Feelings and Defenses 4

As we are talking this week about defensive behaviors that cover our primary feelings, it is imperative that we chat about the "quiet behaviors". These are silence, withdrawing, running away, and evading (avoiding). Before talking about these behaviors, I want to note that we are not talking about people who are quiet or withdrawn generally. We are talking about people who become silent or withdrawn when they experience one or more of the primary feelings.

People who are silent or withdrawn to disguise their feelings are often seen by others as sullen (moody, gloomy etc) or aloof (distant and unfriendly). Somehow we feel like these people don't want to be bothered with us and our typical response is to go away. Unfortunately, most of the time, this is a way to gain control by that person in order to pull the other person in (for attention or to get them to talk.) But it usually works the opposite and pushes the person away.

People who are evasive or avoid their feelings thru cleverness often come across as aloof or distant and unfriendly. They may be evasive to hide feeling lonely or ashamed. Unfortunately, this behavior only pushes people away, too. Being distant and unfriendly is not something that attracts others and they can't see the primary feeling that is hidden. So it's usually taken personally.

Running away can be used to avoid any of the primary feelings. This can be literally running away from someone in a relationship or running away by avoiding a conversation that is needed in a relationship. There are multiple ways of running away. When this happens the other person feels rejected and hurt. This is one of the most damaging ways of defending yourself. It can really lead to feelings of abandonment in your partner that can sometimes seem irreparable.

If you notice that you become silent, avoid conversations or people by running away or withdrawing, or see that you are evasive in order to defend yourself from any of the primary feelings, please talk to someone about this. Find out what your primary feelings are and deal with those feelings. It's amazing how freeing it can be to finally name the feelings, own them, and deal with them!

Thank you so much for reading. Tomorrow Joleen will finish out our blog. We hope to see you then. Have a great day.

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and relationship counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville