are examples of the defenses that most of us use to avoid seeing
ourselves or to avoid sharing painful feelings. We've used some of
these defenses so often for so long that they just come out naturally
- they are part of us.
- Instead of being honest about how we feel - we have an intellectual
explanation for feelings. We're in our head - not in our gut.
or explaining - We
give detailed explanations about our problems or feelings. Instead of
being direct about whom we are we try to explain it all to others.
- Beating around the bush, being non-specific. Instead of saying
"I'm scared" - we dance all around the subject.
- We've got a good reason for everything. "I'm angry because they
did this or that." "I drink because of pressure on the
job." The truth is no reason is a good reason to drink or to deny
that we have feelings.
- "If that happened to you you'd feel the same-way. We -believe
we have a right to the negative feelings.
- Instead of leveling about our own feelings, we accuse others of the
same feelings. "I'm not angry, you're the one who's angry. Get
the heat off us and on someone else."
"It's not my fault! If you'd only get off my back, then things
wouldn't be this way." We're not honest about ourselves; we lay
our problems on someone else.
others - We're
smug or superior, we look down at others who are struggling to be
honest. We tell ourselves that we're not that way - but we don't share
this superior attitude with anyone.
or arguing - If
someone confronts us about how we appear we get into an argument about
the details - all in an effort to avoid the confrontation.
others - Some of
us avoid sharing feelings by always asking other group members
questions. Keep the subject off me and on someone else - which is one
way of avoiding facing us.
the subject or Evading the issue
- This is a common defense in group therapy. Whenever things get
uncomfortable we change the topic to a safer subject. One way we do
this is to get off the present and start talking about the
Denial - This is
the defense where we simply deny that we have a feeling. We're closed
- We share some feelings, but we tend to gloss over them. "Sure,
I feel lousy but it's not bad - I'll pull myself out of it.
- When confronted, we just tell people to leave us alone. We don't
give ourselves the chance to try to be a part of the group.
shouting or intimidating
- To avoid facing ourselves, we jump on others; we get verbally
aggressive - trying to tear down others to make ourselves feel a
little better; to cover up those lousy feelings we have about
or Becoming Silent
- One way to avoid confrontation or to keep others from seeing who we
are, is to simply remain silent. The thinking here is, if I don't say
anything, no one can hurt me or find out who I am.
too much - The
rule here is - if I keep talking about anything, others won't get a
chance to confront me.
or staring - This
is a defense without using words. We give others dirty looks that say
- "Bug off - don't get too close to me."
or quipping_ -
This is the comedy defense. Never get too serious - keep the real
feelings away by joking around or quipping. -
too Easily - We
say yes too quickly - we agree with the confrontations from others,
but we agree only to keep others from seeing the real us.
- This is related to agreeing. When we comply we go along with what
seems to be the program, so we'll avoid conflict. We say - "Sure,
I'm an alcoholic" - but underneath we really don't believe it and
rather than share our real feelings we go along with the crowd.