On Being Defensive
Reacting poorly to people talking to you like you know nothing
I’m very defensive. I know this because everyone I am close to is always saying this to me.
Sometimes when they say this I get defensive.
The problem with being defensive, aside from absolutely no one enjoying the behavior, is that every time I think of a situation in which I have been defensive, my reaction, even long after, seems completely justifiable to me. How does one defend oneself without being defensive?
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about a story I was writing. He said, “Well, if you’re going to write that, you’re going to have to be careful about x.”
Basically he was saying that x was a hot issue and people could get mad at me about it. GODDAMMIT did this get under my skin! Yes, I said, like 900000 people have said this to me already, so thanks for being one of them. Also, I added, FYI, I have been a writer for the last 30 years and it is not just my job to think about stuff like this, I am also very much or have been very much on Twitter, which you’re barely even on, which must be why you think I don’t know about what you’re warning me about, and why you don’t know that stuff like “what might piss people off” is pretty much all I think about all day.
You’re so fucking defensive, my friend said. He is one of my close friends. Seriously, you have a problem, he added, just in case I had thought about not crying or feeling terrible.