No one is born bad, those acting out have more pain to heal and vital needs to meet.

Human defense mechanisms intrigue me…passive/aggressiveness, distortion, projection, denial, fantasy, rationalization, minimizing and so on…They protect us from absorbing too much pain at once so that the body/mind/soul can prepare itself to process the painful experience and hopefully transcend. But if we depend on these mechanisms or use them too long, they harden to bricks that build a wall. You might feel the illusion of safety behind this great wall, but negativity will delude you. Connection, being able to touch other souls is one of our vital needs. Many of our other needs are cultivated within mutually satisfying, respectful relationships.

I took risks to allow select people behind my wall. Sure a few blew up in my face but they all helped break down my wall.  My need for these defenses continues to decrease as I find more pro-active and responsible ways of getting my own needs met. I am unsure if it is possible to rid them completely. Yet as I become more aware of my use of them, I am better able to embrace the value and those around me. I can love myself and everyone else through the pain even though I keep running into walls.

Below is my favorite list of needs from the book, Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield. It is difficult to move on to getting another need met if the one before it is unmet or threatened. Sadly, I witness too many stuck and fighting for number two.  

Hierarchy of Human Needs 

  1. Survival
  2. Safety
  3. Touching, Skin Contact
  4. Attention
  5. Mirroring And Echoing
  6. Guidance
  7. Listening
  8. Being Real
  9. Participating
  10. Acceptance
    1. Others Are Aware Of, Take Seriously And Admire Real You
    2. Freedom To Be Real You
    3. Tolerance Of Your Feelings
    4. Validation
    5. Respect
    6. Belonging And Love
  11. Opportunity To Grieve Losses And To Grow
  12. Unconditional Support
  13. Loyalty And Trust
  14. Accomplishment
    1. Mastery, Power, Control
    2. Creativity
    3. Having A Sense Of Completion
    4. Making A Contribution
  15. Altering One’s State Of Consciousness
  16. Sexuality
  17. Enjoyment Or Fun
  18. Freedom
  19. Nurturing
  20. Unconditional Love

(compiled from Maslow 1962; Miller, 1981, Weil, 1973; & Glasser, 1985)

Check out these links if interesting in exploring defense mechanisms: