The Defense mechanism that has a defense mechanism

It appears we all have insecurities we wear on our sleeves. They become a statement of our identity of our victim-hood. We rationalize their purpose as being “good” somehow in that it serves a critical purpose in moral righteousness and keeping us safe and pure.

Last night I discovered my one INFP-friend used jealousy. He actually defended his jealousy and said it was a good “natural” thing. He felt righteous in having it. The downfall is he couldn’t stay on facebook longer than 3 days, because he was overcome with jealousy to the point where it emotionally drained everything out of him. Also the uncertainty of online interaction and social conventions/expectations totally crippled him. He viewed everyone as caricatures of themselves insecurities covered up with false personas and incessant narcissism.

He defended his “right” to jealousy, in that to him it was a badge of his uniqueness. On one level he realized it was perhaps a “negative” insecurity but he didn’t care. Jealousy is a defense mechanism, and signifies that you are envious of other people leading lives and having things you desire yourself but feel powerless to create for yourself.

I told him if he was living his life in true accordance with his inner self and inner most desires that he would have everything he desired and jealousy would thus be impossible. In fact he would be happy for others. You can’t be happy for others if you are not happy for yourself.

My gf also an INFP also has an equally powerful defense mechanism. And that is negativity/hatred/anger towards other people.  When people don’t behave in accordance to her personal set of self-righteous values and standards, often when it even doesn’t directly affect her, it will incite great anger. Again seen form her perspective this is a righteous “good” pure anger that is most necessary in establishing high ideals and of course safety.

When I then critique her on her overt negativity, she defends her defense mechanism quite well and swiftly. To her it has kept her safe from her mothers dangerous boyfriends and all the dangerous things out in the world. To her it seems perfectly justified and if it’s excessive at times, well…she doesn’t really notice.

This sets up a dangerous baseline emotional blueprint. If for example my INFP-friend is not feeling jealousy in some amount throughout the day he will feel like somethings wrong, he will likely feel unsafe and maybe not even know why. Same with my gf, the negativity directed at other peoples way of being becomes this baseline emotion, that needs to be continually fed. If there isn’t something in her immediate social environment to ego-trip about then shell use a past memory or even make something up.

Everyone rationalizes their behaviors, when it’s obviously negative it should be a clear red flag something is deeply amiss.

So what is my defense mechanism I have defense mechanisms for? Probably excusing other peoples bad behavior. I learned to excuse my mothers emotional abuse of me, for my own survival. I defend other peoples insecurities all the while being terrified of them and thusly having judged them with disgust.

In many ways I am similar to my INFP-friend. My jealousy isn’t so much about the material things other people have, but the connection they have with friends. A picture of someone with their friends on instagram, will elicit a near instantaneous subconscious disgust reaction. The thing I desire most (connection) is also something I am often equally disgusted when I see it in other people. According to my therapist because my mother didn’t connect with me adequately, I resented connection outright.

It would stand to reason then I still needed her for my survival and thus I excused her bad “behavior” and rationalized it away in order to keep myself sane in the face of a clear lack of necessary empathetic connection.

That’s the thing about our defense mechanisms, at one point in our lives they kept us sane at the sheer injustice we felt being inflicted on us. The problem is that the defense mechanism becomes anticipatory and thusly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Even more dangerously it becomes a beast we need to feed in order to feel like things are “normal”. If things get too good….something must be amiss we reason, so we then conjure up ghosts of the past to re-create that feeling of self-defense.

The secret to resolving these issues is partly as follows.

For my INFP-friend and his jealousy, he would need to start to learn how to feel good about the creative materializing abundance power in himself first, and then feel good and relaxed about other people when they create abundance for themselves.

For my gf and her anger-at-others-peoples-bad-behavior issue, she needs to start feeling good and relaxed about her own behaviors instead of righteous/justified in her actions/in defense of…;; and then begin looking and feeling good about other peoples good behavior.

For myself I need to learn how to feel good about doing what I want, and putting my own emotions first, and feeling relaxed about it instead of other peoples. Then I need to feel good when other people put themselves first in a relaxed manner instead of compromising themselves to other peoples emotional whims/needs.

I need to feel good about coming from my inner self and connecting emotionally from there with others. My entire way of relating to people, in terms of being overly invested in their emotional state and forgetting my own needs to change. I need to feel good and relaxed about voicing my own emotional desires and not worrying about it’s affects on others. And then feel good when I see others do the same thing.

Recently my gf and I have been watching the new TV show “From Dusk Till Dawn”. It is very much like most Quentin Tarantino movies in terms of style. An interesting thing I noticed is the main characters in the show typically have no mind filter. They are always stating out loud how they feel and what they desire in an aspergers fearless type way. The show takes what is normally very intense survival type situations and gives it this comedic overlay often injected at key intense moments. The effect is one of regulating intensity of emotion with humor. Very effective. The characters follow their hearts regardless of cataclysmic consequences and stay true to themselves.

The characters may do horrible things but at least they are doing horrible things with integrity and respect to themselves. In a strange way I find the characters forthrightness very therapeutic. It provides a good emotional template in that even in extreme survival situations the characters remain unusually calm, relaxed and true to themselves. Often even when they know they are going to die, or are in the process of dying.

I believe Quentin Tarantino is trying to teach himself through his characters a new way of being. I doubt he realizes he is even doing this. When we dream for example we feel that we merely one player among many, not realizing that dream character we are scared of or fighting we actually created to teach us a lesson about ourselves.

It is thus important that when we see traits in others we admire, we emotionally begin to embody that new emotional way of being for our personal benefit. Many people don’t take this simple little step. For example many people admire animals for their cuteness, but what they are really admiring is how present they are. Few take that opportunity to become and be like that animal and to embody the same qualities that make it “cute” in the first place.

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One thought on “The Defense mechanism that has a defense mechanism

  1. dreamerrambling

    This was great. You’re very, very insightful. And that part you mentioned about INFPs hurling mental abuse and anger towards people who cross their ideas of what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is spot on. I do it all the time, am aware I do it, yet I do it anyway. Sigh. Sometimes, I fear I’m too weak. Too afraid. Too immature. Every day, I feel more aware of how young I am, and how much more I need to grow. Sometimes, it’s hard to feel like a competent human being. I understand the principles, but when I try to put things into practise, I’m often crippled by anxiety. Sorry for the indulgent ramble. I guess being brave is about doing things in spite of the fear.

    Reply

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