The Broken to Brave Podcast

Exploring the Depths of Defense Mechanisms

March 19, 2024 Dr. Stephanie Lopez Episode 43
Exploring the Depths of Defense Mechanisms
The Broken to Brave Podcast
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The Broken to Brave Podcast
Exploring the Depths of Defense Mechanisms
Mar 19, 2024 Episode 43
Dr. Stephanie Lopez

Today we'll delve into the complexities of dealing with emotionally immature or narcissistic mothers and their impact on personal development. Exploring common behaviors and defense mechanisms, I'll guide you on a journey of self-reflection and healing. Highlighting the importance of shifting focus from our mothers, this episode provides insights on recognizing and addressing defensive patterns for personal growth.

Through candid discussions and relatable anecdotes, I empower you to break free from inherited toxic traits and embrace healthier relationships with yourself and others. Tune in to discover actionable steps towards emotional resilience and reclaiming control over your narrative.

In this episode, you'll learn the following:
1. Recognizing and taking responsibility for personal patterns.
2. Identifying and addressing defense mechanisms.
3. Recognizing that defensiveness is a common trait present in all individuals.

5-Day BRAVE-cation Healing Retreat:
www.brave-method.com/retreat-priority-list

______________________________________

[FREE TRAINING]
How high-achieving women can
DITCH anxiety in as little as five minutes a day

www.brave-method.com/anxiety

Which of these results do you want and inspire you the most?
www.brave-method.com/testimonials

💗 Dr. Steph
@DrStephanieLopez
www.brave-method.com




Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today we'll delve into the complexities of dealing with emotionally immature or narcissistic mothers and their impact on personal development. Exploring common behaviors and defense mechanisms, I'll guide you on a journey of self-reflection and healing. Highlighting the importance of shifting focus from our mothers, this episode provides insights on recognizing and addressing defensive patterns for personal growth.

Through candid discussions and relatable anecdotes, I empower you to break free from inherited toxic traits and embrace healthier relationships with yourself and others. Tune in to discover actionable steps towards emotional resilience and reclaiming control over your narrative.

In this episode, you'll learn the following:
1. Recognizing and taking responsibility for personal patterns.
2. Identifying and addressing defense mechanisms.
3. Recognizing that defensiveness is a common trait present in all individuals.

5-Day BRAVE-cation Healing Retreat:
www.brave-method.com/retreat-priority-list

______________________________________

[FREE TRAINING]
How high-achieving women can
DITCH anxiety in as little as five minutes a day

www.brave-method.com/anxiety

Which of these results do you want and inspire you the most?
www.brave-method.com/testimonials

💗 Dr. Steph
@DrStephanieLopez
www.brave-method.com




Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm Dr Steph and I'm here to guide you on your journey to healing from a difficult relationship with your mother, whether she was narcissistic, emotionally immature or just plain toxic. I want you to know that you are, in fact, not broken and you do not have to suffer from anxiety or explosive emotional reactions like lashing out. You can break the cycle. You are a strong, capable woman who can handle any challenge that comes your way, and I'm going to show you how to have the ultimate control over your reactions so that you are unstoppable. Welcome to the Broken to Brave podcast. Welcome back. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that your week is off to a great start. On Sunday, I posted a real about with a personal update about a secret that I've been keeping the last couple of months. If you haven't seen it, I pinned it to the top of my Instagram page, so go check it out. My handle is Dr Stephanie Lopez. Dr Stephanie Lopez. It's pretty exciting news. I'm just going to leave that there, but go check it out.

Speaker 1:

What I want to say today is, if you had an emotionally immature, narcissistic or toxic mother, you don't want to miss today's episode. Today, I'm going to talk about some of the behaviors you observed, why they came up and what you need to do so that you do not turn out like your mother, because if you're anything like me and some of my clients many of my clients that's exactly what you want. You don't want to turn out like your mother. But before I dive in, I want to address a question that I received from someone in my audience. She asked that I share more content around helping her validate whether or not her mother is actually a narcissist. I want to dive into this. Today I can be more intentional about incorporating some of this into my content, and here's what I want you to know. It doesn't actually matter as much as you think it does. It does matter to the extent that you resonate with having an emotionally immature, narcissistic or toxic mother, because you may have been abused, and that is not okay. It matters so that you recognize the behaviors and the actions that are not healthy so that you don't perpetuate them when it comes to your healing journey. We don't actually want to keep spotlighting your mother. It can, for some, feel tempting to prove that their mother is a narcissist. That may or may not be the case for the person that submitted this question to me, although I have seen it sometimes, and so I just want to be really clear about that.

Speaker 1:

If you keep focusing on someone else rather than yourself, you will not heal. It goes along with that old saying if you have one finger pointing at someone else, you have three pointing back at you. Those three fingers pointing back at you are guiding you to where you should focus your attention while you heal. When it comes to emotional immaturity and narcissism, you can think of each of these as being on a continuum that ranges from low to high. Virtually every single person has some of these tendencies and traits that are on the low end, seriously Meaning that virtually everyone shows up with some level of emotional immaturity. And as you do the inner work and heal, you can take the reins and show up with more maturity in your life so that, no matter what's going on around you, you can show up the way that you want to. And I mean that no matter what's going on around you. I'm not saying that you're never gonna be triggered again. Okay, you are human and what I am saying is that you will feel in control of your emotions and your reactions far more often and that when you do get triggered, you will be able to catch yourself in the midst of it and step out of it much more quickly, so that those moments are more of a blip A blip rather than all consuming in your mind and your body. That is the power of combining the three pillars of the Brave Method, that's, analyze data, activate choice and absolute acceptance. Those three pillars are the secret sauce to healing. Give you the exact tools that you need to feel in control of your emotions and your reactions in a way that your mother wasn't.

Speaker 1:

Now I want to dive in to what's going on with someone who is demonstrating narcissistic tendencies in particular. I'll caveat this first. What I'm about to say is not all-encompassing. It's not an all-encompassing overview of narcissistic traits by any stretch of the imagination. This is some of what's going on under the surface, as well as some of the behaviors that likely show up in the individual. Someone who demonstrates narcissistic tendencies has a very low self-esteem and low self acceptance and often shows up with a wide variety of defense mechanisms. When hearing me talk if you were, you know, just with me on a regular day-to-day basis if you heard me talk about someone in my life who is a narcissist, you may have also heard me say that she was defensive 90% of the time. Why? Someone who demonstrates narcissistic tendencies has very low self-esteem and very low self-acceptance and often shows up with a wide variety of defense mechanisms. I felt like that was worth repeating Now, before I dive into the most common defense mechanism seen in narcissists, I want you to know that literally every single person on the planet is defensive.

Speaker 1:

Even me, who teaches and guides women to overcome defensiveness, gets defensive. I get defensive. I want you to know about defense mechanisms for three primary reasons, though First, so that you know that you were likely raised by someone who is highly defensive but has no idea that she is. Two, so that you know if you were raised by someone who is highly defensive, you likely are too. And three up to this point, you may have just assumed that others defense mechanisms as well as your defense mechanisms were just personality characteristics, and that's not the case. That's a really good thing, actually. Personality is relatively stable over time, and defense mechanisms can be changed quite easily as well. It's pretty simple. So if I look back at myself 12 years ago, compared to now, my level of defensiveness and emotional reactivity has decreased astronomically.

Speaker 1:

Most people think defense mechanisms are there to protect you from someone else. Is that like coming into this? Is that what you thought? Like sit with that for a moment? Did I think that defense mechanisms were there to protect me from somebody else? That's what most people think, but that's actually not the case. Defense mechanisms exist to protect you from feeling your own insecurities and negative emotions. So you can think about this someone who has very low self-esteem has a lot of insecurities. A defense mechanism is in place so that they don't Feel that, because in the moment that they are defensive, they get temporary relief from feeling negative about themselves. And I Just really want to reiterate this is all of us, but it varies. Some people are a lot more defensive than others. But if you are human, you are defensive. So keep paying attention and tune in.

Speaker 1:

Now you can think of a defense mechanism as an ineffective coping tool that is used on the Consciously, and that's the key word there. When people are showing up defensively, they don't realize it in the moment that they are. That is a human thing. That's not just about your mom, that's not just about you, that's not just about me. When we are using a defense mechanism, that's an ineffective coping tool let's use unconsciously.

Speaker 1:

Okay, defensiveness again is an ineffective coping tool, kind of like. I Don't know how this is gonna resonate, let's see. Let's see how this metaphor is for you. It's kind of like using a spoon to row a canoe. Can you imagine thinking that the tool needed to move a canoe was a spoon and You've always like you're like oh my gosh, it's so hard to move this canoe, but that's just the way that it is. Okay, let's like extrapolate that example to life and to defensiveness. Can you imagine thinking that that the tool that you needed to move through the world and interact with people was defensiveness and that you always felt like life was so Hard and that you just thought like that's just the way that it is? Let that metaphor sit with you for a minute. That is basically how humans are moving through this world, and I am not just referring to narcissists.

Speaker 1:

Every single person gets defensive, and most people in my experience get defensive far more often than they realize. In this healing journey, some of the biggest work that I do with clients and that I've done on myself is uncovering their specific defense mechanisms and guiding them through drastically reducing how often they get defensive so that they can choose a different path quickly. Someone with more insecurities and lower self-esteem again is likely to be more defensive, so Defensive a higher percentage of the time. Why? Because in those moments that they're defensive, they get that temporary relief from feeling bad about themselves. And we fix this by going to the core and transforming how you feel about yourself. Now, in case you're thinking well, I don't want to feel bad about myself. Of course I would want to use a defense mechanism so that I don't have to feel it. Here's the thing if you are defensive, you are not in control. You are living by default. Okay, this piece is really important when we are operating in default, and that's what most people are doing.

Speaker 1:

Defensiveness breeds defensiveness, especially if you were raised by an emotionally immature or narcissistic mother. It is critical to do the work to uncover your own defensiveness and heal so that you no longer show up that way. Okay, next, what I want to do is go over eight of the most common defense mechanisms Narcissists tend to demonstrate and, as you listen, also ask yourself how often am I showing up this way? I want you to ask yourself that how often do you show up that way? I want to be clear. If you don't resonate with any of these, that doesn't mean that you're not defensive. There are over 40 signs of defensiveness, including shutting down, using humor and even helping behaviors. Okay, so here's eight of the most common found in narcissists.

Speaker 1:

One is being highly critical. Can always find something, some one flawed, so something flawed with others. Maybe it's about how the person looks, or maybe about how they behave, or maybe about what they have or haven't done. Number two is denial. When confronted with feedback about their own flaws or their shortcomings, they may deny it or they may minimize their behavior, or they may refuse to acknowledge their mistakes and point the finger back at the other person. Number three blame. Aim to take accountability or ownership for their actions, maybe blaming others or for their problems, or maybe blaming others for their failures. Number four playing victim, really painting a picture of themselves as martyrs who sacrificed everything for their children and also expect that unwavering admiration and devotion. Number five is idealization and devaluation. This is really about idealizing their children when they meet their expectations or fulfilling their needs, but quickly devaluing them when they fail to live up to their unrealistic expectations. That, like experience can be, I feel, like whiplash for children because it's like wait, I'm idealized and then now I'm devalued, goodness, okay.

Speaker 1:

Number six is selective amnesia. This is conveniently forgetting past events or conversations that don't align with their preferred narrative. Maybe they rewrite history or they distort reality to suit their own agenda and maintain their self-image as flawless. Remember, all of this is not conscious when it's a defense mechanism. Number seven is triangulation. So they may triangulate their children by literally pitting their children against each other or against other family members. And when they sow these seeds of competition and division, they maintain control and undermine their children's relationships with each other. And then, finally, number eight is projection. And this is really projecting their own negative traits, emotions, insecurities or intentions on to others.

Speaker 1:

Again, this is not a comprehensive list, but these are eight of the most common that I've seen in narcissists, and I'm just curious how you resonate with this. Do you see all or some of these in your mother? No-transcript, and take a moment. Do you see all or some of these in yourself? Remember, in healing, the most important thing for you to do is to focus on yourself. You won't heal if you keep the focus on your emotionally immature or narcissistic mother.

Speaker 1:

And what I've heard over and over from clients is when we work together, they say like, oh my gosh, I had no idea these were defense mechanisms and I had no idea that so many things on the list were things that were me, that I did. That I do on a daily basis. I didn't know I was defensive, but really, when you sit with it, when you pause long enough, it makes sense. If you were raised by someone who is highly defensive, that's how you were taught to operate, but thank goodness, it's not a death sentence and it's absolutely something that you can change, now that you know that you can change it.

Speaker 1:

And inside Brave Academy, we dive into nearly 50 of the most common defense mechanisms so that you can clearly see how you are showing up defensively, and then I guide you on exactly what to do to drastically reduce how often you get defensive and how to bounce back quickly so that you don't get stuck in that defensive state and so that you're capable of showing up as your best self more often than not, so that you feel present and calm and at ease and confident and happy.

Speaker 1:

And that's because that's what you want, isn't it? And if you'd like to learn more about Brave Academy, what you can do is you can reach out to me in the DMs on Instagram or you can book a call with me at wwwbrave-methodcom. I hope you have a beautiful week. I will see you next Tuesday. Thank you for listening today. If you're ready to heal so that triggering situations no longer control you and so that you can feel empowered, brave and thrive in any situation, dm me the word Brave on Instagram and I'll send you a training where you will learn three of the most common mistakes driven women are making that are keeping them stuck in negative emotions, and what you can do instead.

Healing From Toxic Mother Relationship
Understanding and Overcoming Defense Mechanisms