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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Have frank conversations with your partner about which ones you
employ and which ones they employ and work together to reduce or
Thanks For Listening!
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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.