Getting defensive

In my church there is a group leadership meeting weekly. The purpose of the meeting is to coordinate with each organization in our church to make sure all members are taken care of. I’m part of this meeting because of the position I have leading the children. I dislike going to this meeting.

No matter what we talk about I feel defensive. I get frustrated super easily. I don’t talk unless I have to. I get annoyed by the activities, people, everything we talk about, etc. I don’t want to volunteer to help with anything. I end up feeling terrible about being defensive and tell myself I’m so selfish I don’t want to help people or volunteer to do anything.

If someone asks me to do something specifically, I begrudgingly say I will do it or give short, curt, snappy answers. It makes me angry with myself and angry with the people at the meeting.

In truth, there is probably no reason for me to be like this.

But…I’ve seen myself do this in other areas of my life, too. I was once part of a group of women who put on workshops together. At first, it was amazing! I loved being part of this group of women. We created sold out workshops and they were fun and we worked together well.

Then something happened. I can’t put my finger on exactly when things started to go badly but at one point I was asked to do something. I did it, put a lot of time and effort into it, and then when I was unavailable to answer texts because I was at a job and away from my phone, they redid the entire project. And then expected me to be okay with it.

I know I don’t like being a middle man being told by someone else what to do. It’s one of the reasons I have my own business.

But I’ve also noticed with my own kids I’ve passed on this defensiveness when it comes to people I perceive are trying to undermine or when it comes to ‘popular kids’ especially at church.

I feel like I’m seeing a thread of this in my life and it’s making me feel even worse.

It seems like I’m missing some major life skill with people because I get so defensive and want these people to go away.

C: Church meeting
T: They think I should be different and help more
F: Defensive
A: Shut down, don’t offer to help, compare myself, tell myself I’m selfish, get annoyed at everything in my mind, tell myself this is why I don’t have a bunch of friends at church, spiral in thoughts
R: I think I should be different and help more or maybe I think they should be different.

C: Girls my girls’ age at church
T: They are so mean and not inclusive
F: angry
A: talk to my husband about them, spiral in thoughts about how my girls get left out of things,
R: I am mean

I don’t like the result of either one of these models. Part of me wants to stop being defensive and part of me doesn’t want to stop being defensive. I’ve been in this place for so long…especially when it comes to people at church or when I try to collaborate with people. I want to be a great, open, loving, awesome, giving collaborator but I have no idea how to get from what I feel, when I get in these situations, to that place. I feel like I need help seeing my thoughts before I can even move into an intentional model.