This week we have been talking about how defenses mask and cover true feelings. As described on Monday, the five main focus feelings that are commonly defended are Angry, Sad, Afraid, Lonely, Ashamed, and Guilty. We use defenses to keep from feeling strong unpleasant feelings and to show others when we feel socially unacceptable feelings. When we placate (trying to pacify or appease someone) or flatter someone, we can be seen as a people pleaser or phony. We use these defenses to cover feelings of loneliness. For instance, if you feel left out and want to be included in a gathering, you may be overly flattering or placating to try and make others happy and hide your fear.
People who apologize all the time for things that they did not do, are also seen as people pleasers. Sometimes these people use the constant apology to cover shame or feelings of worthlessness.
Smiling and joking can be used as defenses too. When someone feels angry, they can have an angry smile. People will often smile through painful feelings to cover their vulnerability. Joking can be used as a defense of feeling strong feelings since joking often minimizes situations.Smiling and joking can be seen as phony. Politicians are famous for covering feelings with smiles and are often viewed as phony.
The thing about defenses is that while they might protect us from others, they create distance within your self. As you create walls to keep people away, you leave yourself lonely. Defenses create distance, which is self defeating. Take time to stay in touch with your true feeling. Be true to yourself and to your loved ones.
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield