7 Psychological Defenses That Aren’t Protecting You, But Making You Weaker

Brianna Wiest | Forbes

Many of our worst qualities do not actually come from being morally corrupt or misguided. They are more often psychological defense mechanisms that we don’t understand.

The interesting thing about most defense mechanisms is that they often do the opposite of what we want them to. Instead of leaning into vulnerability, we shut it down with judgement. Though our core desire is to connect with someone, we end up sabotaging any chance of it because we get scared.

Or, take envy as another example. Instead of understanding that we, too, want to have that which someone else already has achieved, we spend our time vilifying themThis begins to create a subconscious association between having the thing we want, and being disliked.

It’s easy to see how quickly defense mechanisms can shoot us in the foot more than they ever keep us safe. Here, 7 of the most common ones that are most likely standing in your way:


There’s a saying that indecisiveness is not actually not knowing, but not wanting to come to terms with what you already know to be true. Being unable to make decisions for fear of missing out or choosing incorrectly is truly hindering your ability to move forward, and it’s ultimately just a means of making yourself less liable for the outcomes of your life. Take some time to reflect, get clear on your long-term visions, and start prioritizing from there.


Contrary to common belief, procrastination is not so much laziness as it is resistance. When we avoid doing work we know we want or even need to be doing, it’s not because we can’t be bothered to muster up the energy to complete it. It’s usually because we aren’t clear on what we want to do, or how we want to do it. In this case, we do not need more motivation, we need more strategy. To achieve that, we have to stop doubting our capabilities, and stop worrying about getting everything ‘right’ on the very first try.

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