Subtitle: When Defending, Excusing, Explaining, and Rationalizing becomes a Pattern
It’s crucial to observe and understand the dynamics unfolding in your relationship. When you find yourself constantly in a cycle of DEER—Defending, Excusing, Explaining, and Rationalizing—your partner’s behavior to others or even yourself, it’s a sign worth paying attention to. This pattern might indicate deeper issues within your relationship, which merit reflection and perhaps, intervention.
The DEER Pattern
When you consistently defend your partner’s actions, it means you’re always on the alert to justify their behavior to those around you. This might be due to your friends and family perceiving recurrent negative patterns that you may be unwilling or unable to acknowledge.
If you find yourself making excuses for your partner, it may mean that you are trying to minimize the impact or importance of their hurtful or irresponsible actions. This could be a coping mechanism to avoid facing the reality of the situation.
Constant explanation of your partner’s behavior suggests that you feel the need to clarify or justify their actions continuously. This often happens when there’s a discrepancy between your partner’s actions and the socially accepted or expected norms of behavior.
Rationalizing involves crafting logical reasons for your partner’s behavior, even when such behavior is irrational or unacceptable. This practice allows you to make sense of, and perhaps accept, their actions despite underlying issues.
Why Pay Attention to DEER Behavior?
The DEER pattern may cause you to live in a distorted reality where your partner’s negative behaviors are consistently justified. This can lead to an unhealthy dynamic, hindering the possibility of addressing and resolving the issues effectively.
Erosion of Self-Esteem
When you are constantly in DEER mode, your self-esteem may gradually erode as you might start doubting your judgment and perceptions. You may also develop a tendency to prioritize your partner’s needs and feelings over your own, leading to a loss of self-worth and identity.
Toxic Relationship Dynamics
DEER behavior often accompanies toxic or abusive relationship dynamics. Constantly justifying or explaining away your partner’s actions can lead to enabling and perpetuating harmful patterns, making it difficult to establish and maintain a healthy, respectful, and mutually supportive relationship.
Addressing DEER Behavior
It’s essential to take time to reflect on why you feel the need to constantly defend, excuse, explain, or rationalize your partner’s behavior. Understanding the root causes of this need can provide insight into the dynamics of your relationship.
Engage in open and honest communication with your partner about your feelings and observations. Sharing your concerns without placing blame can foster a supportive environment for addressing issues together.
If the DEER pattern is deeply ingrained in your relationship, consider seeking professional advice or counseling. Therapy can offer a safe space for both partners to explore and understand their behaviors and dynamics, providing tools and strategies to foster a healthier relationship.
While everyone may occasionally defend, excuse, explain, or rationalize their partner’s behavior, it’s crucial to notice when this becomes a consistent pattern. The DEER behavior can mask deeper issues within your relationship, making it imperative to reflect, communicate, and seek help if necessary. Recognizing and addressing these patterns early can pave the way for a more understanding and supportive relationship for both partners.