1) To attack back;2) To get defensive;3) To placate;4) To disassociate.5) To take the high ground intellectually or morally.
"I notice that while I'm neither person's partner, that I start to not like you when you do certain things. I experience what you say to me as disrespectful... as you questioning and challenging my credentials. Since I don't like that, my non-professional instinct is to avoid you or hurt you back. However, as your therapist... your couple therapist, instead of rejecting or abandoning you, I'm telling you how you affect me. And how you affect me is how you affect your partner... right? (quick look to partner for confirmation). And how you've affected others. Despite feeling in the right... self-righteous is a more accurate term, it doesn't really work for you over the long haul. It kinda works to get various gains, but in terms of relationships you lose out. Your partner is questioning the relationship. You aren't getting the intimacy you desire. This has happened to you over and over in personal and professional life."