Impacts of a Defensive Mindset (3 reasons for defensive mindsets)

September 18, 2017 rmaddox

“It’s not that I am unapproachable, It’s the aimless acts of lies and malicious mischief from random people that causes my mind to enter a self-defense mode in preparation for battle in assorted environments.”

                                                                                                              Reginald Maddox

Many of us rise in the morning to the sound of an alarm clock, music, or maybe the smell of coffee from the automatic coffee maker. However, our choice to stimulate our senses to motivate ourselves to leave our comfortable beds and journey into the day, may play a part in our expectations, for the next 24 hours. Every day we are faced with the challenge of finding a way to allow ourselves constant moments of mental relaxation, without having to out-think people, with hidden agendas.

At some point in our lives, we are faced with the dilemma of dealing with situations and individuals who place us amid rumors, slander, disrespect, or criticism, in the home or the workplace. Author, Sharon Ellison, has defined defensive behavior as: to be defensive is to react with “a war mentality to a non-war issue.” In some parts, I agree with her definition, but can we firmly conclude that this statement is factual, in all cases, for an individual showing signs of defensive behavior?

Personally, I do believe in the old saying that goes that for every cause, there is an effect in life. Now, this may not apply to everyone who mentally assumes a battle-ready stance in certain environments or in the presence of select individuals. There are instances in which individuals/groups will intentionally go out of their way to make a person feel targeted. These actions may occur in a verbal or non-verbal form of communication. Here are some examples of tactics or behavior that can lead to a person developing a mental, self-defensive mode in a variety of situations.

Manager and Co-worker communication– Communication in the workplace is essential for teamwork and productivity. Email has become one the primary methods of communication amongst employees, especially in large corporations. Although Email is an extremely convenient means of communication, it may not always be the most effective. When a person is constantly receiving complaints or negative feedback via Email, it gives the impression of someone attempting to document every little mistake or concern they have with others. Conflicts or misunderstandings are more likely to get resolved when individuals talk to each other. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people engage in on-going debates using Emails. If they can arrange a face-to-face conversation, the verbal exchange could have resolved the issue in 10 minutes or less. At this point, the Emails are no longer being used as a means of conflict resolution, but as a track record of words. So, when an actual meeting does occur, you will have two people sitting at the table with a folder, filled with the copies of the Emails, which includes the handiwork of everyone else who have blind-copied or carbon-copied the “conversation” along the way.

From Jealousy to Sabotage- For a moment, just envision people having the ability to experience the life of other people, behind the scenes and in their moments of solitude. If you can complete this feat, then you may realize that your life is pretty good.

How many times have you heard someone make any of the following comments?

  • They think that they are “all that” with their new car.
  • He/She walks around here like they too good to talk to anybody.
  • I don’t know why they need to hire another person.
  • It’s something about him/her that I don’t like.

Comments like these may originate from friends, family, or co-workers. Additionally, some people may act out on these remarks, in an attempt to impede your career or personal life. Such acts are conducted by failing to include key details in working projects, spreading rumors to make other people distrust you, or ostracize you from other people or activities. This behavior, alone, can account for someone mentally establishing a self-defense mindset. When you see someone driving a new or luxury car, you can’t always assume that it’s based on an ego trip. We should not judge others on their possession or being new to our environment. If someone new starts a job, it’s because they need employment. You can’t expect people to feel relaxed around you, when your action and behavior indicate otherwise.

The silent voice of displeasure- In 2017, in the July–August publication of the Harvard Business Review, in an article titled “Stop the Meeting Madness,” one-person states, “I cannot get my head above water to breathe during the week.” Another describes stabbing her leg with a pencil to stop from screaming during a particularly torturous staff meeting. Often, we are communicating a lot of information to the people around us, unknowingly. The next time you are near or part of a group conversation, take a moment to observe the body language of other people. Some of the most notable non-verbal signs are rolling of the eyes, tightening of the lips, folding of the arms, tapping of the feet/fingers or with an item, and huffing/sighing.

Are you broadcasting negative messages with your body language, during conversations? This behavior occurs more commonly in the presence of someone who is involved in a disagreement or a prejudgment. Non-verbal signals may stimulate a person’s mental defensiveness. Anytime, if you’re engaged in conversation with a person who constantly displays negative body language, you will become suspicious about the person. The sending and receiving of body language signals happen, consciously and unconsciously. Therefore, body language is very relevant in all aspects of work and relationships, where communications can be seen and physically observed amongst people.

My Concluding Thoughts

With so much animosity and stress in today’s society, establishing a mental self-defensive mentality seems almost unavoidable. In some cases, there is clear justification in preparing your mind for a mental battle. On the other hand, it is sensible to judge whether the excess use of mental energy is worth the effort. Waking up in the morning to something positive can help you with this process and provide a good start to your day, such as a spiritual message, music, motivational speeches, or inspirational quotes. to start your day. People should make a valiant effort to reduce the needless stress that results in physical and mental health conditions. Excessive fighting in the mind can leave you feeling drained and depressed.

On the contrary, when we come across someone who demonstrates the behavior of being in a self-defensive mode, we consequently feel the need to evaluate our verbal and non-verbal signals, to make sure we are not causing others to feel skeptical about our presence and communication. Self-examination of our behavior promotes a conscious mindset regarding how others may feel about presence and communication.  Unless we are willing to involve ourselves more personally and professionally, we cannot play a part in making the world around us more welcoming or benevolent.