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Horsemen of the Apocalypse: #3 Defensiveness

August 15, 2011

Horsemen #3: Defensiveness

Child:  Daddy you never (criticism)  come to my games.

Dad: I would come to your games if you spent more time on your school work. (cross complaining)

Child:  It just would be nice to see you there.  Every other player’s dad has come at least once.

Dad:  I totally agree, but you have to understand that I have a different job than most dads. (Yes, but)

The 3rd Horsemen of the Apocalypse is defensiveness.  Simply put, this horsemen takes up residence when we see ourselves as “victims” who need to ward off an attack.  Phrases like “It’s not my fault”, “I didn’t” and “Yes, but” are common for this horsemen.  When we are defensive, we have ceded ground and acknowledged that external circumstances are more powerful than we are.  No question that external circumstances make a difference, but they should not control our relationships.  The victimized man makes excuses, cross complains, yes buts and whines.

When we are defensive with our kids, we are weak, because we do not take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.  The antidote for defensiveness is a straightforward strength that rises out of us directly  confronting reality.  Phrases like “I own that”, “I am sorry” and “that’s a great point” are hallmarks of the man operating from strength.  The cool thing is that our kids pick up on our strength.  Being strong enough to admit a mistake or acknowledge a shortcoming is not weakness.  It is the deepest type of strength.  A man who consistently acknowledges and confronts reality is a man  of strength who has destroyed the horsemen of defensiveness.

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