DIABLO VALLEY GRATITUDE CIRCLE
Weekly newsletter __ MAY 11, 2020
(Click here for on-line version)
 
 
 
 
The Power of GRATITUDE in the process of
RELEASING COMMON DEFENSES
THAT REPRESS OUR CORE EMOTIONS

Guest Gratitude Contributor

I use the word defenses to define the myriad of ways we all avoid painful, uncomfortable, or conflicting emotions. Defenses are there for a reason. They act as emotional protection. At the time they were created, something happened that made us feel too overwhelmed and too alone to manage and process our experience.


CHILDHOOD TRAUMAS like abuse and neglect; and difficult events like divorce, feeling different, or too much change, lead us to need defenses. Even seemingly little things can cause us to feel so bad that we need defenses to cope. We all have defenses and they are normal, although very often as adults they become problematic. Using defenses all the time makes most people feel cut off from their authentic self and others.


DEFENSES are brilliant and creative maneuvers the mind makes to spare us the pain and overwhelm that emotions cause. Defenses are anything we do to avoid feeling core or inhibitory emotions. In other words, defenses are emotional protection. Not every defense is bad. In fact, we need defenses sometimes when emotions aren't practical. Defenses help us put our emotions aside so we can act "professional" at our jobs, for example.


REPRESSED FEELINGS  There are an infinite number of ways to guard against our feelings. Defenses range from healthy to quite destructive. Some defenses are useful and adaptive like choosing to watch a funny movie when we need a break from something stressful or thinking of something positive to stop anger or sadness when we are trying to think or concentrate. Defenses, however, are destructive when we are so out of touch with our feelings that our bodies and minds become adversely affected.


Are you aware of the ways you defend against emotions, confrontations and conflicts? Again, by definition, a defense is any thought, action, or other maneuver we do that takes us away from being in touch with emotional discomfort. Even an emotion can be used to defend against another emotion, like when we get angry while underneath, we are really scared or anxious. For example, when your child runs across the street scaring you, but you show him anger instead of fear.


WHEN ENERGY FROM EMOTIONS is diverted to defenses, there are many costs to our wellbeing. Defenses require energy to be maintained. So, defenses deaden us by using up vital energy that could be used for relationships, work and outside interests. Defenses prevent us from knowing and expressing what we want and truly feel; and keep our true authentic selves hidden and tempered. Most people don't feel good in the long run when they stay hidden.


DEFENSES ALSO MAKE US MORE RIGID, causing us to lose flexibility in thoughts and actions. For example, Kathy gets uptight and controlling when her stepson visits because it upsets her "routine." Her inflexibility hurts her because it strains the relationship with her husband and makes her body tense. Kathy's need to control the home protects her from the underlying emotions evoked by her stepson's presence. If she could face the emotions her visiting stepson brings up, anger, fear, and sadness, she would become more flexible and more generous. Her relationships would benefit, as would she.


DEFENSES can cause us to feel trapped, inhibited, limited, or not able to reach our potential. Too many defenses make it hard to wholeheartedly engage in life.

Alternatively, defenses can swing us to the other extreme of acting out in self-destructive ways. Since defenses block access to important emotions like fear which inform us to be cautious, over reliance on defenses causes some of us to engage in dangerous behaviors like illicit drug use, thrill-seeking, unprotected sex and other risky social behaviors. An "I don't care" defense prevents us from knowing who and what we value. When we are not aware of what we care about and why, we lose the ability to create the life we want or need. For example, Joe believed he didn't care about women other than for sex. Yet, when he was alone, he drank excessively until he fell asleep at night. Joe wasn't happy and he convinced himself he didn't care.


Humans do better when they are emotionally connected to others with very few exceptions. Joe's "I don't care" defense protected him from his underlying emotions and needs for intimacy, but at great cost to his satisfaction and joy.

Learning about emotions and THE CHANCE TRIANGLE provides a map and path to move beyond our defenses. Then we can safely reconnect with our core emotions and to feel more vital, alive, connected, and confident.


Below is a list of COMMON DEFENSES used to repress core emotions

 
 
 
 
  • Joking
  • Sarcasm
  • Smiling
  • Laughing
  • Vagueness
  • Changing the Subject
  • No eye-contact
  • Eye Rolling
  • Mumbling
  • Not talking
  • Not Listening
  • Spacing Out
  • Tiredness
  • Criticizing
 
 
 
 
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Preoccupation
  • Irritability
  • Negative thinking
  • Judging others
  • Judging ourselves
  • Prejudice
  • Racism
  • Misogyny
  • Misguided aggression (i.e. getting angry at your partner when you're really angry at your boss)
 
 
 
 
  • Working too much
  • Numbness
  • Helplessness
  • Over-exercising
  • Over-eating
  • Under-eating
  • Being secretive
  • Cutting
  • Obsessions
  • Addictions
  • Suicidal ideas
  • Facebook posts (i.e. taking personal offense when it has nothing to do with you)
 
 
 
 
Can you add some of your own defenses to the list?

✓ __________________________

✓ __________________________

✓ __________________________


Can you add some defenses to the list that you've noticed in others?
(It is typically easier to notice defenses in others.)

✓ __________________________

✓ __________________________

✓ __________________________


🙏

o - ❤️ - o

o - o - 🔱 - o - o

o - o - o - 🌎 - o - o – o

❤️ == ❤️ == ❤️ == ❤️ == ❤️ == ❤️== ❤️ 
 
 
 
 

HILARY JACOBS HENDEL is a psychotherapist who switched from traditional talk psychotherapy to accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy. She teaches us that our core emotions are automatic and grounded in universal physical experiences. Her new book: It’s Not Always Depression: Working The Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to your Authentic Self."
 
 
 
 
GRATEFUL TO RELEASE COMMON TRIGGERS
This week's topic of Releasing Common Defenses and the Power of Gratitude will be more fully explored in our Zoom Gratitude Circle meetings Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Come join us WHEREVER YOU ARE. 
 
 
 
 
 Jeffrey Remis
Gratitude Ambassador

The intention of this Gratitude Circle is to assist spiritual seekers in growing their gratitude – finally encompassing everyone and everything. Gratitude can infuse every aspect of our lives.
 
 
 
 

GRATITUDE ZOOM MTGS
MON & WED @ 12 Noon 
and FRIDAYS @ 6 pm
Join our intimate, respectful, powerful Gratitude zoom meetings from ANYWHERE by laptop, smartphone, iPad, tablet, desktop. ​​​​​​​Everyone welcome. Just click updated link on our Unity Gratitude Connection Facebook page. 
 
 
 
 
DIABLO VALLEY GRATITUDE CIRCLE
Weekly Gratitude newsletters
 
 
 
 
 
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
“La vita è molto, molto buona” (Life is very, very good).
“Gioia e gratitudine” (Joy and gratitude).
“Andiamo ragazzi!” (“Oh yeah man. Let's do this”).
o
 
 
 
 
Other articles by 

ACG ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE ______
"La vita è molto, molto buona” (Life is very, very good)
“Gioia e gratitudine” (Joy and gratitude)
“Andiamo ragazzi!” (“Oh yes people. Let's do this”)