YOUR DEFENSE MECHANISMS ARE NOT YOUR PERSONALITY
When I work with new couples that have come to my practice for the first time, they often tell me how they wish to create a relationship that is deeply tuned in, turned on and emotionally intimate. However, there is usually some fear around being “vulnerable” or sharing their deepest “feelings” with each other. Many of my couples, both men and women, tell me that they “don’t know how to talk about their feelings” and report that it’s “just not their personality.” After talking with me during their first session, they soon realize that their defense mechanisms (which often manifest as fears or emotional triggers) are not actually the truest essence of their personalities or their relationship for that matter. Let’s go deeper, shall we!
I want to assure you that being fearful of sharing “feelings” is completely normal, as the roots of “vulnerability being a weakness” is deeply ingrained in almost all societies around the world. Despite the amazing research that Brene Brown has discovered over the past 10 years on the subject of vulnerability, there is still so much work to be done in the daily lives of couples when it comes to “how they actually integrate” that new mentality of her work, into their relationships. Brene Brown describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure” which in and of itself can be daunting because it requires courage and the ability to step outside of one’s comfort zone to become vulnerable in the first place.
Most of us have learned that our opinions, ideas and perspectives about life is what makes us respectable, smart and knowledgeable human beings, however much of our perspectives are colored by the Ego mind, especially when it comes to trigger management or escalated communication with a beloved. Pop psychology talks about the Ego as a bad thing; however, I disagree. Yes, the ego can be toxic when projected consciously or subconsciously onto our beloveds, which is why popular opinion deems it as evil or something to be ashamed of. But a person’s ego is the first level of defense for a human being early on in life, especially since the brain does not fully develop until the age of 25.
The unfortunate aspect to the subconscious ego mind & its defense mechanisms is that it’s not suitable for a healthy tuned in, turned on and conscious partnership. In fact, it’s the complete opposite which is why “all of us” at one point or another have to take a very “vulnerable” look in the mirror by doing some deep systemic inquiry around why those defense mechanisms have become so present to begin with.
The ego mind is about 95% subconscious, until it is brought forward to the cerebral cortex, which also known as the conscious mind. Bringing the subtle layers of the subconscious mind, conscious, is one of the main objectives of a skilled & professionally trained therapist. A subconscious ego mind can often keep a person or a relationship “stuck” in the “safety zone” because the way they once protected themselves earlier on in life, is no longer suitable when it comes to maintaining deep emotional and sexual intimacy with their beloved.
The subconscious mind is just as tricky as politics sometimes, so we must be sure of the landscape with as much detail as possible. There really is no room for error because quite literally that could mean the end of one of my couples relationships and for me, that is non-negotiable, unless the couple I am working with truly believes they have grown out of love; that’s a different story. Most of my couples want to stay together and have come to me to help guide them through the growth process. It doesn’t matter if they are just engaged, newlyweds, or a seasoned married couple, the first session is always about defense mechanism & trigger discovery which is usually embedded in each partners life experience before they even met and fell in love. Why? Because if you do not know the landscape, you do not know what tools are needed.
To go a little further, our personality development is usually seated in some type of defense mechanism because our personalities are ingrained between the ages of 1 to 7 years old, which is when our brains are the least developed. However, our defense mechanisms are not actually the “truest essence” of our personalities. I think of it as the more “suppressed versions” of ourselves and there are many more layers of us to discover.
This is the work that I do with my couples!
I help them uncover the suppressed layers of themselves so they can begin to live a more “fully expressed, tuned in and turned on” life together. It’s funny because my couples usually remark about how surprised they are to find out what was lurking in their subconscious mind for so many years without their knowledge. I just tell them that the “best defense mechanism is the one you don’t know you are using” and they usually give me a twisted grin & we all have a good laugh. It’s just like our human history, if we don’t know how the past informs us, it’s difficult to clearly chart the way forward. I believe that when we understand our own history with precision, then relating can truly become an art-form or a symbiotic dance flow rather than what couples usually experience, which is some level of survival.
Inner work paired with self-acceptance leads to deeper mindfulness, self-expression and ultimately, choice. When couples realize they can be freed from all of those fear and defense programs, they are finally able to see the unseen; the subconscious ego mind at work. Understanding these defense mechanisms and getting to the root so we can then re-route our conscious journey is one of the major keys to resuscitating the TRUEST version of ourselves and therefore, our relationships.
It is also the way our human species on a whole, evolves in consciousness, as that awareness and knowledge is then passed on multi-generationally. Otherwise, those programed defense mechanisms or cycles of thought will run on autopilot generation after generation; a trance like state that seems to be hitting the “replay button” over and over again with no real path towards deep, purposeful and evolutionary growth.
I genuinely believe that all couples need effective communication solutions that help to maintain deep emotional & sexual intimacy overtime. When couples are properly resourced and develop the ability, as well as the foresight to create a sacred, conscious, tuned in and sexually turned on partnership together, nothing can stop them. Joining the conscious couple community is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it is rewarding!
Check out my 90 Day Renew, Restore & Revolutionize your Relationship Program at https://bit.ly/2Y2TJZC or visit RelationshipRevolutionaries.com to check out all of our services for couples. We offer online programs, podcasts, memberships, mastermind workshops, intensives as well as private 1 on 1 therapeutic & coaching services.
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I thought that was so informative and really showed what couples need in life today. There was so much I did not know.