“If I want to live a happy life, heal myself and make self-loving smart decisions in the future, I need not armor myself against the world. I need not protect my love. Instead I need to remove my armor and remove the layers of fear that by virtue of their constriction, are choking the freedom and life out of my love.” ~ Teal Scott
Every person you meet with even a shred of their ego still intact has experienced or has succumbed to the behaviour of defensiveness at some point or another.
In fact, the main way an ego attempts to hide within its identity attachments is by using some sort of defense mechanism. These defenses may come in a variety of forms, but you’ll know you have met the defense of another when reactionary, “fight or flight” methods of behavior are being shown.
When one is being defensive, what could be a calm, solution oriented conversation is turned into the catalyst by which said person begins to throw up all of their emotional armor.
Things like excuses, justifications, or even finger pointing in any direction that is not at them themselves begin to come up.
On the surface level, we may describe someone like this (or more commonly they describe themselves), as “feisty,” “take no shit,” “stubborn,” or even “don’t mess with the bull unless you want the horns,” types.
Because one that goes straight in attack mode at the slightest threat is seen as such a “force to be reckoned with,” many times those of us who are not very confrontational generally keep their distance.
The truth is, no one really wants to take the gamble on the energetic explosion that may ensue after one of these types is possibly offended or slips into their fight mode. Therefore it often seems as though the more rooted in defensiveness one is, the more people don’t dare upset them.
This may sound somewhat appealing at first glance. “So basically the more reactionary and defensive I get towards everyone and everything that poses even the slightest bit of threat to me, the more people will walk on eggshells around me, doing what I say, for fear of being the next victim of my reactionary temper? Sounds like a perfect way to get everyone to act exactly how I want them to,” one may think to themselves.
But alas, in a benevolent universe, where the only real truth is love, we must ask ourselves what is the real consequence of living a life completely on the defense.
Is it possible that although defensiveness keeps out the alleged attacks of another, it also keeps out the one thing that we are actually wanting and the one thing that will actually lead to true happiness and fulfillment (love and acceptance)?
Powerlessness in Disguise
“Blaming everyone else is great until you’ve got no one else around you and you have no one to blame but yourself.” ~ Unknown
As with all energetic and emotional healing processes, one must get to the root issue before one is able to unravel and resolve defensiveness once and for all. Ironically, the one thing a defensive person wants to project about themselves, “I am powerful and in control, therefore I am not to be messed with,” is the one thing their defensiveness proves that they aren’t.
Logically speaking, a powerful and in control person would be the last person to be defending themselves. If we think about what makes someone feel as though they need to be armed with their defenses, it is clear that someone who is afraid or feels threatened is who would feel the need to defend themselves.
Someone who truly knew and believed in their own power would not feel the need to protect themselves, because they would not be scared in the slightest of another person’s attempt at an attack.
Powerful, in control people require no defense. Which leads us to the conclusion that defensiveness is the mark of someone who is afraid and feels powerless. But what exactly is it that a defensive person is so afraid of?
The wounded, scared and vulnerable inner child of an angry person
Behind all of our defense mechanisms, and attachments to ideas and labels lies an inner child who is afraid to get hurt. For those who are often defensive and are quick to jump to anger, we see an inner child who is actually using anger, blame and its attack mode as a way to protect itself.
Ironically, the more defensive one is, the more their inner child is actually terrified and feels vulnerable. For this reason, it is imperative for a defensive person to make some time to spend with this part of themselves.
By spending time with our vulnerable inner child, asking it what it is so afraid of, or simply telling it we love it, we actually ignite the healing process to begin. The inner child will feel seen, empathized with and loved which is how it begins to regain its power.
Since no two people are exactly the same, what the inner child is afraid of is going to vary person to person. Some of the more common fears, however, of someone who is guarded and armed at all times is, fear of being wrong, fear of losing control, fear of being seen as “less than,” fear of making a mistake, or fear of feeling pain.
One can cultivate a loving (and healing) relationship with their inner child, by meditation, journaling, or having someone in their life who the defensive one can talk to openly without being judged or criticized.
Finding the safety to be un-armed
The fact of the matter is, it is extremely stressful to walk around on guard at all times, afraid of making a mistake or being attacked.
So while it may seem that all the other people, in a defensive person’s life are the ones walking on eggshells, what many do not realize is that the one who hurts and is afraid the most is actually the defensive person.
Safety, liberation and inner peace is on the other end of dropping our emotional weapons.
When the scared, vulnerable inner child within us begins to heal and take back its inherent power and relinquish the need to control life, we find that the natural consequence of an unguarded heart is one that is not blocking out all the love, happiness, joy, and gratitude that was always there, just waiting for us to drop our defenses and let them come in.
Ego art by Kosmur
Quote pic- by Nikki Sapp