Understand your Defense Mechanisms Workshop

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”


For my research paper during Masters in Psychology, I studied entertainment and coping styles by conducting a survey. According to the research, on an average people spend 22 hours per week on social media/youtube/Netflix. While they think that they are relaxing for 3 hours daily by consuming content, they are actually escaping reality.


The more you escape reality, the more you lose touch with your emotions. While you think it is great that you are distracting yourself from fear, hatred, anger, stress, and anxiety by watching entertaining content, you are losing out on the signals your body is providing you.


What is the entire fuss around emotions?


Emotions by themselves are not a problem. They just provide you with information about what is happening in your life. “You can’t be so stupid,” said your boss. The emotions which arise in you as a reaction to that statement are painful. But then they served their purpose of letting you know that there is a threat to your survival. If your boss doesn’t like you, your job is at threat. If your job is insecure, your livelihood is at stake which in turn makes your survival shaky. Hence the emotion has done a good job in conveying to you the gravity of the situation. 


If emotions were that simple, why are we all scared of them? Now as an adult, you know that what your boss thinks about you doesn’t define who you are and you know who you are. But when you were a baby with no language to express your pain, your caregiver didn’t understand how to respond to your cries. Even though he/she did their best in providing everything they knew, your needs were not met a lot of times. According to Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, based on how secure your attachment was back then, you developed a view towards life that impacts how you respond to stress as an adult.


According to Freud framework of defense mechanisms, you deal with emotions in the form of

  1. Repression
  2. Denial
  3. Reaction Formation
  4. Displacement
  5. Projection
  6. Splitting and Idealisation
  7. Control
  8. Rationalization and Intellectualization


Why is it important to understand which framework you use for which situation and how it is affecting your life?


1.Self Esteem 


Most of my clients suffer from self-esteem issues. They try to overcompensate in one area of life to cover up their insecurities in other areas of life. They are well-settled, doing well in life but are hardly happy. But once they discover that they are only covering up their insecurities and not actually solving them, it helps them understand the workaholism they indulge in is not because they really enjoy work but they are trying to escape the difficult emotions in their life. This is just one example. Self esteem shows up in multiple different ways.


2.Physical health


Did you ever face any pain which was unresolvable? Back in 2014, I had regular headaches for which I had no relief even after taking painkillers. I got checked for sinus, migraine, and used medication for both and yet they tormented me. Though I loved to blame them on the Bangalore weather, the reality was that they were simple stress headaches. Feel stressed at work, can’t accept that I can’t handle deadline stress and it shows up as a headache. Once I left that job and decided to not spend a day of my life again in miserable teams and jobs, that terrible headache hardly visited me again. 

Tension Myositis Syndrome is for real. The way you handle emotions causes head, shoulder, neck, back pains. It can also cause digestive issues, skin allergies, and acne.

“Men don’t cry” has killed a lot of men with heart-attacks. It is high time we face our difficult emotions.




This is my favorite. At least one participant in my Habits workshop asks me “Can I use the same technique of building a habit to break a habit?” While the answer is yes, it is not a complete yes in a lot of cases. I worked on reducing my WhatsApp usage by reducing the intensity, but even after 5 years, I fall back upon it to cope with stressful days. I am still working on my patterns to break the root. You can break even the toughest of bad habits like Alcohol and Smoking if you can become aware of the patterns which drive you.


4.Stress Levels


When you look at every emotion as a red signal, your body activates adrenal glands 24*7 thinking that your body is at threat. This shortens your life span and you end up with all sort of diseases like insulin resistance, hypertension, etc.




The milder version of anger is frustration. While a lot of us think that we have anger under control, we do experience frustration all the time. This again goes back to feelings of threat that something in our environment is not according to the way we want. Even though this doesn’t create as much ruckus as stress it still acts like a slow poison.




According to my survey, most of them are either avoidant or anxious in a relationship which affects their marital happiness. Anxious people are too needy and want to have control over the relationship while avoidant people avoid intimacy and get scared at the thought of displaying emotions. In order to overcome these tendencies, it is important to bring your patterns into awareness and solve the root cause.




Why attend the workshop?


While all of this looks good in theory, we hardly spend time trying to figure out why we behave the way we do. Spending 3 and half hours in bringing your patterns to light helps you in letting go of your bad memories and sets you in action to keep a watch on your patterns as and when they appear. 


This workshop is an introduction to common defense mechanisms. Once you are aware of your patterns you can attend the follow-up workshops to destroy one pattern after the other. 


Life is short. You can’t spend it repeating the same painful patterns day after day. Register for the workshop and reinvent your life.


Happy discovering your patterns!



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