way to become non-defensive is to have a wide variety of options. Some of your
filters, such as inner rules, may limit todays options and need some updating.
The more flexibility you can give your rules, the more options you can have.
you work with the questions for flexing your rules, be aware of any rule you have
that suggests that being able to flex rules means you must flex them. You may
find another rule that says, If I can do it, I must do it, or I
have to be consistent. If you come across rules like these, write them down,
and question them in a similar manner as is shown with these ten rules selected
from the list of fifty inner rules discussed in Section 19.
samples of questions you can use. As you get started, you may find other questions
more personal to you, ones that lead to areas you may have been hiding behind
a facade. If a question is uncomfortable to answer, thats a hint there may
be more. If no answer comes, set the question aside and come back to it later.
may want to select one of your own rules that you would like to make more flexible
from the list in Section 19. After asking yourself questions to help flex this
rule, experiment with desxcribing how you now use this rule and what happens.
Then describe what would be happening when it becomes more flexible. Think of
how you can practice making changes where you take little risks.
you come across an uncomfortable feeling in this process, try giving yourself
permission to go into that feeling to discover what it is saying to you. Simply
listen to it, and let it speak to you. If nothing happens at first, leave your
listening attention open and wait for some hunch to come to you. By accepting
your inner rules, messages, and energies, youll gradually find a wealth
of inner information and intuition available to you.
Circle three to five
words in each group that best describe you during a conflict or pressure situation.
I do Making decisions
I do (Outward) Dealing with others
Challenged Nervous Resentful Uncomforatble Put
down Angry Frustrated Dumb Guilty Inadequate Hassled Confused Threatened Unprepared Like
leaving Insignificant Trapped Self-protective Blabbery A need to
justify Evaluated, judged Violated Slow simmer
Rationalize Sweat Back
down Withdraw Go blank Lose my cool Eat, drink water Smoke Say
silly things Make excuses Talk too much Get apologetic Talk without
thinking Postpone the situation Get anxious Say nothing Blush Cry Put
foot in mouth Chew on pencil Compute Become tense in the stomach Become
aggressive Scheme Find fault Get hostile Get logical Prove my point Buy
time Cry Get evasive Get condescending Scream, yell Compute Evaluate
and choose Fire back a wisecrack Become sarcastic Needle somebody Give
em the finger Try to get off the spot Blame others Ask questions Take
offensive Retreat and regroup Kill em with data
the name of a person and a brief description of a situation in which you did a
poor job of handling the conflict. _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________
Im off the defensive, I become
from distress -Able to see others point -Able to see other realities
from different angles -Able to use my imagination more -More courageous -Less
fearful, more confident -Able to feel fun in the challenge -Creative-- willing
to experiment -Able to work faster, things click -Intense with more concentration -Able
to tune out irritations and annoyances
outgoing; my energy flows out and wraps around others -In control of the situation,
not the situation in control of me -Sure I can do most anything I make up my
mind to do -Excited with a sense of inner peacefulness -More able to work
with others, not for or against them -Filled with a deep sense of joy -More
open; unafraid of new ideas -More able to make positive statements about myself,
not what I think others want to hear -Freer with my sense of humor -Able
to listen without critiquing -More sensitive and responsive to underlying fears
and concerns in others, not needing to criticize their behaviors that irritate
me, able to work with real issue
the name of a person and a brief description of a situation in which you did a
good job of handling the conflict. _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ Ways
to Flex Your Rules
I have to
to ask yourself (and others you think of)
Be in control of the situation
for? Can I allow someone else to control part of it? Who? Can I share control?
If I lose control, what is the worst that might happen? Does this situation matter
this much to me?
At what cost or gain to myself, if any? What for? Is it reasonably well returned?
Would it be disloyal to act in my own interest if I choose to be? Would I be punished
for that? Is there a way to be loyal to others and myself at the same time?
peace at any price
this kind of peace come at a cost to me but a gain for others? Am I really willing
to pay any price for it? Does this mean I have to go along with whatever anyone
says? What if I question that? What might happen if I stir up a little trouble?
Can I try rocking the boat somewhere safe?
Stick to my principles,
a rigid stand that I take at all times? Do I ever call opinions principles when
Im afraid of revealing something? Do I use these as weapons sometimes? Do
they help me get centered under pressure? Can any be bent a little if the issue
is relatively minor? Can I not state them, still hold them, and feel Ive
not compromised myself?
out on top, win
time? What for? Is it always worth the effort? When would it be okay to come out
on the bottom? How would that feel? What if the situation calls for joint effort?
Can I set aside winning?
it by myself
I think the only way to get it done right is to do it myself? Who could help me
or do it instead? What would happen if I were less independent or more interdependent?
Who can I trust? Is it hard for me to ask for help? If so, what does that say
to me? Am I trying to prove something?
orders? Even those I dont agree with? What about those I dont understand?
When can I make an exception? What if this rule conflicts with another one? How
do I choose which to follow?
When is this
important and when not? What if usefulness or timeliness is past? When I dont
finish, what holds me back? Have I lost interest or am I procrastinating? What
might happen if I do finish? Can I dispose of it and go on to other things?
this job, not get fired
important is this job to me right now? Can I arrange things so I could quit if
I chose to? What would that take so I could put my job on the line? How can I
increease income or reduce expenses?
I like and accept everyone else? Would respect do just as well? How would I feel
if I were rejected by someone I do like? Am I avoiding pain? Do I like myself
most of the time? Could I like myself more? How?
Your Cool Under Fire: Communicating Non-Defensively. Wells, Theodora. McGraw-Hill
Book Company: New York, NY. 1980.
Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships:
Results From a Multisite Case Control Study
- Campbell, J. C., Webster, D., Koziol-McLain, J., Block, C., Campbell, D., Curry, M. A., … Laughon, K. (2003). Risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships: results from a multisite case control study. American journal of public health, 93(7), 1089–1097.
Personal Reflection Exercise #8 The
preceding section contained information about Starting to Apply Non-Defensive
Attitudes to Yourself. Write three case study examples regarding how you might
use the content of this section of the Manual in your practice.
22: What limits options for some clients? To select and enter your answer
go to Answer