Tag Archive: self protection

  1. 7 Common Defense Mechanisms People Use for Self Protection

    Leave a Comment


    Human nature exists to protect the self above others. Often, defenses are put up in order to shield the self from painful realities, particularly during active addiction. In recovery, defenses are used to hide the true self or prevent others from getting too close. Defenses are used to shield individuals from facing important and often difficult feelings which are the real motivations behind behavior. Learn what some of the common defense mechanisms and how they can harm a person’s chances at recovery.

    Self Defense

    When defenses help people avoid pain, it is usually done so in an unhealthy way. When relying on defenses too often, reality becomes disconnected and distorted which can be dangerous. It is easier to relapse when self defenses go down. Learning how to identify defenses can force people to confront feelings head-on which helps maintain sobriety needed to stay clean and sober. Learn some common defense mechanisms people use:

    Helplessness: pretending to be helpless or dumb is an act of self defense to combat against people asking questions. The appearance of innocence is done to avoid taking responsibility for one’s actions.

    Withdrawal: avoiding confrontation by pulling away from other people is a defense mechanism. Remaining quiet and avoiding others is a way of avoiding doing anything to bring about confrontation on important issues.

    Manipulation: using others for one’s own advantage is a self defense mechanism. Manipulating others to try and get people to do what is desired for personal gain usually backfires eventually.

    Projecting: accusing someone else of thoughts and behaviors that are desired to be hidden can be a defense mechanism. Projecting onto others is a way of deflecting the truth of one’s own reality.

    Minimizing: glossing over a problem and acting as if it is not significant enough to worry about is a way of making things seem less than they are. Issues which need confrontation must be brought to the surface and acknowledged before the issues can be fixed.

    Denial: denial is the most common defense mechanism which focuses on refusal to acknowledge or believe an obvious truth about a person’s situation.

    Rationalizing: explaining feelings or behaviors in a way that makes the issues seem reasonable is one way of rationalizing behavior. The defense mechanism will keep a person from seeing the true reality of a situation,

    Defense mechanisms need a quick reality check. It helps to do a personal inventory of why an individual is using defense mechanisms and keeping others at arm’s length. The feelings that are trying to be avoided are going to surface eventually. Putting down defenses requires taking full responsibility for behavior and thoughts. An individual must be willing to make oneself vulnerable short-term to stay healthy long-term in recovery.


    Sustain Recovery supports individuals who need help recovering from addiction. Contact us to find out how we can support your journey back to healing.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

© 2023 OCTLC Inc.