To ensure certainty, safety, and protection from any other form of trauma, defenses give themselves the creative powers and freedoms they believe are appropriate and necessary to protect from trauma’s future incursion. Defenses, as the custom officers or security police at our emotional borders therefore possess a lot of power. (Link: What is a defense?)
Defenses are very reluctant to give up power. They do not trust the “Authentic You” who wants to bring change into your life. They only trust themselves. They reason that if “You” were not able to prevent past trauma, then “You” cannot be trusted to prevent it again. From the defense’s perspective, any change is associated with the unexpected and change could ignite trauma once again – and the defense has a long, long memory. So, if you suffered the trauma of abandonment at the age of six months, the defense will carry the expectation of abandonment re-occurring at the age of sixty-six. If you were exposed to a trauma of rage at age three, the defense will be making decisions to protect you from all relationships it sees as carrying the potential of rage at the age of forty-three and beyond. The problem is that our defense parts, in their attempts to protect, may be surveying more ground than is realistically necessary. Opportunities may be passed by or even lost due to the defenses interpretations of relationships or situations as carrying the potential, in these examples, of abandonment or rage. The question always is, whether the extent or form of defense protection is still necessary. If we are ever able to take the defense aside to ask this precise question, it will always reply, “Yes, you need my protection. Without me, my influence, and my intervention you will not survive.” (Link: Who is the Authentic You?)
The key to sustained personal change and growth, happiness, and ultimately success in our everyday lives requires that we have the ability to step outside of the limited boxes created by the defense. This will require defense management. Unless we take the defense into account and include conscious management of our defenses change will always be limited, or at best, a bumpy ride.
It is far easier to contemplate the management of individuals rather than the management of a singular force. Thus the defensive system within us can be appreciated, processed, and managed if each of the individual parts that comprise the defense are negotiated and addressed, in the same way a good employer would manage his work force as a team of individuals. Managing employees as a collective force could lead to the workers feeling impersonalized, reticent and distrusting of the manager’s decisions. The danger then is that the workers’ will resist any changes the management proposes. The same danger exists for ourselves. There is greater likelihood of the defense aligning itself with our intentions and goals if they felt that we see each part individually, and that we are willing to attend to the individual needs of each defense part. (Link: What is a part?)
So despite the fact that you may curse yourself for sleeping in or listening to the news on the radio instead of meeting your commitment to meditate or do yoga in the mornings before starting your day, or you are angry with yourself for most of the day because you just cannot seem to start the diet you committed to, the defenses who advise against it and create the resistance have the best of intentions. The part who advises you to sleep in, and the part who advises procrastination are protecting you from change, in this case, a change in lifestyle. The change may seem innocent to you, but to the defense’s reasoning the diet, for example, may be the catalyst to weight loss and looking more attractive which may lead once again to the inappropriate sexual comments similar to those the neighbour made when you were a young girl. Or the meditating might just quiet you down enough that you start to feel the anger you have always had towards your uncle ever since he inappropriately slapped you on the head as a boy. So rather than take the risk the defenses will reason, “Let’s nip it in the bud early and do what it takes to prevent or thwart these changes, just in case something bad happens and she or he is hurt again.”