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From YourTango

How often did you hear some variation of this when you were growing up? I heard it all the time. And what I learned to do was to desperately defend and explain in fruitless attempts to get my mom or dad to stop judging me and SEE me. Or I would apologize and become the “good girl,” so they would approve of me.

Of course, defending and explaining didn’t work. But that didn’t stop me from trying because I just didn’t know what else to do — other than completely give myself up, which is what I eventually learned to do.

When I got married, I continued in the same pattern — first trying to explain and defend and then giving myself up. The result was, of course, no better than it was with my parents. Again, I had no idea what else to do.

Of course, defending and explaining didn’t work. But that didn’t stop me from trying because I just didn’t know what else to do — other than completely give myself up, which is what I eventually learned to do.

What Else To Do

It took many years, but I finally accepted that defending and explaining only leads to more and more conflict, since the other person feels controlled and goes into resistance. For a long time I didn’t want to see that defending and explaining were forms of control. After all, I just wanted them to see my point of view. What’s controlling about that? I convinced myself that if only they understood me, then they would change.

Now I know that using defending and explaining as viable forms of control is a complete myth. Not only does it not work to convince anyone to see things my way, but it always exacerbates the conflict.

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