Saturday, October 24, 2020

Looking at My Defense Mechanisms

 I was talking to my students and I asked them if school was hard.  A good portion of them told me no.  They understood that if they show up every day, they do the work, they ask questions and be attentive, then, they would be able to pass all of their classes.  I asked, "But do you do this?"  I mean, why don't they come to school every day and listen and do the work and ask questions and pass their classes?  Clearly it's not that easy.  I don't know what they are thinking about to stop them from doing what they need to do.  So... we started talking about self-awareness and the lies that we tell ourselves.  I learned a lot.  Some students are understanding that they have coping skills that they have developed in order to survive.  They revert to these coping skills out of fear or anger in order to cope with the stressful situation that is Covid Education.  I get it.  So in looking at their defense mechanisms, I found some of my own.

Before I even begin, I understand that I write as a form of therapy that is healthy and I like it.  This is the primary reason I think I started this blog.  I also think that writing has helped other people understand or at least think about some of the issues that I have faced with.  That being said, in my humble experience, God and my belief in Him has helped heal me more than any other form of therapy out there.  He continues to heal me each day and I pray to have the ability to be healed more. 

I find that I rationalize.  I come up with a story to explain something away so that I can have control.  The story that I make up isn't even slanted positively!!!  I'm scared of the pain of disappointment.  So, I tell myself that I am the problem and work harder to try and fix myself.  I have to remind myself that I am in a broken world and it isn't even about me.  We are all broken people.  Making myself the problem means that I am unnecessarily harder on myself and I tend to overdo things as a way to prove to myself that I can be better.  I am who I am.  I do what I do.  God is in control.  I need to pray more when I don't have the answers and trust that God does have the answers and He cares about me.  If I'm upset about any probable outcome, then I should deal with being upset. 

I intellectualize and then repress.  This is rationalization that deals with something else that you can fix and them pushing those emotions down deep.  These coping strategies are helpful sometimes but you know and I know that they can sabotage you and lead you down very dark paths.  Jesus is the light of the world.  He can keep you healthy.  Maybe He is the only coping strategy I will ever need.  I feel that sometimes our minds are like that one closet that we need to clean out and get rid of stuff.  Sometimes, we put fresh fish in there and think that it will not rot and infect everything else in the closet.  Some things just need to be dealt with.  

I am scared.  I have been scared about everything and I didn't know it.  Well, I had an idea but I didn't understand the extent of this fear.  I have had a lot of trauma and have developed some pretty sophisticated defense mechanisms.  I think you would say that I am allowed a certain amount of grace in dealing with grief and life as a single mom.  I wouldn't allow myself that grace. And now?  Now I need to start cleaning out my closet so that I can go on.  I want change and change will happen but I have to deal with some of the fish that I have put in my closet.  I will read my Guide (The Bible) and talk to my Counselor (God).  And I will wait and trust in God.  Praise the Lord.

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