Domestic Violence and Defense Formation

Dysfunctional behavioral patterns affect all types of relationships, from coworkers and friends to intimate relationships involving loved ones. Defensive behaviors such as failure to trust, and suspicion bordering on paranoia, create walls between people, making it difficult to get ‘close’.  In extreme cases, an obsessive need to control others takes the place of trust. In other cases, Fear of Rejection, and ominous feelings of being abandoned, corrupt a fragile trust and wreck the future of new relationships, setting the individual up to reenact a repeating cycle of failure. The dysfunctional patterns are many, as are the defensive patterns that evolve over time.

Many of these dysfunctional patterns involve difficulty being genuine, because the defense behaviors themselves, ironically, get in the way of open, honest, mutually trusting relationships; instead, dysfunction intrudes upon every new relationship, ruining it like a mold. The culprit behind these behaviors often lies in a root cause of domestic abuse in the home, either directly, indirectly, or by the sin of omission otherwise known as neglect.

Domestic Discord Affects Millions
Domestic discord, dysfunction and violence affect millions in America and worldwide, producing a disruption in behavior that spreads through generations. Dysfunction breeds dysfunction, and violence breeds violence. In order to prevent the damage caused by dysfunction within families, the damaging behaviors have to be revealed and understood. Long after the abuse ends, defense mechanisms that were once essential, become maladaptive.

Abusive environments produce a reactive process called defense mechanisms that serve a healthy purpose for individuals while they are threatened but become damaging when the threat has passed.Defense mechanisms that extend past their usefulness become hindrances to developing healthy relationships and impede healthy functioning.
Why Do Defense Mechanisms Form?
The Human Psyche is part of our being and must be protected in order to survive. When we are mistreated and abused, or even neglected, we find ways to counterbalance the psyche.
#SigmundFreud and his daughter #AnnaFreud were pioneers in the understanding of the psyche, and Anna devised the nine #DefenseMechanisms
1. Denial: A self-lie that protects the individual from the brute truth
2. Repression: The individual represses their true feelings in order to avoid pain or threat
3. Regression: Returning the ego to an earlier, safer time
4. Displacement: The individual displaces a true desire or goal for a substitute that is perceived as less dangerous
5. Projection: Individual attributes their true desires or impulses to someone or something else
6. Reaction Formation: Individual’s exagerated attempt to convince themselves or others that their true desires, which they percieve as unacceptable, that the opposite is true
7. Rationalization: Individual attempts to justify irrational behavior by using rational logic
8. Intellectualization: Individual uses thought process and intelligent language to avoid dealing with strong emotions
9. Sublimation: Individual uses a conversion of a true impulse or desire that is unacceptable, into an acceptable action or behavior
Each defense mechanism distorts, or hides a true feeling or impulse, burying it under replacement defenses that impedes the healing process.
Individual in an abusive environment usually resorts to all nine defense mechanisms.

Sara Niles   cropped-16saranilelogored.jpg

Reference MindfulnessMuse


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