So many defenses. I feel like my life is often about bumping into defenses of one kind or another. Dealing with defenses feels like walking through a field of hay. With each step you meet a new stalk(defense) that obscures your vision and parts as you walk only to reveal a new defense.
Often the defenses I bump into are the defenses of other people. I dislike bumping into them because in doing so the relationships changes – often not for the better.
When defenses show themselves, the relationship door usually closes even if only for a moment and we realize we are not welcome. That happens to highly sensitive people a lot.
Of course, sometime defenses are our own because we get hurt and our healing is not easy.
What Are Defense Mechanisms?
According to Dictionary, a defense mechanism is:
an unconscious process, as denial, that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses.
Defenses are a way for us to:
- like ourselves in painful circumstances
- make sense of something that does not work for us
- taking care of ourselves.
Defenses can sometime be a kind of denial. Denial has a bad reputation because it is interpreted to mean that there is something wrong with you, that your are too weak to face the truth about something. Denial like all defenses are often meant to protect us from a shock to our systems, and sense of loss that we are unable to process and handle.
Defenses Can Create A Healing Space
I respect defenses even if I consider them to be toxic sometimes; I understand that they have a purpose.
In the case of people who have suffered a serious trauma they can be life saving by creating a space for the healing process. I don’t think anyone should be denied their healing space. We highly sensitive people are often harmed, sometimes seriously. Our ranks have many who have suffered serious child abuse. We can have defenses as a way of protecting ourselves from further harm.
Often however, we know that our healing takes a lot of time and the world has little patience with our healing needs. So our defenses can protect us from intolerance that only makes our pain greater. At least that has been my experience.
Sometimes Defenses Do Not Help
Sometimes our defenses may create a healing space for us but not necessarily help us heal.
It could be that in spite of ourselves we are reinjuring. It could be that we have been and are subjected to the wound of prejudice and it does not heal. It could be that our injuries are so serious and grave that we need a lot of time for healing. Then we need to be kind to ourselves.
It could be that we are in a situation that causes us ongoing pain. Perhaps for some reason we are unable to make a change that will make the situation better. Sometimes we have to accept the world as it is – with all its faults, let go of it, and make the life we deserve.
What Our Defenses Are Missing
Sometimes our defenses miss a lot.
They can miss our deservingness. They can miss the generosity we receive. They can miss our creative gifts. Sometimes our defenses want something that is not there and will not be. As long as we seek what we are missing we will not have a better life that we can create.
I admit it is hard to let go.
Handling Your Defenses
Defenses deserve to be taken seriously.
We can use them as clues that we are missing something and often not what we think. We can use them to be good detectives for our well being and the well being of those around us.
We can get that denial out on the table and ask it to help us see what needs to be seen. We can appreciate ourselves for caring about ourselves and each other. We can let our defenses lead us to something better, kinder, and more rewarding.
But first we have to open the door and go wading in the field of our pain to hear what it is telling us. When we do we will be greeted by a breeze of relief, and healing.