November 7, 2012 Ego-Defense Mechanisms
Richard H. von Gremmler
Ego-defense mechanisms, commonly referred to as emotional barriers, are the culprits responsible for the complexities restricting individuals from consciously discovering and understanding the majority of their genuine emotional thought processes.
Fundamentally, ego-defense mechanisms are an inherent phenomenon, which afford a temporary emotional divergence whenever encountering specific emotional stress situations (stressors). What happens is; ego-defenses constrain the conscious mind from experiencing the tangible dynamics of particular stressors, which comprises all stressors exceeding an individual’s emotional threshold.
As a normal aspect of our everyday struggles in today’s society, we are constantly inundated with an eclectic array of unforeseen experiences and exposures (emotional challenges), coupled with the accompanying stress. And each of these unique and diverse stressors will directly affect an individual’s subliminal and perceptible behavior.
The only circumstances where stressors could be considered stabilized, is when stressors have been thoroughly explored and resolved. Although, in some circumstances, even though a stressor is understood and has been resolved, there may be some residual effects; depending on the particular dynamics and severity of the stress.
Through the experiencing and resolution of stressors, this will reinforce (strengthen) the conscious emotional environment, whereby, somewhat controlling the necessity for ego-defenses. But these dynamics will be undetectable within an individual’s consciousness. And this progression will provide a degree of self-confidence for the conscious acceptance and exploration of future stressors.
What sometimes occurs when experiencing these diverse and unpredictable stress scenarios is; we may actually resolve stressors, without even consciously realizing the activity of the emotional dynamics of the respective experience. To acknowledge this activity entails consciously comprehending a specific stressor, and then experiencing the emotional feelings transpiring while identifying and resolving the stressor.
Not only is it vital with becoming consciously aware of present and future stressors we’re exposed to, but also stressors we may have previously inadvertently unconsciously resolved. To me, it’s extremely important with having a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances responsible for our stress, whereby, utilizing the dynamics of the respective stress experiences as a resource when encountering new stressors. And also, this self-examination of our emotional feelings will improve our circumspection abilities.
The failure (ego-defenses) of introspection is why individuals will unconsciously experience latent inconsistent and conflicting emotional processes, while consciously stumbling around in an emotionally confused state. The subjective (emotional) objective is to strive with designing a conditioning process by which to become resolute with exploring and understanding as many of our stress situations as possible.
Therefore, the desired objective is for the reduction of stressors and the strengthening of our emotional threshold, whereby becoming more confident with discriminating and resolving present and future stressors.
When encountering less significant threatening and unvarying stressors we may be familiar with, the resolution process will still be somewhat stressful. But it’s the more inconsistent and unique ominous stressors, which will generate the greater apprehension and confusion. And regardless of the origin of the stress, and even though there will be distinctive circumstances affecting each stressor, if not understood and resolved, the stress and puzzlement will persist and compound.
The absence with resolving the majority of the never-ending stressors at time of occurrence will create a phenomenon, whereby, with each unresolved stressor that is accumulated, the accompanying degrees of stress will always coincide with the amassing stressors.
With some stressors, we’ll be capable with resolving, while with the more traumatic ones, we’ll temporarily avoid (subconsciously) or possibly permanently deny (unconsciously). And depending on the severity of the respective stressor(s), they will either be suppressed into the subconscious or repressed into the unconscious.
And because of the myriad of stressors individuals may accumulate over time, which is totally dependent on an individuals previous life experiences and emotional prowess, will determine the magnitude of turmoil within the subconscious and unconscious environments.
This latter phenomenon is particularly evident when encountering the more formidable uncontrollable stressors, since in most instances, on a conscious level, they will be denied. Whereby, the defining factors will involuntarily be repressed into the unconscious, without conscious consideration. And this is what justifies ego-defense mechanisms to be so intriguing!
The intensity of stress will constantly vacillate within the subconscious and the unconscious, while at times actually interchanging between the two levels. As a consequence of picking up new and unpredictable stressors, there will be the constant shifting and integration with the accumulation and elimination of stressors.
As we entertain new stressors, and if we’re capable with resolving some of the lesser significant events as they occur, this will provide some control over the amassing of stressors and related stress. And again, with the more significant stressors, which will carry considerably greater stress loads, and because of our ego-defenses, they will more than likely be repressed into the unconscious. And possibly, the clarification of stress related stressors within the unconscious might not ever be consciously logically explained or understood.
My hypothesis is that, even though we may encounter stressors we were previously comfortable with because of positive exposure and resolution, should we amass to a capacity and severity of stressors whereby reaching a critical intensity, this could actually weaken our emotional threshold. This can become an irretrievable dilemma whereby we may actually be digressing, and if not identified and reversed, it may become impossible to retrace past unresolved stressors: and all because of ego-defense mechanisms!
To add even more amusement to our world of complexities, if stressors are not resolved at the time of occurrence, this will introduce another variable. This will incorporate another factor and contribute supplementary stress in conjunction with the present stress from the stressor(s). This occurs, since now, along with the stress from the stressor(s) we have failed to resolve, we’ll experience additional stress because of guilt: resulting because of our involuntary conscious denial of the stressor(s).
Another supposition to contemplate is; does the stress, with guilt becoming an additional stressor, increase in intensity and instability during the interval we fail to resolve these stressors? My conjecture is that, I believe it does, but the exploration of this phenomenon would be nearly impossible, since should we possess and sustain a myriad of emotional conflicts, the stress intensity would be constantly vacillating beyond both intellectual and emotional observance.
Another proposition I have to offer: since ego-defense mechanisms are designed to protect our conscious environment from emotional discord, I also believe they can serve as a protective shield, whereby preventing others from discovering the internal feelings of those who have become completely emotionally impotent. It’s basically protecting an individual’s internal emotional environment from both internal and external examination.
Since ego-defenses serve as emotional barriers, the “out of touch with reality” individuals will appear functional and normal to themselves: through the assistance of mirrors and the equivocal feedback from others. But these individuals will only be able to deceive similarly oblivious observers from consciously identifying their genuine emotional obscurity and emptiness.
This scenario becomes somewhat of a clandestine alliance; associations with only those individuals who are also lost from understanding their own personal worlds. Individuals with stable emotions will be mystified by the behavior emanating from these lost souls, whereby, either tolerating and patronizing them, or by withdrawing and examining them from a distance.
Returning to the topic pertaining to the accumulation of stress from stressors, and the additional stress resulting because of guilt, this buildup may eventually reach a critical point, whereby generating involuntary uncontrollable symptoms (extreme neurotic behavior, panic attacks, excessive anger, etc.).
And should the stress levels ever reach a plateau of habitual denial, it will be impossible to discern “if” and “when” they have accumulated any new stressors. And this will be dependent on the extent of accumulation and severity of the stress, and most importantly, an individual’s personal emotional threshold.
Everyone is unique and will develop dissimilar stress thresholds, which occur because of previous life experiences and exposures. From the time we are in the mother’s womb until our present juncture in life, this will have a significant effect on an individual’s emotional self-confidence and attitude toward accepting and working with their ever-occurring stressors.
Commencing with our early life experiences (mentoring and classical conditioning) and how we have previously and presently address our experiences and exposures, if our conflicts (stressors) as stated previously, are not being reasonably understood and resolved at the time of occurrence, they will mount up, whereby compounding additional stress and complexities.
Again, and of extreme importance, with each and every stressor we fail to acknowledge and resolve, this denial will create guilt for us. Guilt will always haunt us, both in our waking hours as well as in our dreams. And this occurs because of our procrastinating and rebelling against the acceptance of stressors!
The individuals who will typically be the more affected, will characteristically comprise of the ones with low self-esteem and who had experienced emotional struggling during their earlier developmental years. Conversely, the more secure and self-confident an individual, the more prepared he or she will be with accepting and experiencing both internal and external stressors.
The tension resulting because of our stressors may create an abnormal concentration of emotional instability, where it can become extremely overwhelming and, nearly impossible to ascertain which specific stressors are responsible for creating the buildup of our anxieties. And again, attempting to equate the intensity of the stress with the respective stressor(s) will be nearly impossible. And the greater the build-up of unresolved stressors, the greater the emotional blindness becomes.
I equate the amassing of stressors with that of a puzzle of a brilliantly clear blue sky, with all of the pieces being of the precise same color, but in a multitude of various shapes and proportions. This is how I visualize hidden stressors within the subconscious, but mainly within the unconscious; extremely scrambled and distorted so as not to be able to consciously discriminate between them.
For us to be able to equate the degree of stress with the respective stressors can only occur once we have reduced our stressors to a level of intensity where we are capable with identifying the majority of all new stressors as they occur.
With the elimination of stressors, for each one that is resolved, we will experience positive reinforcement. This encouragement will provide us with motivational security, whereby, with being more self-assured by not fearing searching for and accepting new and more stressful stressors.
To appreciate the transition process from the moment we first encounter a stressor; we will either resolve the stress-producing circumstance, or, if exceeding our threshold, we’ll involuntarily inhibit (ego-defenses) our emotions with identifying when we are actually experiencing stress. The next phase will result with our rebelling against these inhibitions, whereby struggling with even understanding “if” we are even experiencing stress.
This is the most critical juncture to be decisive. Since each and every stressor will always carry its own unique and disparate intensity of stress, should we deny a stressor, we will experience guilt, with the degree of the stress relative to the sensitivity of the stressor(s) and guilt. And also of great significance, this guilt phenomenon will also include the failure with identifying and experiencing positivism.
Therefore, if we acknowledge and resolve the respective stressor(s) at the times of occurrence, not only will we relieve the stress accompanying the stressor(s), but most importantly, we won’t experience guilt!
Also confusing many individuals is that, the belief that they are able to mitigate or remove their stress laden anxieties through meditation, or through external resources; gifts, sexual compliance, etc.: how emotionally convenient.
Regardless of which resources we might become dependent on, we can never be absolved by these objective (logical) approaches. We must become personally responsible for resolving whichever emotional injury or negativism we have incurred, and also to make every effort so as not to commit the same breach again!
To continue, stressors, in conjunction with the accompanying stress from the guilt, will vary with each individual, which will reveal an individual’s present emotional stability. Whereby, everyone in today’s society is totally exclusive from one another. What makes this so intriguing is, most individuals are at an emotional loss with understanding those around them; and predominantly, themselves!
As explained earlier, an individual’s early nurturing and conditioning are the vital ingredients here. If individuals have been privileged experiencing positive and healthy environments during their earlier years, these are the fortunate ones who will be more qualified with entertaining past, present and future stressors. Unfortunately, it’s the ones lacking positive and non-dysfunctional home environments who will be the most likely to accumulate the greater stressors and thus creating emotional needs.
When referring to needs, I’m articulating emotional needs, not physical desires, even though emotional needs will also dictate and control our physical desires. What typically occurs is, but unfortunately only as a temporary fix, there are those who will pursue physical pleasures to supplement their emotional void; including indiscriminate sexual encounters, out of moderation shopping, excessive sports, etc. But unfortunately, the outcome will inevitably always end up unrewarding and inconsequential.
As we age chronologically, but not necessarily emotional maturation, our ego-defense mechanisms will become more sophisticated. And all of the latent variables will become deliberate with preventing our conscious environment identifying and comprehending present and future stressors. And again, our needs will increase in conjunction with our rebelling against our inhibitions. And the greater the stress load, the greater our emotional needs become; thus the greater the accumulation of additional stress.
Should we reach a point in life to where we become inept with understanding and resolving stressors, our emotional survival will become dependent on the constant support and maintenance from others, both superficially and sympathetically. But regrettably, this seeking of empathy from others as a resource to maintain our emotional survival will be superficial and empty.
The only ones who will be responsive and partake in this inconsequential game will be those individuals who are also out scrounging around looking for similar others to shore-up and fulfill their emotional needs (voids). And this gaggle of malcontents will stumble around in their worlds emotionally fleecing one another, while attempting to fulfill their void(s).
And to further expound on this matter, this simulated comfort zone environment will encompass only those other lost souls who are also confused and lonely; desperately attempting to find solace by using others to share with and hide from their emotional loneliness. This clique of needy acquaintances will include only those individuals who are also out of touch with reality, and psychologically destined with never seeking out and discovering their own true identities.
While conforming to this misguided and imaginary quest, ego-defenses will become more strengthened and reinforced, and with a similar increase in emotional needs. And as I had mentioned before, quite possibly, even to a point where our emotions become encapsulated. Some individuals will actually reach an unstable plateau in life, whereby; they may never be capable with identifying or understanding that they are even stress ridden. And this becomes more evident with those revealing serious neurotic behavior.
Basically, ego-defense mechanisms are comparable to a one-way mirror. They will always restrict genuine emotional warmth and feelings from conscious expression, but will never restrict emotional feelings, both positive and negative, from entering into and from the unconscious emotional environment. And this is why some may encounter bizarre or unusual behavior when in the company of certain individuals. And also, barriers do not discriminate.
Ego-defenses will always have a significant influence over the conscious mind, and the only effect on the unconscious will involve the stressors (garbage) being repressed and accumulated.
What occurs is, ego-defenses prevent the conscious mind from identifying with and experiencing the reality of stress producing situations, with the stressor(s) either suppressed into the subconscious, or repressed into the unconscious. The less severe stressors will be discarded into the subconscious with deliberation, whereas, with the unconscious, the more severe stressors, the ones we fear and fail to consciously accept, will be repressed into the unconscious.
The important disparity between the two levels suggesting: with the subconscious, the stressors are temporarily hidden from the conscious mind as a matter of choice. But with the unconscious, this contains the more ominous stressors, which is why they are repressed into the unconscious without conscious awareness and consent.
What I find most fascinating about ego-defenses is, even though they prevent the conscious mind from experiencing the reality of certain stressors, and also in conjunction with our feelings (feeling how we feel), the unconscious will always engender and accept genuine subliminal feelings. And these subliminal feelings will always construct extremely confusing feelings between the various individuals; since the overt behavior of each person will more than likely be in total conflict with the concealed genuine emotions within the unconscious.
It’s always entertaining observing diverse groups, by exploring each individual’s unique personality. Those individuals appearing to display extremely confidant behavior and having total control of their personal environment are the ones to be suspect of. Most likely, they have designed a façade on a conscious, or even unconscious level (without their intentions), in an effort with preventing others from identifying with their real emotional content.
As with some individuals, the ego-defenses can become so insidious that, all party’s involved will be totally oblivious to the fact that their emotional needs are orchestrating the behavior of themselves and others.
The greatest dilemma that arises with ego-defenses is, our emotions can become so far removed from consciousness that, their retrieval will become that more difficult with each and every additional stressor that is not resolved. And not only will others be incapable with the understanding of our emotions, but also, our personal emotional world will become more chaotic and unreal.
It’s extremely essential with understanding the depth and intensity of the dynamics associated with our emotions. As a result of ego-defenses, our genuine emotions can become totally obscured, whereby, our conscious mind being controlled and manipulated by others to fulfill our emotional needs. This may cause individuals behaving and thinking in such a way that will be in total contrast with their genuine emotions. And I find integral components of ego-defenses always involving denial and rationalization.
Feelings will always express one’s emotions. The conflict where everyone is vulnerable involves our genuine emotions, as opposed to what we consciously observe and have a need to believe. And all feelings will be disseminated either overtly (consciously) or subliminally (unconsciously). The overt feelings are generally mixed, and will be separately interpreted in accordance with the overt behavior of and from others.
Positive individuals will suppress the identifying of negative behavior into the subconscious, whereas the same act by “negative” persons will be repressed into the unconscious. This occurs because it’s not a big deal for the negative persons. They might be able to apologize, but not with sincerity. Whereas, it’s significant to positive persons, but possibly, because of inhibitions, they don’t have the courage to give a sincere apology (to face the big thing they did) and so it may be repressed.
80 % completion
Editing, revisions and additions required