Defensive Eh? Not a Problem

Just as surely as you have a physical immune system, the good news is, you have a psychic immune system.

You are carrying about a virtual edifice of stored functions, adaptive strategies, and defensive maneuvers that are continuously in play in, for want of a better word, your mind or your psyche.

Let’s consider for a moment the popular conception of ‘defensiveness.’ It has a negative connotation. Are we to be without defenses? I think not.

There is another popular conception. Let’s call it the ‘are you out of your mind?’ conception. Are we ever ‘out’ of our minds? Yes. Can we ‘lose’ our mind? Yes. In an earlier, pre-medicalized phase of the development of psychological theory , people, some might say had ‘lost their minds,’ were said to have had nervous breakdowns.

Would it surprise you to know that when people were found to have had a ‘nervous breakdown,’ they might have gone away for about three months and returned home refreshed and quite themselves? True. To read more about this, I refer you to a wonderful book by journalist, Robert Whittaker, Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill.

You bet we need our defenses. We carry about a phenomenal mind system that, like any system, needs mechanisms to ensure it’s well being and functionality. So, the next time someone says to you, ‘you’re being defensive,’ I suggest you reply, ‘yes, and the problem is what?’