I have learned that all of us have an image or perception about ourselves that we seem to hold true…
This is called our self-concept based on our past experiences, upbringing, values, beliefs and perception of reality. Truth be told, this collection of beliefs and attitudes about ourselves may not be how others see us.
When we are at a level where we do some serious soul-searching, awareness or enlightenment we will see the defences and behaviours that we hide behind.
Honesty: The quality of being honest, to have moral correctness, integrity and righteousness. Freedom from deceit or fraud.
“Respect for the truth is an acquired taste” – Mark Van Doren
We all use defence mechanisms to protect ourselves from the awful feeling of anxiety or guilt. This is because our ego is very demanding.
- Repress (forcing ideas, memories and threatening thoughts to the back of your mind)
- Project and displace (putting thoughts that bring shame or guilt, aggression and undesirable fantasies onto another person, kicks the dog, starts an argument, gas lighting)
- Sublimate (manage unacceptable emotion into acceptable behaviours like running)
- Deny (refuse to accept the truth, block events from consciousness)
- Regress (behaviour becomes child-like or primitive)
- Rationalise (take facts and reframe it to make it feel less threatening, exaggerated behaviour so the ego is upheld)
I expect some reaction if I suggest that coping or defence mechanisms are essentially untruths we tell ourselves in order to maintain an equilibrium of sorts in our minds. We simply hate, and will, at all costs, steer clear of unwanted emotions and perceived pain.
Coping or defence mechanisms are essentially untruths we tell ourselves in order to maintain an equilibrium of sorts in our minds
From early childhood we learn to be defensive to avoid dangerous and or painful situations and identify good or bad relationships.
As we mature, our defences can change and be more flexible. As adults, we should begin to trust our own judgement or assessment of situations.
The more an adult becomes self-aware or emotionally mature, the less defensive they may be. However when adults use these methods on a regular basis, it is an indication that their emotional development is at some level delayed.
I would really appreciate if you would take some time this weekend to reflect on your coping or defence mechanisms, and perhaps the answers to the questions here can provide valuable insight and conscious continuous growth:
- Do you react with aggression if someone tells you that you are lying?
- Are you the person who shouts the loudest if you are crossed?
- Do you think that you are better than everyone and try to minimise them?
- Do you try to impress others constantly in the hope that they see a different side?
- Would you rather push bad feelings to the back of your mind and proceed as if nothing untoward has happened?
- If you are feeling guilty, do you accuse others of doing or thinking things that make them feel guilty?
- If faced with evidence that proves you wrong, are you able to man up and say you lied?
- Are you hellbent on proving your worth that you are acting impulsively?
- Do you lose your temper, cry uncontrollably, deny, argue or become physical while unaware of the reasons that lead to you displaying “acting out” behaviour?
- Do you know when you are using your defence mechanisms?
- Are you able to transform bad behaviour or thoughts into healthy outlets?
- Can you asses a situation and change your reaction or perception of it?
- Are you able to step back and not be in control?
As always, I welcome your comments. You can find more challenging articles on my website at www.thoughfortheweekend.com
Love and lght