Human behaviour can be interesting and complex. Most people are familiar with the term ‘defence mechanism’ as it has become part of our common language. Did you realise that the origins are from psychoanalysis, a personality theory developed by Sigmund Freud as a way of understanding the conflicts within ourselves?
Take the idea of Projection for example.
Projection is a psychological defence mechanism. It is employed subconsciously as a way to cope with troubling feelings like anxiety or guilt. A person may attribute characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves to another person, as the alternative is to admit to or deal with those feelings within themselves. For example, you might behave selfishly and that creates guilt and anxiety. In order to feel better, you deny that you are the selfish one and blame someone else.
You can see how this can create problems, especially in our relationships with others.
Defence mechanisms are a normal part of human functioning and often don’t create too many long term problems. However, some people find that they are damaging relationships, at work or in their personal lives, because they are not coping with underlying anxiety in a more positive way.
Talking with a skilled psychological practitioner can help you become more aware of patterns of behaviour that are not serving you well. Perhaps you recognise that there are defence mechanisms at play in your own behaviour but don’t know how to change your response. Working with a professional will help you identify and shift unhelpful responses to ones that are more beneficial, and relieve the associated stress and anxiety.
Are you interested in becoming the person you truly want to be?
Perhaps you’ve already tried various ways of doing this without experiencing lasting change? Do you see yourself as a constant worrier, a binge eater, a victim or even as inferior to other people?
You are born with a blueprint or potential to be your ‘ideal’ person – but throughout life, things get in the way. Maybe significant people who leave an imprint on the way you see yourself, upsetting experiences, life events that have a negative impact, and your associated coping mechanisms, beliefs and behaviour. Whatever has happened, the blueprint for your true self is still there. I help you realise that potential and ‘reboot’ the real you!
Unlike traditional talking therapies, my sessions are very practical. My work is based in modern, effective methods developed from scientific knowledge of how the brain works. I teach you how to rewire unhelpful responses, negative emotions and patterns of thinking. You stop those old patterns in their tracks and change to new positive ways of responding – and you actually experience this happening in session!
Modern therapy has truly transformed the way I work and most of my work comes via referral from satisfied clients.
I was working with someone recently who was severely limiting their freedom by worrying too much about what other people think. The fear of being judged or criticised was stopping any fun or enjoyment in life.
How quick we are to disregard our own feelings and adopt those of someone else. Perhaps you’ve had experiences of doing this yourself – you might think something looks good when you are buying it, yet will turn against it if someone makes an offhand negative remark. We can be truly happy with our lot, until we find out that someone we don’t even like has more. In the same way, we don’t always feel good about what we have achieved until someone else validates it.
I often discuss with clients seeking help that we can control how we think, but we can’t control what other people think – especially about us. You can see therefore, that putting yourself at the mercy of other people’s opinions and trying to gain the approval of others leads to difficulties.
Much better to not concern yourself with what other people think. Think about what you think!
Years ago I came across this idea and found it enormously helpful when going through difficult times.
Often life isn’t easy, and sometimes it certainly doesn’t feel fair. The goalposts move all the time. So, when life gets you down, remember that you are the product of a very long line of ancestors stretching back through time. They survived the worst adversities, difficulties and struggles. Those ancient battles and plagues you see in documentaries – your ancestors survived them all. It’s their genes and their blood that are part of you right now.
You have inherited all of their courage and resilience. You are their direct descendant and you are capable just as they were. You can do it!
How good are you at recognising when you need to change – and doing it?
Last week I was in the inevitable queue at the supermarket. A great opportunity for people watching!
One man chose to queue in a short line and decided to stay there, despite other lines moving faster and his line remaining very slow. A teenager started in one line, but changed repeatedly, trying to find the fastest way through the checkout without much success. I saw an opportunity and changed once to a faster moving queue, but then stayed with it. Which type are you?
Just because you’ve started down one path doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever, especially if it turns out to be a bad choice. In the same way, chopping and changing incessantly doesn’t necessarily get you a better outcome. In the end I got through the checkout before either of the others.
It’s not that important a choice at the supermarket, but when it comes to the big decisions in life, it takes courage to decide to make a change, and to know when to commit to your choices!
A fledging starling was in my garden this morning. The parent bird was busy collecting bugs, whilst the youngster sat helplessly on the patio unable to fly away if danger arrived. It reminded me of this quote attributed to Marcus Aurelius:
“Don’t be ashamed of needing help. You have a duty to fulfill just like a soldier on the wall of battle. So what if you are injured and can’t climb up without another soldier’s help?”
Most people expect to always be able to solve the problems life throws at them. I’ve worked with clients who worried about asking for help, believing they should be able to do it all on their own.
When we are born, we are all completely helpless and rely on others to help us grow and learn, just like that fledgling. It is ok to ask for help and you don’t have to face anything on your own. It doesn’t mean you are weak, or stupid or worthless and it is not something shameful. If you need support, then like the soldier who is injured, help is there for the asking.
“It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth” Nietzsche
When did you last take a really enjoyable walk? This photo was taken at the weekend on a wonderful walk along the river in Berwick-upon-Tweed. I recommend walking to all my clients who are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.
There’s something about being outside in the open, fresh air that nourishes your mind. Some of my best decisions are made when I’m out walking. The bilateral stimulation of walking seems to help with problem solving. Creativity seems to be boosted, along with motivation. Then, there’s the mindful experience of taking in the sights, sounds and smells that root you in an appreciation of the present moment. On top of that, the body benefits from the physical exercise.