Have you ever realized that when you’re in a non-wanted emotional state of being, you use certain behaviors to cover up those unwanted emotions? For example, let’s say you were in a relationship that just ended because the communication on your behalf was poor. Instead of taking the responsibility and admitting you had poor communication skills, you tell all your friends that your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend was not treating you right or you even explained that they were not the one for you on many different levels, including emotionally, financially, and sexually. This is an example of a defense mechanism called rationalization, which is when a person makes up excuses for a certain type behavior or outcome of a situation, instead of facing reality.
Defense Mechanisms are unconsciously applied techniques that protect the conscious self against strong feelings of anxiety. Most people think of defense mechanisms as mediators to protect the ego from feeling a non-pleasurable type of emotion. Some examples and meanings are as followed: Denial is when a person refuses to acknowledge the realities of an anxiety-producing situation. Displacement is when someone takes their impulsive on a less threatening target. Projection is when someone sees their own anxiety-producing thought in others. Repression is forgetting something, or pulling into the unconscious. Suppression is like repression, however, instead of actually forgetting, the person is trying to forget something that causes them anxiety. Fantasy is the defense mechanism that provides escape from anxiety through imagination or daydreaming. We as humans use defense mechanisms in many of the situations we take part in daily.
After getting a clear understanding of what defense mechanisms were, I quickly started to apply them to my own life. I asked myself a question, “Why do you block yourself from being emotionally attached to certain people?” As soon as the question rose, I quickly started to use rationalization to come up with excuses to explain my reason for not having a relationship, or even allowing people to connect with me emotionally. I realized that everyone that I once became emotionally connected with, have walked out of my life and left me with an un-wanted emotions and a broken heart. Therefore, I tend to up-hold this shield to protect my emotions. Although I came up with a good answer, I still didn’t explain my contribution the situation. I still didn’t feel it was necessary to go deep into the problem, so I suppressed the issue, hoping that it would go away. However, it caused me to see how most of my life I used many defense mechanisms not knowing that it would later affect me. I lived my life as a fantasy; I was able to escape from many of the emotions that I withheld, not realizing that those same emotions would regress its way back to me in the near future. So, I need to learn how to deal with those situations soon.
There is no problem with using defense mechanisms. However, we must realize that although we use them, we will eventually have to face those same problems and emotions. Therefore, we need to decide when the time will come when we will not be afraid to face our problems and negative emotions and won’t have to defend ourselves by blocking the truth. Don’t hold on to those un-wanted feelings. Deal with them as they come…In my defense, I’m still learning to deal with mines.
This was originally written in 2009 on a previous blog.