoming vacation because she kept asking me the same question over and over, and at first, I gave her a lengthy answer, the second time a shorter answer and then I responded after the third time of asking the same question, “What did I tell you?” like I was a parent scolding their child…and not a good parent – a bad one. With all my sarcasm and anger and defensiveness. She met that with (you guessed it) defensiveness and got mad at me. How come I’m in trouble? She then started to criticize me for something totally unrelated and the conversation escalated quickly leaving us both angry, upset and resentful.
With the passing of my dad, who was our bridge in our family, my mom moved in with us for a few months and I have had the opportunity to get to know her better. My mom is a very sensitive being, so that’s why she can get defensive easily. I too am a sensitive soul, so it can make for a bad relationship.
Relationships are our mirrors and can be our best teachers.
Byron Katie says, “Defense is the first act of war. The ego hates criticism and loves agreement. If I agree with you, you love me. The minute I don’t agree with you, the moment I question one of your sacred beliefs, I become your enemy. Then you start looking for all the reasons why you’re right, and you stay focused outside yourself. When you’re focused outside and believe that your problem is caused by someone else, rather than by your attachment to the story you’re believing in the moment, you are your own victim, and the situation appears to be hopeless.”
“Defense is the first act of war” Maybe you see this view as weak. What about standing up for ourselves? But what truly happens when we attack the people who attack us? We become one in anger, fighting fire with fire simply makes a bigger fire.
So, I’ve really been trying to be more aware of when I get defensive these days. I don’t learn anything when I’m defensive. It’s a conversation-stopper. Even an interaction-stopper, like with my mom.
I didn’t realize that I was the one making war by defending myself. I was the one who came to the conversation, not with open ears, but with a closed heart in anticipation and judgement that my mom would not listen, and when she proved me right, I was the first one to point her out on it, in a condescending way no less. When I was quiet and listened, my mom would ask the question over and over, not because she needed the answer, but because she was nervous about traveling alone. My heart softened to this and I connected with her. Most importantly she could be heard and understood.
Defense is the first act of war. This is a hard one to grasp and practice, especially if we feel we are right, or deserving, or protecting something. Peace is a choice. Peace begins with you. It doesn’t take two people to end war; it takes only one.
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amp;nbsp; Relationships are our mirrors and can be our best teachers. Byron Katie says, “Defense is the first act of war. The ego hates criticism and loves agreement. If I agree with you, you love me. The minute I don’t agree with you, the moment I question one of your sacred beliefs, I become your enemy.