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Recognizing Our Defense Mechanisms

defense mechanisms

Recognizing Our Defense Mechanisms

We all have defense mechanisms, especially when it comes to relationships. We have learned them since we were children, honed them as teenagers and became pros at them by the time we were adults. Most of the time, we are not even aware that we are going into “defense mode” until we find ourselves in a familiar place of either getting angry, feeling hurt, becoming aggressive, using the fight and flight tool, turning into a submissive shrinking violet or countless other behaviors of defense, too many to mention.

So, what exactly is a ‘Defense Mechanism’? It is a very clever tactic the ego uses to protect itself from feeling anxiety in relationship intimacy. All relationships, not just the romantic intimacy but with anyone that develops a close relationship in levels of closeness. Starting from the casual hello to your neighbor, your family, your boss and/or co-workers to the first date jitters and long-time relationships. According to Sigmund Freud, defense mechanisms are said to safeguard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with, so we stop them before they have a chance to build up into something the ego fears; intimacy and unconditional acceptance of self or others on any level.

How our defense mechanisms work is the conflicting demands of our ego that deals with our day to day reality. There is the ‘superego’ that is designed to shield us from doing something we will regret and the ‘id’ part of our personality that seeks to fulfill all wants, needs, and impulses. It is the most basic, primal part of our personality and does not consider things such as the social appropriateness, morality, or even the reality of how we are going to fulfil our wants and needs.

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What happens when the ego cannot deal with the demands of our wants, the realities of having to accept that we will never get all that we desire in life and having to deal with our own moral standards? Our anxiety takes over and that unpleasant inner self that we try and avoid then puts into place a chosen defense mechanism to help reduce these feelings of anxiety.

Some common defense mechanisms that we use in relationships on a daily basis are listed below. How we avoid them is to first recognize them and then consciously make the decision there is no reason for the walls to go up. You have got this one and can handle whatever is thrown at you.

  1. Displacement. Kick the family dog. Had a bad day at work and go home and take out your frustration on family, pets and friends? Then you have experienced the ego defense mechanism of displacement.
  2. Denial. Denial is probably one of the best-known defense mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem to be unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth.
  3. Acting out. Otherwise known as the temper tantrum.
  4. Co-dependency. Turning to others for support and to be on ‘your side’.
  5. Lower original ambitions. Can’t get the gorgeous guy you want at work, so you settle for not aiming so high or even trying.
  6. Compensating. Over achieving in only one area of your life while the rest of it is given no or not much attention.
  7. Falseness. For example using humor to cover up your hurt feelings or anger.
  8. Fantasy. Unwilling to face the reality that your chance at marrying Prince Harry is now over and done with but you still believe you will find a Prince somewhere to marry, become a royal and let then let that great guy down the hall slip through your fingers.

Susan Z’s Verdict

The best way to learn how to drop our defense mechanisms is learning how to become fearless about failure, laughing at our mistakes and being in the moment reality of your life. If you don’t like it, then start working on changing it to the better.


Considering getting a psychic reading? We have carefully screened and selected a range of gifted, compassionate psychic readers to provide clarity and new insights into your life. Online psychics available 24/7.

Get A Psychic Reading ≫

 

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