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The Remarried Life


Jun 15, 2021

Brian Mayer is excited to take about 10 episodes of the podcast to talk about communication.  It is probably the most talked about issue that couples have together that can sometimes not work well.  We will take some time to dive into this topic to help give you better tools to work on and things to consider to help communication between you and your spouse be more effective and more loving.  We hope you are inspired by today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com

Today's Goodies

  • Today we are talking about defense mechanisms. When we feel vulnerable and or attacked in some way, we will begin to close off in some way.  Most of the time the way in which we close off involves employing some kind of defense mechanism.
  • Now before you think this is all bad, in some ways you could argue that defense mechanisms protect us when we feel like it is not safe to show our true selves.
  • However, when they are employed too often especially in a romantic relationship it means that something is wrong. It may often be something about individually, the person we are with or a combination of the system we find ourselves in. 
  • Let’s talk about some very common defense mechanisms that can inhibit our connection with the one we love:
    • Projection: This is putting your feelings onto another person as if they were the other person’s.  So for example, I might say you are just so angry when again maybe it is really me that is angry.
    • Dissociation: This one involves checking out mentally and emotionally because the situations feels too intense.  This one often comes as a result of trauma or abuse that has been suffered at some point in the person’s life. 
    • Regression: This one is all about reverting to an earlier stage of life because something has just become too hard.  For example reverting to playing video games that one played as a child in order to avoid something difficult in the moment. 
    • Acting Out: This one is like an anger outburst that instead of rather calmly stating the person is angry they may instead punch a hole in the wall as a release.
    • Denial: This one comes about often when emotional pain like shame or guilt comes about.  Often experiencing these emotions are so painful and it often works best to deny the issue. 
    • Displacement: Taking out your frustrations on someone else because they feel safer to do so.  For example lashing out at the boss may not be safe for fear of being fired, so you take it out on your spouse or the kids.   
  • There are many other defense mechanisms and in the moment they probably do give a sense of relief. However in the long term, it just means we may be delaying experiencing and moving through these emotions. 
  • And then as a result they may come on more intensely and cause even great issues down the road.
  • So what to do about these then? I will give you two suggestions to keep it simple. 
    • One is to work to express your feelings. Now a caveat here.  Often we say we are simply expressing our feelings when we say something like “I feel upset when you act like a jerk.”  Typically this will not receive a favorable response because we have followed up a feeling with a criticism.  Sometimes but not always, if we can express our feelings as a reaction to something concrete and factual such as “I feel upset when you raise your voice” it can often be heard. 
    • Allow someone to own their response, but possibly set a boundary if not. Maybe the response is not what you like and maybe a boundary need to be set.  So as in the example before, if the person will not change their behavior then you may need to say that when you raise your voice I will need to leave the conversation. 

 

  • Lastly think about the defense mechanisms you may employ and work to see if there is anything you can do to change those for the better.
  • Have frank conversations with your partner about which ones you employ and which ones they employ and work together to reduce or eliminate these.

Resources:

  • None Mentioned

 

Thanks For Listening!

  • With so many things that take time in our lives, I am more grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast episode. 
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.