For healthy relationships we must become more and more aware of ourselves, how we relate in both our strengths, shortcomings and defensiveness. When we are aware of our defensiveness, we can try to minimize it and engage in a healthy way. Every person has ways of defending himself/herself. If we step back and try to observe our own interactions, we want to avoid over-engaging in DEFENSE MECHANISMS.
- Denial: claiming/believing that what is true to be actually false.
- Displacement: redirecting emotions to a substitute target.
- Intellectualization: taking an objective viewpoint.
- Projection: attributing uncomfortable feelings to others.
- Rationalization: creating false but credible justifications.
- Reaction Formation: overacting in the opposite way to the fear.
- Regression: going back to acting as a child.
- Repression: pushing uncomfortable thoughts into the subconscious.
- Sublimation: redirecting ‘wrong’ urges into socially acceptable actions.
In defensiveness, our Ego defenses are numerous, and range from the most primitive (repression) to the most evolved (sublimation.) By primitive, I want to communicate that they are the earliest we acquire developmentally, not the least useful or most unhealthy. That means the type of defensiveness common in children. That is what is meant by regression; regressing to defensiveness typical of children. And it is important to remember that all defenses are useful, and that the ego is trying to cope with any given problem. Every person uses defense mechanisms to cope, whether or not he/she is aware of it. Our goal is to cope in healthier and healthier ways.
As we focus on personal growth, we function with a clearer sense of reality and use constructive relational skills. Defensiveness occurs when we use defense mechanisms. Defense mechanisms are natural, but they should not comprise a large part of our interactions with others.
If you have questions, feel free to email Marta or to call; 949-697-4332