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April 30, 2021

066 - How We Use Defense Mechanisms to Cope with Anxiety and Discomfort

066 - How We Use Defense Mechanisms to Cope with Anxiety and Discomfort

Welcome to The Fully Lived Life podcast! A podcast for those who are longing to pursue the full life and want to break free from anything that holds them back. Listen in as two friends - a psychologist, Dr. Merry, and a life coach, Gillian - talk about life, love, and purpose - with wisdom, humor, and transparency -  through the lens of science, psychology, and faith.


In today's episode we’re going to talk about defense mechanisms!! This is a good follow up to our podcast, Telling Ourselves the Truth (060). We’re going to go through some of the more common defense mechanisms and we’ll also share which of the enneagram types tend to rely on them

So What?

Self-awareness is key to our growth! While this may be an “ouchie”, it’s worth calling it out in ourselves so that we can do better. And we ALL use them!!

Typical Defence Mechanisms: It is quite a list so make sure to tune in as Merry walks us through them.

Now What?

Therapeutic Tips:

First of all, acknowledge that everyone uses defense mechanisms and they actually served a purpose - so be kind to yourself.

Study the common DM’s - re-listen to this podcast if you have to, and write down which of the defense mechanisms that resonate with you, especially as you think about your enneagram number, if you know it.

Track your DM’s - Once you’ve identified your DM’s of choice, start tracking them each day at the end of each day and consider where the DM’s might have come up.

Understands the whys of your DMs - Most importantly, when you’ve identified that you’ve used a DM, think about what uncomfortable experience or emotion you were trying to manage.

Learn to tolerate the discomfort - we’ve talked about this before in a previous episode (057 - Regulating our Emotions)

Life Coaching Tip:

Can you think of a recent situation where your defence mechanisms kicked in big time?  Journal it with as much detail about what was going on with you - what were you feeling, experiencing physically, how was your voice, stance, body language.. What would you like to change?  I think the 90 second rule in Episode 069 would be helpful to engage here. Remember change really does take time but if you can imagine and dream about how you want to change you’re more likely to move in that direction.


Dr. Merry’s book: https://amzn.to/2rCrJyI

Dr. Merry’s website: https://drmerry.com

Dr. Lin & Associates: http://drlinandassociates.com

Gillian’s Website: https://gillianmcshane.com