How to Heal Defensiveness in Close Relationships: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201310/how-heal-defensiveness-in-close-relationships
When you make use of another’s suffering to champion your identity, you indeed emerge as a champion me. Despite all the effort however, your true identity remains isolated. You go home with your badge of rightness, your champion ego, while the experience of love and connection are lost.
It is counter-intuitive really… the less we defend our wellbeing, the more well we feel. When we stop trying to protect me (at last) me feels safe and without the need for protection. We are conditioned to believe that strength means coming out on top and winning the fight. But in fact, real strength means having the courage to put our swords and shields down, and to risk being open and un-defended. When we truly listen to another, without our self-story in the way, we not only offer the greatest gift one can offer to another human being, but we get to jettison the shackles of this fragile identity and realize our true being… that under all the defending, who we are is love itself, which is indestructible, and so fierce as to need no defense at all