Take the hit: psychological defense techniques
Psychological defensiveness is a property of a mature personality that depends on intelligence, mindfulness, tendency to analyze, critical thinking and emotional stability. We offer you a few tried-and-true techniques of psychological defense.
If you are stung by one or even a few bees, it may be good for your health. But if you are attacked by a swarm of wasps or a victim of a poisonous snake sting, then you will be in trouble. Your competitors, detractors, or enemies can cause you no less harm, just using as a psychological weapon the words that wound your soul. And the longer you worry about it, the more chances you have to be among the losers.
“If a man shows that he is irritated and can not control his emotions, he should do something else, not work with people,” – confidently stated Frenchman Michel Fadul, who has achieved brilliant success in business at the world level.
Psychological security is a property of a mature person. It consists of a whole complex of such characteristics as the level of intellect, attitudes, mindfulness, analytical and reflective tendencies, critical thinking, emotional stability.
More often ask yourself and others the magic questions: what, where, when, how, why, and why? Try to imagine the whole panorama and the dynamics of the event, see the picture as a whole and note contradictions, inconsistencies and white spots, pay attention to details. They are the necessary material for assessing the credibility of the information.
We offer you several psychological defense techniques developed by us and tested at our trainings.
The “Ventilator” technique . Analyze what you react the most painfully. What annoys you? What makes you angry or depressed? Recall specific words, intonations, gestures of your opponents or abusers.
Close your eyes and think again all the most hurtful, scathing, scalding words that make you feel confused and worthless, or cause powerful outbursts of aggression.
Now imagine that you are sitting across from the person who is dealing you these psychological blows. He’s the one who’s saying cruel, hurtful words to you. And you can feel yourself starting to “turn on” already. Challenge yourself to feel the feeling of being hit. What part of your body reacts to it? What happens: does the whole body feel hot, or does something clench inside, or maybe just interrupt your breathing? What is happening to you specifically?
Use the technique of venting your emotions. Imagine that between you and the offender is a powerful fan, which immediately put his words aside, their sharp arrows do not reach you.
One more thing. Make a figure with your right hand and cover it with the palm of your left hand. Mentally direct it at that person who is trying to take you out of the mental equilibrium. Remember how the same figure helped you as a child to “take revenge” on an offender.
Open your eyes, and you will surely feel that you are now able to withstand such a psychological blow.
The Aquarium trick . If you continue to react painfully to attacks from people who have a negative attitude toward you, use this trick. Imagine that between you and your offender – a thick glass wall aquarium. He tells you something unflattering, but you only see it, and the words do not hear, they are absorbed by the water and only bubble foam on the surface. That is why they do not work on you. And you, without losing composure and calmness of spirit, do not give in to provocation, do not react to offensive words. And thanks to this turning the situation in your favor.
Reception of “Disneyland” . The pain of the psychological blow can be mitigated, if not reduced to zero, if you treat all people as small children. You’re not offended by small children, are you?
Imagine that you are alone against a whole group of people negatively disposed toward you. The balance of power is on their side. And you have only one chance to turn the situation around: imagine them as a group of children on the playground. They are angry, capricious, shouting, waving their hands, throwing toys on the floor, trampling them with their feet. In general, in every way trying to make you mad. But you, as a mature, wise man, treat their antics as a child’s pranks, and you continue to keep an imperturbable calm until they are exhausted. You don’t take their words as insults, you don’t react to their outbursts. You find it all amusing to watch as an adult.
The “Fox and Grapes” technique . If there have been times in your past when someone managed to annoy you so much that the experience of defeat is still there, use the technique of rationalization, removal of negative “anchors. Recall the fable “The Fox and the Grapes”: not having reached the bunch of grapes, the fox said that she did not really want grapes – they were sour and green.
The “Ocean of Tranquility” technique . Imagine yourself as the protagonist of the parable: “The ocean takes the waters of many turbulent rivers, but itself remains still. He in whom all thoughts and emotions flow in the same way, remains impassive in peace.”
The “Theater of the Absurd” technique . It is possible to use such a technique of psychological defense as bringing the situation to the point of absurdity. It is basically the same as making an elephant out of a fly. That is to hyperbolize aloud beyond recognition the fact that someone only hints at, and thus unexpectedly knock the psychological weapon out of the hands of their enemies or detractors. Your goal is to make any invective from your detractor cause nothing but laughter. This is the solution to the problem of how to defend against a psychological attack.
The “Puppet Theater” technique. If you find it difficult to communicate with people who are emotionally significant to you, use this technique. Imagine that they are just caricatured characters from the TV show “Puppets”. And let them talk nonsense while talking to each other. And you just watch from the sidelines and make your own assessments. Like, this smart guy is pretending to be a superman, and the other one is pretending to be a strong person, a professional, but he is weak, just bluffing. Play this show until you laugh. Your laughter is an indication that the technique worked.
Techniques of psychological self-defense and survival
Stress, failure, uncertainty, dissatisfaction, are all causes and consequences of our daily struggles. Who survives and succeeds in life? You can’t tell by their looks. Behavior does not predict it. You can’t tell from their conversations. But both they and you have their survival skills. If you articulate these skills, they will be easier to learn. You will become more secure.
People’s motivation is largely based on comparison, i.e., competition with the world around them. So if you have anything better than those around you, you run the risk of making them jealous. People are prone to hostile actions because of competition even if what they go to conflict for is not what they want. Part of this absolutism is due to an unwillingness to give in, which is the flip side of competition, i.e., an unwillingness to let the other improve the situation.
1. Control your own attitude to your surroundings
Do not confuse your own good intentions with what others expect of you. If you are a good person, don’t open up to others immediately. Don’t expect anyone to say “thank you” to you or at least not do bad things in return for the good. As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Do nothing with the expectation of gratitude. You don’t expect gratitude – you won’t be hurt by ingratitude. Good should be done, as the story of the wise man and the bird said, without regret, gratuitously.
If you want to hear words of praise or gratitude, then praise or thank someone who should be praising or thanking you. And for what you did. Surprisingly, if you do this without sneering, most people will take the praise for granted, even if you are thanking them for their own achievement.
For all the irony of the situation, this trick provides reassurance. I guess when you hear your achievement acknowledged and talked about out loud, it feels good. You even have hope that the people inspired by your example will not forget to thank you in the future.
Stephen Covey’s principle of “from the inside out” also helps to protect oneself from a hostile environment. If a person is self-sufficient, he reacts less to the bad things that happen around him. He has a more developed sense of control over his circumstances. Einstein’s saying, “happiness is good health plus bad memory,” also helps in the struggle to preserve one’s inner peace: the more you forget bad things, the calmer your soul.
2. cherish the experiences you gain from analyzing other people’s mistakes
“Smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others.” If a person makes mistakes and you gloat, it means you won’t draw any conclusions from his mistakes, which means you’re not mature. Consequently, you need to be prepared to expect mistakes from yourself as well.
This principle is very close to another: “Judge not, lest ye be judged. Only by trying to understand the mistakes of others can you avoid making similar ones. But by comparing them to your own “ideal behavior” and labeling them as condemnable, you virtually eliminate the possibility that something similar could happen to you. So much for a consumerist reading of one of the principles of goodness: “Don’t judge, treat people with understanding, and then you can learn a lesson from the troubles of others and protect yourself from ‘obvious’ mistakes!”
3. “Throw away the blocks.”
Our consciousness is the “extraneous” part of our thinking. It is made up of blocks of some kind. Each block is some vivid impression, or habit, or just a thought that transforms into a habit.
Once they appear, they can not only live in your mind, but also pass on to your children. Here’s an example. A husband asks his wife why, over the years of their life together, she throws away most of the pie, that is, she cuts the edges to the point that only half of it remains.
She admits that it’s illogical, but that’s how her mother taught her. Mom says she learned it from her grandmother. Finally, Grandma says that their pan was much larger than the largest dish where the pies were laid out, so she had to trim them.
Women for generations have followed this example and would have continued to do so had they not been stopped by the right question. Think about how many other unnecessary blocks your consciousness contains that you can get rid of. Once you start paying attention to that moment, and then, you get used to it! This is an example of the process of throwing out a mental block and replacing it with a new one.
The ability to get rid of a mental block is also very useful at work. For example, a new boss comes in and immediately announces: as of today, we are not singing, but dancing. Subordinates who learn the new strategy quickly live peacefully. But those whose ability to throw out the blocks that control old habits and beliefs are not well developed, have a hard time.
4. “Mornings are wiser in the morning.”
It is unlikely that the author(s) of this proverb did any statistical analysis, but this conclusion from their own observations is brilliant. Indeed, with the first rays of the sun, the mood improves, and many nightmares go away on their own. Moral: Don’t make decisions at night. Don’t be afraid of the fears that pounce on you. Wait until morning, and you’ll be much more rational. The same rule applies to children.
And one more piece of advice I picked up in some trader’s magazine: Fears plague the bedridden. If you can’t sleep, don’t lie down.
5. The more interests you have, the easier it is to live.
An acquaintance of mine came to this conclusion when his family was in a difficult situation for a long time in the early 1980s. The stress of uncertainty was severe. In this situation, he came to several conclusions he would not have reached in normal life. One of the questions this man asked himself was the following: “What do you do when you no longer have friends, status, money, or an interesting job?” And he decided: “You have to have diverse interests.”
Finding that answer, my acquaintance went to a music class. To his surprise, there were several of his peers in the same group who came to the same conclusion. There was an artist who refused to paint workers and collective farmers, and therefore sat without orders. There were two others with less pronounced problems. They all discovered this principle and became interested in music and literature.
The more stressful it is, the more valuable it is to pursue any kind of art or to pursue one’s interests in other areas. Some may even go further and take up creative work. An acquaintance of mine still composes music in difficult periods of life.
6. Memorize every action and sensation you have.
How many times have you fallen ill and thought your illness was worse than it really was? And then it happened again, and only when you got sick did you remind yourself of your worries about the seriousness of the illness, even though you could remember that it had happened to you before?
If in unpleasant moments you remember your feelings, imagine the main stages of their passage, you will feel much more secure? The same principle works when you remember your reactions to the problems of your loved ones.
You tell your children, “If you eat something cold, you’ll get sick, just like last time. If you follow this recommendation, you need to insist during the course of the illness that your child remember how bad he feels. And after he has recovered, remind him of these feelings.
Of course, you should explain something when the person is ready to listen and is able to adequately perceive your words, and not in difficult or difficult moments, when your support will be more appreciated, and not the hurtful: “I told you so.
We always find ways to explain to ourselves that the situation is seemingly normal. For example, “the new boss is not so bad; it could be worse. This is how we learn to fit in the square ear, then the round ear, and then the triangular ear. And in the process we are forced to “throw away the blocks” because the faster the desired shape is taken, the easier the adjustment to the environment.
We are not advocating a retreat from our principles here, nor are we claiming that adjustment is easy. But the alternative to “throwing the block away” is either fighting with your wife all your life over some little thing, or being in opposition to the leadership. It’s better to throw something away and wait for your own consciousness to find a way to justify that decision.
Self-justification works better in tandem with patience, “throwing out the blocks,” and the belief that “everything in life is for the best.” Be patient, and you will find that the new situation will develop new habits, new blocks that will become acceptable or even more comfortable over time.
Maybe the image of an old battery being thrown out of the car will help you and your children adjust more quickly to new domestic or career situations.
You will notice how some time after an unpleasant event the principle of self-justification will work, and you will find great virtues in the new unfavorable situation. In other words, self-justification will smooth out the process of adjusting to life after the habitual block of consciousness is turned off. If you accept this principle, you will find it easier.
Finally, maybe today’s discomfort will pay off a hundredfold when fortune makes the next turn that you can’t even see now.
8. The Biological Cycle
Some might consider it mysticism, but haven’t you ever had one time in your life when bad luck in one area so knocked you out, that literally everything started to fall out of your hands? There are whole periods in life when it’s like balancing over an abyss.
One of my acquaintances had problems at work for a year, then my mother became seriously ill, then, when it seemed that the situation could not get any worse, with a suspicion of a serious illness my wife was taken for examination. Suddenly, the prosperous man of only yesterday was on the verge of losing his mother, his wife, and his job.
It seemed statistically impossible that so many disasters in different areas of his life could occur simultaneously. Some call such periods parts of the biological cycle. Periodically a person succeeds in whatever he or she does. And periodically, also for no reason, he is catastrophically unlucky.
The very idea of the cycle is very optimistic: cycles have a beginning and an end. In other words, problems are bound to end. Often, even without your participation, your boat will splash out of a stormy sea into a calm harbor.
Even the constant reminder of the inevitable end of torment does not provide complete solace. “Is the light at the end of the tunnel a way out or a locomotive coming toward it?” – such a question subconsciously arises in the mind of every person caught in a streak of bad luck.
And of course, all collisions are accompanied by frantic nervous tension, bordering on paranoid fear of the worst-case scenarios. If at such moments the nerves are off the scale, there is no shame in admitting: yes, I am unlucky, yes, I am really scared, yes, I am really nervous. Admit it at least to myself. Moreover, it makes sense to help yourself and start taking a sedative. It will not bring good luck, but at least it will be easier to wait to get out of a bad luck streak.
Often people panic if a period of bad luck comes suddenly. At such moments, it is impossible to see where help will come from, or it seems that this situation will continue indefinitely. But it is important to remember that it is normal to be nervous. The main thing is to avoid panic! It comes when people forget that cycles always end, and so they can get desperate.
9. A smile is the best wrap.
We’ve all seen quite a few people who hide their dark intentions behind a beautiful smile. As a rule, they are charming, sputtering optimistic specimens that condemn any of your doubts in the most incredible positive forecast. In fact, they shamelessly fail to perform their job duties, undermine others, claiming bonuses for the results achieved by others, or informing the bosses about everything that happens in the team. And they do all this with an affectionate, heartfelt smile.
Americans conducted a retrospective study of the behavior of politicians. It turned out that those of the candidates who promised less and exuded less optimism achieved greater results. In other words, those who smiled were less consistent. So it seems that smiling does help those who are naturally armed with it, whatever they are.
Since you can’t change the world, teach yourself and your children to smile through the force. It will serve them well in life.