Our Defenses Affect Our Flourishing – Part II

Here I wrote that the maturity of our unconscious defenses in the face of life’s pain contributes to our overall psychosocial wellness.

And the opposite seems true as well.  Immature defenses tend to undermine our wellness. 

Here are some common immature defenses.

Some (dissociation, fantasy, passive aggression, projection) avoid or externalize responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in.

Other defenses keep the threatening thought or feeling out of our awareness.  These include displacement (directing anger at something other than the source of the anger), intellectualization, and repression.

Awareness of these immature defenses can help us leave them behind.  To truly grow, though, we need to witness exemplars of the mature defenses as well as experience the relational support to integrate them.