Broken Record and Other Non-Defensive Communication Tactics

Mini Online Training Part 7

How does it apply to me?

1/ My actual most pressuring situation is: …

2/ What I want to do without anybody’s influence is: …

3/ My positively disengaging (empathizing) sentence what I start my “Broken Record” sentence is: …

4/ My simple but firm sentence about what I am going to do is this: …

This is my Broken Record sentence what I can repeat as many times as I want to. – Feel free to create as many as you need.

5/ My takeaway from this chapter.


Welcome to: “From Strings To Wings” Zita Fekete’s mini online training 7th part.  I’m happy to have you here.

In this chapter I’d like to talk about the non-defensive communication.

Every manipulative person has a certain number of pushes.

Let’s say asking something you don’t want to do.

The average number is around 10.

You need to be ready to say one more “No”.

In this case: 11 times.

Repeat what you want in calm, assertive ways as many times as necessary, like a broken record would do.


“I am not interested.”

“I don’t pick up your laundry today.”

“I don’t participate this time.”

Remember your assertive right:

You don’t have to give an explanation about your choice.

There is an unspoken expectation from society to come up with excuses.

You can choose to fulfill this expectation, but you do not have to.

Be aware that it is your choice.

Defense Mode: Instinctive response

When we are criticized, we instinctively jump in defense mode.

It does not help in conflict resolution.

It’s even worst in a manipulative situation.

Positively Disengaging

The minute you begin to argue with a statement – that supposed to evoke guilt, shame or anxiety – you’re on the hook.

You prove that you feel guilty, ashamed or anxious and try to convince your partners that what they say is not true.

            So, you argue.

            So, you’re tense.

Avoid the hook by not reacting with an argument.

Pick a partial truth from the statement, and agree with it.  Empathize with the emotion.

Example 1:

– “You don’t like me; you did not call me for long time!”

 Reply 1: – “Yes, I did not call you for a week.”

Reply 2: – “I see you were missing my call.”

Example 2:

– “These postcards are painted by disabled veterans; you really need to buy to help them.”

Reply: – “I understand how you feel, but I’m not interested.”

Positively Disengaging in Guilt Trip:

– “I am sorry you feel that way.”

Nothing more.

No explanation, no argument.

This will help you not to participate in the drama.

Positively Disengaging in Silent Treatment:

“I see you don’t want to talk to me right now. I go into my room to read (in the garden…). You can tell me when you are ready to talk again.”

No anxiety. No compliance.

No drama participation.

Positively Disengaging and Broken Record

For the best result, combine the two.

1/ Empathizing sentence.

2/ Your simple sentence what you do.

3/ Repeat as many times you need.

Example 1:

“I understand that you are frustrated with me, but I still will not meet you today.”

Example 2:

“I see you are in trouble with this project, but I am not available to help you.”

Other Non-defensive Tactics

Negative assertion

Negative inquiry

Negative Assertion

When you’re criticized, say something negative about yourself:


 “I am not the best at keeping time, am I?”

“My organization skills are rather poor.”

“I could have come up with a better plan.”

“I could have said that earlier.”

The concept: the more you defend yourself, the more the opponent hits. The more you present your weaknesses, the less likely they hit.

Careful: no hurtful or derogatory sentences.

What you would not say to your friend, don’t say about yourself either.

Negative Inquiry

When you are criticized, ask for more.

“What else is annoying you what I do?”

“Is there anything else that I do that you don’t like?”

“What else would you like me to change?”

“Is it something else that makes you feel disrespected?”

The concept: if you argue, or defend yourself, it provokes your opponents more adamantly prove their point.

If you ask for more, they would run out from ammunition quite soon.

Negative Inquiry – Aftermath

If you engage in a fight with people who criticize you, after the argument they might feel:

– “Such a difficult person.”

If you accept critique and ask for more clarification, you leave an impression of:

– “What a nice person.”


Whether deserved or not, you can come back days or weeks later saying:

” I was thinking about what you’ve said. I agree with x, and y, but I think you were not right when you said z.”

What a thorough and thoughtful person does that!

Why not Defensive Mode?

In case of constructive, rightful critique:

While we are in defense mode, we listen to the others not with the intention of understanding their thoughts, but to refute their negative opinion.

You gain if you hear exactly what they have to say.

Why not Defensive Mode?

In case of manipulative critique:

It is essential not to react defensively.

Defense mode means: self-doubt has triggered, guilt, shame or anxiety provoked.

You admit that you’re on the manipulative hook. Some more push, and you’ll do what he or she wants you to do.

Do I resist or do I not?

You do. But not in this level.

This is the surface, the area of invoked emotions.

Those, you have to disregard, and not argue with.

Place of Resistance

Do not resist in the emotional level.

If they don’t like what you do, they do not have to. – Accept that.

Do resist in the action level.

Do whatever you want to, not what anybody tells you you “should” do.

– They have to accept that.

Best resistance tactic if you do not react the manipulative hook by feeling guilty, ashamed or anxious,

therefore, you do not engage in proving your point, that you are not a bad wife or husband, ungrateful child, neglectful neighbor or unpatriotic citizen.

Dismiss the feeling with;

            – positively disengaging,

            – negative assertion

            – negative inquiry

Make up your mind what you want to do and repeat it with:

– broken record

All in All

Main goal:

Drama Non-Participation.

Dismiss emotions.

Resist at the Core.

Coming next: Safeguard Yourself