How does being defensive help you?


Do you get defensive when someone questions you? Using your defensive skills may help your mental illness or eating disorder function in several ways.

  1. Denial: You completely reject the thought or feeling. “My eating disorder isn’t that big a problem; I can make it stop if I really put my mind to it.”
  2. Suppression: You are vaguely aware of the thought or feeling, but try to hide it. “My “X” is causing my friends to stop calling me but it hurts to feel the truth, so I don’t think about it much.”
  3. Reaction Formation: You turn the feeling into its opposite. “I’m just fine: happy, in control and bound to become more popular/successful.” 
  4. Projection: You think someone else has your thought or feeling. “I can’t believe how obsessed my aunt is with food and weight.”
  5. Displacement: You redirect your feelings to another target. “The problem isn’t my ED; it is that my parents to invasive and controlling.”
  6. Rationalization: you come up with various explanations to justify the situation (while denying your feelings). “Having a mental illness and/or eating disorder helps me develop self-control, which it will be useful to succeed in life.”
  7. Intellectualization: A type of rationalization, only more intellectualized. “My mental health disorder/eating disorder has arisen because of extensional confusion and I need it because it gives me life structure and meaning.”
  8. Regression: You revert to an old, usually immature behavior to ventilate your feelings. “Life is too hard and I just want to be taken care of.” 

Personally, I can relate to all of these at one time or another.

How about you? Can you relate to any of these? If so, which one(s) and why.

Have an amazing day!

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