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Defense and Denial – excerpt from my soon available book…

Defensive and Denial

 Defensive and denial are partners in the deepest blocks towards awareness and healing. Becoming defensive or flipping into denial can be a sign that something, someone or some words have triggered an imprint that you are trying to avoid. Defensive and denial are activated because of fear to feel the pain, to feel wrong and to avoid reality and truth. Living in denial is living in a fog.

Some people will do any and everything possible to avoid self-refection. They must believe – ‘think’ that they are ‘right’ and everyone else is wrong. They feel – ‘think’ that they must do this in order to survive. They feel as if they might be destroyed and even die if they don’t. Actually sometimes, you need to die unto yourself, tear down, break down and take apart something in order to rebuild it on a stronger and better foundation. But the fear of death of the ‘current and in place belief system’, no matter how distorted it might be, can create such fear that defense and denial become life lines. Actually defense and denial are angels of death creating blocks and leading to destruction.

If you flip into denial and become defensive along with being angry about a situation or something said or done, it reveals that you have been deeply triggered. You are trying to make them wrong. So you can feel ‘right’ and ‘safe’ in your current beliefs according to your imprints about self, others and your issues.

Break through the knee jerk reaction of denial and defense mechanisms to be able to look hard and long as to why you react in this manner. Incorporate intense self-refection. Look at yourself instead of trying to point the finger outside self or at another. Pointing the finger outside yourself and at another is deflecting and projecting – a sure sign that someone or some situation has hit upon your vulnerabilities. Looking with honesty at coping mechanisms that you use to deflect discomfort is the biggest challenge to awareness and healing. The deepest work is healing our personal wounds – our core wounds. And to do this you must be open to looking at self honestly in deep self-reflection.

Many times becoming defensive and in denial is insecurity hiding behind a big ego. It’s a kind of self-willed blindness. You wouldn’t have been triggered, if it hadn’t touched something that you were trying to avoid or hide. So why do you have such fear of being ‘judged’?

Defense and denial mechanisms can be difficult to break through, because their whole purpose in being kept alive is to defend imprints and the belief system, in order to stay out of pain and to feel ‘safe’. They come into play to avoid looking at self and to avoid change. Therefore they will fight hard and long to stay alive. The defended self can be a hard nut to crack. Some people reacting defensively and in denial do so with such intensity that it’s as if their very life is being threatened and to them, it does feel this way. The fear that their defended belief system might not be accurate throws them into a tailspin and the feeling that they are fighting for their life. So they will accuse the other side to that which they are guilty. They will project.

 PROJECTION – is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities – both positive and negative – by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others.

Realize that people will not only project their bad traits onto others, but also their good. When a person projects their good traits onto someone – they for example may see someone has having a kind heart which is theirs. When in reality the person on whom they are projecting has a cold manipulative heart with devious motives. Therefore projecting can be harmful whether it’s done with either negative or positive attributes.

Projection can be an obvious manipulation tactic and is also used to control, along with shaming and blaming others into shutting up allowing for continuance to keep on doing as they wish. Therefore, the clearer you see yourself in awareness and knowledge in relation to others is the best and safest you can be in this regard.

 Concerning defensiveness, awareness will need to be done layer by layer. Because feelings of defensiveness can trigger intense denial, anger and the feeling that you want to reject the person, words, experience or situation. You may actually do this by cutting them out of your life. As you point the finger at them away from self either in deflection or projection as you try to shame and blame. Because they are too close to revealing the truth. That will break open or shatter your image of self. That which you believe you must hold onto in order to make you ‘feel’ and ‘appear’ what you ‘think’ is ‘safe’. Something is shaking up your status quo and your mechanisms of defense don’t like it and will fight like hell to stop being exposed and to not feel the emotional pain. The defended belief system is a major block that keeps truth and subsequently peace, love and joy away.

Dig really deep to become aware of why you are defensive; look at yourself honestly, don’t be afraid to feel the pain. Pain is part of living. If and when you allow yourself to get into the feelings and the imprint that is being triggered, you will be able to more easily see why you became defensive and then release it. Why are you afraid of being judged? Why does it bother you so intensely? It wouldn’t bother you if you felt and were secure in self.

Understand that being defensive is usually because you are not feeling good enough, feeling flawed, unworthy or uncertain and someone has gotten dangerously close to revealing it. So you try to do everything in your power to defend self. But what you are actually doing is defending your right to stay stuck, blocked and cut off from self growth, truth and ultimately healing and happiness. The longer you stay in denial and defense, the longer you will stay blocked. The quicker you break through denial and defense, the faster you will feel free.

It takes bravery to break through defenses. This is why it’s so prevalent in our world today and why so many make statements such as: ‘Don’t judge me. You have no right to ‘judge’ me. Who are you to ‘judge’ me?’ Comments such as these are defense mechanisms on over drive and come from persons not integrated and at acceptance of self. People who react in this manner are living in insecurity, intellectual denial and emotional pain. Their defensiveness concerning the fear of being judged by others clearly reveals this. They may as well be screaming, ‘I am insecure, am weak, feel unworthy, am really not sure of what I believe or what I am saying or doing. So don’t put it in my face because I am too weak and frightened to look at it or myself.’ They will then deflect or project trying to point the finger outside of their self by shaming and blaming those who have triggered their deep seated issues and insecurity.

Blaming is actually a form of giving your power away. When you blame, it is saying or admitting ‘they’ have power over you concerning the way you react, feel and behave. Therefore, you are admitting that someone else is so powerful as to control your feelings, mood and even your very being. So how weak does that show you as being?

Some people will even defend the indefensible as in someone may commit an actual crime and their mother may say, “Oh, it was just his circumstances. He hung out with the wrong crowd.” 

Avoidance is another piece of defense and denial – as in avoiding whatever is brought up avoid the pain. You deny, block, bury, ignore or turn away from all warnings and signals. You avoid doing activities, being around people or expressing yourself because you fear that you will experience pain as recalled from past experiences.

 Avoidant personality disorder – Those affected display a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and inferiorityextreme sensitivity to negative evaluation and avoidance of social interaction despite a strong desire to be close to others. Individuals with the disorder tend to describe themselves as uneasy, anxious, lonely, unwanted and isolated from others.

 Avoidance coping creates stress and anxiety and ravages self-confidence. It is a major factor that differentiates people who have common psychological problems – depression – anxiety and/or eating disorders vs. those who don’t. Simplistic example: You realize that you have gained some weight. Instead of addressing it and looking at your body naked in a full length mirror, you avoid mirrors and wear larger clothing to cover up and continue over-eating. When you realize you have gained even more weight, you become overwhelmed and depressed. You feel like you look bad, whether you actually do or not. It’s your perception and you feel hate for yourself – your body – your clothing and that hate of self bleeds out what you do and onto everyone you come into contact with, in some form or another. You avoid going to the gym until you lose weigh because you have a fear of being judged and humiliated. You avoid doing your usual activities and being around your friends. It’s about what you fear that leads to what you avoid rather than what is actual. Avoidance coping causes anxiety to snowball because when people use avoidance coping they typically end up experiencing more of the very thing they were trying to escape.

You are overly focused that the outcome of interactions and experiences will be negative. You are self-conscious, have fear of being judged and think everyone is seeing you as badly as you perceive yourself. Most people probably will not notice or care that you gained a few pounds. Most people are more concerned with self than someone else. This is an obvious example of ‘avoidance’ on a physical level. Avoidant personalities – blow things up in their minds thinking and worrying that if, in some context and time frame, they had a bad experience that they always will. They idealize relationships then devalue them, avoid making decisions and avoid life’s experiences in general.

 Reality is that everyone is judging everyone else in each day and every moment. We all make judgments. Judgments from others will not trigger you and you will not become defensive, if you are at awareness, acceptance and understanding of self. It will just cause you to self-reflect and self-reflection is how you grow into awareness. So being triggered can be a good thing, if looked at and used with awareness. What matters is how you look at yourself. It’s fine to be different and individual. It’s your insecurity about self that triggers defensiveness, denial, vulnerabilities and fear of being judged. Feeling the pain in self-reflection and awareness is the beginning to healing. Feel the pain and release it, so you can feel the joy!

Stop watering the weeds in your life and start watering the flowers.