The therapy I offer is based on an understanding that feelings held in the unconscious mind are often too painful or uncomfortable to be realized. For that reason, we develop defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from actually knowing about, dealing with, or confronting these feelings.
Defense mechanisms are patterns of feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that are unconscious. These mechanisms can be either healthy or unhealthy, depending on what they are and how they are used. They are often an attempt to reduce stress, anxiety, and internal conflict—a way to cope with the world.
You know that saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” A popular way of negating your feelings around an often traumatic experience- popular after a painful break up or loss. We secretly know this is often a defense.
Common defense mechanisms include:
Denial—refusing to face or perceive an unpleasant reality
Projection—attributing one's unacceptable characteristics or motives to others
Displacement—changing the target of built-up emotions or feelings, often anger, onto those (usually people or animals) who are less threatening
Rationalization—making up logical explanations to conceal the real motives of one's thoughts or behavior
Reaction formation—adopting the opposite point of view or acting in a contradictory way than one really feels in an effort to hide from unacceptable emotions or impulses
Another problem, less well advertised is Core Complex relating. This concept began in infancy and can be problematic throughout the lifespan in terms of relating to others. This can be particularly difficult in close intimate relationships. The wish to be close with another feels too claustrophobic so a need to withdraw occurs. However, the problem is that when this place of perceived safety occurs one feels abandoned. This can leave the individual feeling as though they are not understood or one can feel hopeless and lonely.