The Deal On Your DM’s
• Repression: Exclusion from awareness of memories, emotions that would cause distress/anxiety if allowed to enter consciousness. Ladies and gentlemen, isn't this why we go back each time our attackers bring themselves to their knees and apologize, stating it will never happen again? We go back without thought of what's been transpiring for the last...how many years?
• Denial: The patient behaves as though unaware of something that he might reasonably be expected to know. We were there - it happened to us - but we place ourselves in such a precarious spot that reality is a lie....we know it....but, we're comfortable for the moment...they're not beating on us, so it's okay.
• Regression: The unconscious adoption of patterns of behavior, appropriate to an earlier stage of development. They become, not our husbands, or wives, or significant others any more, but our abusive fathers, mothers, siblings, or friends from early childhood.
• Projection: The unconscious attribution to another person of one's own thoughts, or feelings. After my wife would stop the beating and the yelling, I learned to ask her, (and I did ask her): "So...no that you've told me about you, what about me?" It really upset her, but it was my only defense at that time.
• Reaction: The unconscious adoptions of behavior formation opposite to that which reflect the persons true feelings and intentions. The anger and control issues come from an esteem so deeply injured, that the emotion shown, anger, is a whole lot easier to portray than the scared little boy, or girl they really are.
• Displace: Involves the transferring of emotion from a meant situation or object with which it is properly associated to another that gives less distress. Trust me, they're not going to approach their employer like they treat us. They've got to release somwhere, and unfortunately it's on us.
• Rationalization: sublimation unconscious diversion of unacceptable outlets into acceptable outlets. This is one of the DM's, which will keep us in denial and eventually destroy us It was a heavy-hitter at one time, but now it has become weak and inappropriate...WATCH OUT!
Think of a situation in your life where all participants were behaving badly. What was the outcome? For me, I could feel the barometric pressure in the room crash. Tunnel vision ensued and the void spread to everyone.
Do you know any individuals who seem very defensive? Does their defensiveness affect your relationships with them? Oh...My...God! I had to be nuts to ask this one!
Here are some difficult concepts:
Physical defensiveness: Fight or Flight. Common now, think about it. The basic instinct of our primal ancestors carries on in us today. When we are so frightened we freeze up, our pupils dilate, our blood pressure rises, our pulse increases, and we feel the short hairs all over our bodies standing up.
Freud: A useful model for understanding defensive behavior.
Three levels of consciousness;
a) conscious: all sensations we are aware of at a given moment i.e. right now!
b) Preconscious: just below the surface but can be called up at any moment. This one is cool! You're walking down the street, say, in...oh...Los Angeles. You catch a glimpse of fragrance
coming from, you know not where and you could swear you're smelling the subway in New York.
c) Unconscious human behavior is the result of drives and instincts that we are not aware of therefore can only be expressed indirectly (dreams, fantasies etc.)
Three parts of Self:
a. Id is the biological components of personality e.g. basic sexual and aggressive tendencies. It is totally unrestrained and operates on the pleasure principal. It is impulsive, irrational and narcissistic. Very simply this one is: "I want what I want and I want it now!"
b. Superego is the moral and ethical part of the psyche. This is the local neighborhood cop patrolling the streets to keep you safe. There are two parts. The moral conscience, developed through discipline and punishment by our caregivers, causes guilt feelings and allows us to distinguish right from wrong. The ego ideal comes from caregiver’s approval and allows us to
establish goals and aspirations. It functions on the perfection principle.
c. Ego wishes to satisfy the id within the confines of the superego. It balances all parts of the personality. It operates on the reality principle.
Realistic: emotional response to a perceived threat or danger
Neurotic: fear that the ego will not be able to control the instincts of the id. A good example would be the news of a tragedy and someone literally breaks out in laughter.
Moral: fear of violating the perfectionist ideal of the superego.
Can you match the defense mechanism with the situations below?
1. _____Mark doesn't deal with his three pack/day cigarette habit, claiming that "I'll probably die from an accident before cancer gets me."
2. _____After some especially frustrating and unfair criticism from her professor, Jan starts an argument with her roommate during lunch.
3. _____Dave has no memory of his seventh grade class play which was marred by his
forgetting his lines and leaving the stage in tears.
4. _____Jack explains his bad grade on the final by noting that he had a long phone call from his parents the night before the exam.
5. _____Sue, who was quite the "party animal" only a few months earlier, writes the university president arguing for the mandatory expulsion of alcohol-using students.
6. _____Carol uses her anger over a disagreement with a friend to set a school record in the 100 meters.
7. _____Bill, who ordinarily keeps his anger under wraps, sees every other drver's breach of automotive etiquette as a personal criticism.
8. _____After an especially traumatic day, in which she failed three different exams, Lisa curls up in a blanket and rocks herself to sleep
Here are the answers;
#1. Mark is using denial because he refuses to acknowledge the long-term consequences of his heavy smoking.
#2. Jan shows evidence of displacement in that she expressed her anger to a safer target than her professor.
#3. Dave has apparently repressed his memory of the play, probably because it was so humiliating to him.
#4. Jack's apparently rational explanation doesn't really explain why he failed the exam, so this is an example of rationalization.
#5. Sue's new interest in preventing others from doing what she used to do illustrates reaction formation.
#6. Carol has directed her anger into her running, which describes sublimation.
#7. Bill's interest in the bad driving behavior of others illustrates projection.
#8. Lisa's rocking and curling up with a blanket illustrates regression.
Think about these particulates of the human psyche folks. When we observe situations in an objective way, we begin to understand our abusers. This is the last thing they would allow if they knew it was happening. But, they don't know. We may gain some of the power we've given up so freely back without them even realizing it.
My thought for the day for all of us is to: WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! The pen and paper are our friends. Get those thoughts on to paper and read them back to yourself. This will enable you to be objective with your situation and allow yourself to step back and take a good look at yourself.