Sigmund Freud first set-forth a definition for emotional constructs that serve the purpose of protecting one’s psyche from emotional discomfort. These emotional constructs have stood the test of time and are still considered an accurate definition of human defensive behaviors. These defensive behaviors include, but are not limited to:
• Denial: claiming/believing that what is true is really false.
• Displacement: redirecting emotions to an alternate person, situation or thing.
• Intellectualization: taking an objective viewpoint and disavowing feelings.
• Projection: attributing one’s feelings/behaviors to others.
• Rationalization: creating false, but credible justifications for behavior.
• Reaction Formation: overacting in the opposite way to the fear.
• Regressive: acting as a child – specific to a particular age.
• Repression: pushing uncomfortable thoughts into the subconscious.
• Sublimation: redirecting ‘wrong’ urges into socially acceptable actions.
• Suppression: pushing uncomfortable thoughts into the unconscious – thus, forgetting something that causes anxiety.
• Fixation: person becomes obsessed with an attachment to a human, animal or thing.
Your defensive behaviors have developed over time beginning in early childhood, often without your being aware as they are usually the family relational construct. In times of family stress, defensive behaviors worked to help the child navigate challenges with the least amount of pain. Thus, they become the mainstay pattern of behavior and are carried into adulthood, albeit, part of the person knows these behaviors are causing difficulty in his/her relationships.
However, because you are a spiritual being, you have the ability to rise above these habits and patterns to see the truth of the matter. From that moment on, you can make choices that allow you to work directly from a place of truth within.
For example: Passive aggressive ways of communicating allowed you to get what you needed as a child without being scolded, punished or laughed at, so you learned to avoid being direct and honest.
You may have taken refuge in the lives of others, discovering ways to direct attention away (displacement) from yourself entirely.
Throwing yourself into projects or rescuing others from themselves can be effective ways to avoid dealing with your issues. Thus, when people are truly helped by your actions, you get the added bonus of feeling heroic. However, while defenses can keep away the things you fear, they can also work to keep you away from intimacy.
When you can be honest with yourself about what you truly desire, then you can connect your desires to the creative power of the spirit within. Knowing that you are one with the energy of the universe allows you to release any need for defense. Trusting that power, you know that you are exactly where you are meant to be, and that challenges brings gifts of experience and growth.
When you can put down arms raised in defense, then you are free to use your hands, mind, heart and spirit to mold and shape your abundant energy to create and live your life more fully and abundant.