Mechanical Defense

I have been thinking a lot about defense mechanisms lately. The word implies to me something small and isolated, like a semi- rare reaction that humans have in certain high stress situations. But I have come to realize that I don’t think defense mechanism are a compartmentalized segment of ones personality, but really, more often can be an overarching way one interacts with the world.   It is not just a repetitive pattern that one enacts because they have found it to be beneficial to fill their need for security, but it is actually the state they are engaged in most moments of their life.  Freud was the first to coin the term, and then later his daughter, Anna, expanded on the idea. She named about ten mechanisms: regression, repression, rationalization, intellectualization, denial, displacement, sublimation, reaction formation, and identification with the aggressor. So I am trying to look into the subtle ways that I might find myself grasping for these mechanisms and see what need I am trying to fill. Surely security plays a big role in most defense mechanisms, and might actually be fundamentally there in all of them. I am making the intentional effort to realize when I feel a need for defense and what response I use in that moment. Once I observe it, and register the feeling I inquire about what my need was there. NVC is an instrument to look at by subconscious behavior and understand where my reaction came from and what it is I need now.


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