~~Recognize defensiveness as an attempt to keep new insights from entering your mental field.~~ Caroline Myss
Such is the life of addiction. New quitters and those who struggle with keeping their quits often lead with defensiveness and in the process, attempt to push away those who offer help. Elders recognize that and usually don't take offense. And those in the defensive mode often don't see themselves as that way. Again, addiction at work.
I learned a long time ago that if someone makes you angry, it is usually because they have struck some chord in you that needs your attention. Anger is mostly a secondary emotion....meaning that there is something driving the anger. And that something is in you...not the other person. Defensiveness is normally the same. When you get defensive, it may be a signal that you need to work on something in your own life, not push your defensiveness onto someone who is only trying to help.
Now we all have things we need to work on in life. Doesn't matter if its our quits, our relationships, our careers, etc...Life can be challenging. But those who work from within rather than blame outwards have a much easier time working through those challenges. Not because they are 'better' than anyone else. Not because they are 'perfect'. But because they understand the only thing they can change in life is themselves. They can find their peace in life, they can come to terms with old grudges and past hurts, and they can adjust themselves to changes. Sometimes they trip as well or fall or struggle. But they heal themselves through looking inward to what they can do to help themselves rather than what anyone else SHOULD be doing.
Hey, elders? None of you condemn. None of you shriek at the relapsers. None of you beat them up, figuratively or literally. None of you tell anyone that they will never learn or will never quit or are dumb as a box of rocks. So no. You are not 'hardcore' (Giulia and JACKIE1-25-15). No, you are not 'tough love'. You are their strength when they need strength. You are their courage when they need courage. And you are their truth when they need truth.
We are all in this together, folks. Every time someone puts down a cigarette for good, I truly do cheer. Every time someone gets their "ah-ha!" moment, I applaud. And even when someone gets defensive as we try to help, I nod and thank the good Lord that at least you are still here...learning and growing. United we stand.