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From St. Peter's Support Group
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50 Defenses We Employ

Defense strategies hide from us how we really feel. While they reduce our anxiety, they also distort our perception of reality. We lose touch with our own authenticity, and that blocks our pathway to soul consciousness.

Resource lists are intuitive tools to help us get feedback from the subconscious about what is important for us. Scan the list below quickly, noting which blocks catch your attention. From the items you checked off, pick the top seven and explore these in your journaling.

  • accusing

  • acting out - giving expression to forbidden desires without concern for negative consequences.

  • aggression

  • arguing

  • analyzing - a belief that since we understand and can interpret defense strategies, we have cleared our repressed feelings and do not need to work through them.

  • arguing

  • assertion

  • avoidance

  • blaming

  • challenging

  • cockiness

  • compensation - hiding a weakness in one area by excelling or being rewarded in another.

  • compliance

  • complaining

  • compromise

  • confusion

  • control

  • criticism

  • deception

  • defiance

  • denial - refusing to acknowledge the thought or feeling.

  • devaluation

  • discounting

  • displacement - channeling thoughts or feelings to a neutral or weaker person or object.

  • dissociation

  • distrust

  • emotional insulation - withdrawing into inaction so one doesn't get hurt.

  • explaining

  • externalization - pinpointing outside forces as the cause of one's behavior so one doesn't have to accept personal responsibility for their actions.

  • fantasizing - not paying attention or using daydreams to escape an uncomfortable situation.

  • humor

  • identification - identifying oneself with a prestigious individual or institution to build one's sense of self-worth.

  • intellectualization - coming up with highly intellectual reasons or convincing arguments to justify the situation and keep attention away from feelings.

  • introjections - adopting external values and standards as one's own to ensure those standards are not used against him/her.

  • isolation - separating feelings and thoughts that are connected

  • isolation of affect - "thinking" feelings rather than actually experiencing them

  • judging

  • justifying

  • laughing it off

  • lying

  • manipulation

  • minimizing - writing off problematic events and behaviors as being too minor to worry about.

  • passive aggression - indirect and unassertive expression of aggression towards another.

  • projection - perceiving that another has our thoughts or feelings so we don't have to own them.

  • rationalization - thinking up reasons to justify what's happening while ignoring one's feelings.

  • reaction formation - unconsciously thinking, feeling and acting in ways that are opposite to how we really think and feel.

  • regression - slipping back into old, often immature, ways of behaving to release the feelings.

  • repression - burying thoughts and feelings in our unconscious so we no longer have memory of them.

  • ridicule

  • seeking approval

  • self-deception

  • shouting

  • silence

  • smiling

  • sublimation - channeling socially unacceptable feelings into a socially productive activity.

  • suppression - some awareness of a thought or feeling, but we try to hide it.

  • threatening

  • undoing - doing the opposite of how one feels to try to negate the feelings.

  • violence

  • withdrawing

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