Defense mechanisms are a little bit like the movie, The Matrix. They are there to keep you from seeing (and feeling) the truth of your experience. The result is that we keep repeating the same unworkable pattern over and over again. We can’t make any progress even though we keep trying to do things differently.
The problem is that our defense prevents us from resolving what is disturbing us. Take shame for example. Shame is a defense we use when we think that the anger or sadness we feel is too much for us to handle. Instead of feeling healthy loss or aggravation, we turn that on ourselves and find fault with our actions or thoughts. We think, "I’m a loser" instead of "I don’t like how Josh treated me."
We get stuck mounting evidence and spiraling into more and more shame with statements like "I’m a loser." When we are willing to investigate our feelings of anger, we can start moving through the upset. The feelings of anger or sadness may turn out to be completely unfounded, but in your system they make sense. Validating/allowing yourself to explore the feeling is critical in order to resolve the upset.
When we are frightened to feel, we create defenses. And, the directive of those defenses is to prevent you from feeling more deeply. This stops you from seeing what is true for yourself and therefore you never move past it or get it resolved.
So, if you’re feeling particularly stuck in a situation, ask yourself, "who am I angry at" or "what am I sad about?" You don’t need to express it, just recognize it for yourself.
To getting unstuck