top of page

UNDERSTANDING DEFENSES

In your natural state, energy flows in a balanced way. Your system is designed to constantly metabolize everything you need.  With your breath, you draw in energy.  Each of your chakras metabolizes energy from the environment.  You are fed from the Earth and from the heavens.  Like water, your energy is designed to flow.  The more freely it flows, the greater your state of health and well-being on every level:  physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Unfortunately, most of us have learned how to function in a chronic state of imbalance or lack.  We've learned how to block or redirect our energy, or create a "defense" against its free movement.  This defensive state is so familiar, you might not even realize it's there.

 

HOW DEFENSES DEVELOP

 

As an infant and young child, your energy body was very open and sensitive.  Your energy moved freely, and life was full and exciting.  You could feel your own life force coursing through you.  But you were also very vulnerable and dependent upon others for your survival.  You had a lot of very real physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and sometimes those needs weren't met.  Sometimes you had to face difficult experiences that caused you great pain.  With your open energetic system, you could feel everything inside and around you, including the pain of your caregivers.  

It was a lot to process, and you weren't always able to understand what was happening, or to process it in a healthy, life-affirming way.  Your parents were likely cut-off by their own defenses, making it difficult for them to help you navigate your big emotions and challenging experiences.  They may even have made it more difficult for you to stay open. When the emotions you felt were simply too strong, or the pain too great, you had to find a way to make it go away. 

 

This is how most of us learn how to close off the energetic channels in our bodies.  We do what we need to do to survive the moment.  Closing off lessens the pain. Many of us learn how to mimic the defensive strategies of our parents.  We close our hearts or our minds or compress our creativity as a way to feel less pain.  We defend against our own energy, as a way to protect ourselves. 

And it works, at least temporarily.  In the moment, the pain lessens.  We all shut off the parts of ourselves that are hurting.  Those defenses protect us from feeling something we simply didn't have the capacity to feel.  At this young age, we simply don't know any other way to deal with pain.  Walling off some part of our natural flow and state of awareness is like building little dams in a stream.  The next time we experience something similar, we know how to protect ourselves.  Unfortunately, most of us do this again and again.  Over time, all those blocks solidify, creating a pattern or a "defensive structure" that shapes how the body grows and what we can experience.  

Likely, you don’t even remember what most of those challenging experiences were.  You also probably don't remember what you told yourself about life or about who you were in the world in those moments of pain and confusion.  All the pain and the distorted thinking got locked into those blocks in your body.  For a long time, you may even have thought they weren't there at all.  Defenses work, because they not only take away the pain, but help us forget the confusion and the doubt, too.  Most of us don't realize the price we pay for this relief is access to our own life force.  Our defenses wall us off from ourselves.   

As an adult, you might be feeling the physical or emotional results of those blocks, even if you don't remember putting them there.  Maybe you've experienced some shortness of breath, but don't remember how you closed your heart in response to your father's rejection.  Maybe your thyroid function has declined, even if you don't remember closing your throat when your cries weren't responded to.  The gift and the challenge of defenses is they work.  They cut you off from your life force so well, you neither feel the pain nor remember the choice you made to defend against it.  They deaden your energy to the point where you might not even know you're an energetic being.  Left alone, defenses eventually cause physical sickness or disease. They make relationships more difficult and less fulfilling. They prevent you from “living your light.”  Defenses block the full flow of energy through your system. They limit you. They narrow your experience. 

TYPES OF ENERGETIC DEFENDING

There are a few, common types of energetic defenses that we all learn how to use, to a greater or lesser extent.  They are:

Withdrawal -  When something feels fearful or unsafe, you can withdraw your energy.  You can pull your energy back, away from your extremities (hands, feet, eyes, genitals, etc.) to avoid contact with the world.  You can hold it tightly in your core, not allowing it to flow out into your body at all.  You can even draw some of your energy consciousness right out of your body, through the crown, and back into the world of spirit.  You can hang out up there, "above it all."  This is one of the earliest energetic defenses we all learn, usually in infancy, when we had no other way to protect ourselves or escape the pain of what we were experiencing.  Places in your body that you've withdrawn energy from will be undeveloped or malformed, with twists or left-right imbalances.  Withdrawing your energy makes it hard to ground and feel present, which perpetuates the fear.  This makes it hard to be in real contact with others.

Collapse - When you're feeling overwhelmed or like you're not enough or can't go on, you can collapse your energy.  When the energetic charge running through you simply feels too strong, collapsing is a way of bringing down the charge.  Your energy drains away, and you're left depleted.   When your field is collapsed, you may feel unable to go on or unable to take care of yourself.  Until you learn how to tolerate a healthy charge, you'll need others to supply the energy you lack.  This defense usually forms during the oral stage of development in response to feeling unsupported or abandoned.  To compensate for the chronic undercharge, we usually develop an ability to "suck" energy and subtly manipulate others to get our needs met.  Places in your body where you've collapsed your field can be underdeveloped (sometimes childlike in appearance).  They can also be elongated from constantly reaching for what you need to survive.  

   

Compression - When your energy feels "too big" for the people around you, or you feel others invading your space, you can compress your energy.  Using your will, you can take all of the free-flowing energy in your body and trap it.  You can hold down your anger and resentment using compression.  You can silence your voice.  You can hold a lot of negativity with compression, though it requires a constant suppression of your own spontaneous nature, emotional expression and creativity.  This defense usually forms in early childhood when we're learning about healthy boundaries and developing a "healthy no."  Places in your body where you're compressing your energy will be thicker, deadened or heavy in appearance and feeling.  Compressing your field can make you feel sluggish, heavy, stuck or depressed.  Compressing your energy keeps it from flowing, making it hard for you to feel yourself.  It creates poor boundaries in your field.  Energy from others easily flows in, but very little is allowed out.  This can make it hard to know what's healthy for you in relationships, what you want, what's good for your body, etc.  It can make all of life feel very heavy, to the point where you're not even sure you care if it goes on.

 

Displacement - Displacing your energy redirects energy from one part of your body into another.  Displacement can happen anywhere in your field.  You can displace your energy upward to appear larger or more powerful.  You can displace energy from your emotional centers into your will centers, to avoid having to feel things.  Or you can displace energy into your mental centers, so you can function mainly in your head and avoid the discomfort of the lower chakras.  Displacement causes imbalances within the system, so that some parts are running too much energy and other parts are running too little.  Chakras or body parts may be disconnected from each other, limiting communication.  Places in the body where you've displaced energy may appear disproportionate to the rest of the body.  Displacement hides your own consciousness and emotions from yourself.  Displacement makes it difficult for you to know yourself, or to bring your authentic, vulnerable self into relationship.  Displacement causes the areas of the body running too much energy to burn out, and the areas of undercharge to remain undeveloped.

Numbing - Numbing is a rigid holding of the energetic field to thwart spontaneous expression and mask painful experiences.  With numbing, you simply stop feeling what's there.  Numbing makes it difficult to move freely.  It's a deep form of self-rejection that can develop in response to feeling rejected in your core self or sexual expression.  Numbing allows you to pretend everything is just fine.  From the outside, everything may look great, but so much of your life force is being held back, it can be difficult to find meaning in life or feel anything authentic.  Numbing holds your energy in an "appropriate" range, so that anything falling outside of the defined range is simply not experienced.  Numbing makes it difficult to feel what's most true for you, thereby making it difficult to bring your authentic, vulnerable self into relationship.  Others will also have trouble "feeling you," and are, therefore, more likely to reject you.

All of us have learned how to use all of these defenses.  There may be areas of your consciousness and your body that are compressed.  Perhaps you've compressed your throat to block your own voice.  Or you've compressed your will chakras to avoid the discomfort of conflict.  There are likely areas of collapse or displacement.  Maybe your chest is collapsed in an attempt to protect your vulnerable heart, or maybe it's puffed out to frighten others away with your show of strength.  All of these patterns and ways of holding energy are known as defensive structure.  Your defensive structure "defends" against the free flow of your energy by creating "structures" in your energy and physical body to hold it all in place.  Your defensive structure is the accumulation of all the ways in which you commonly defend against life.

 

HOW DEFENSES WORK TO HEAL THEMSELVES

 

We live in a world of attraction, magnetism and resonance.  Everything "sends out a signal," including your defensive structure.  In a vibrational world like ours, energy is constantly moving, combining, separating, creating and destroying.  Life is in a constant state of change.  Differently charged atomic particles will attract and bond with each other, creating new things.  Magnets will repel or attract, depending on their pole.  Two tuning forks of the same vibration will both sing if one of them is struck.  The whole world is in communication with itself, and its language is vibration.

Defenses affect the vibration, or the signal that you're sending out into the world.  That signal acts like a magnet.  That means, if you've closed your heart, you'll attract experiences of heartlessness.  People may be cruel to you, betray you, or hurt you in a similar manner to the original event that caused you to close your heart in the first place.  If you've closed your throat to self-expression, you'll repeatedly find yourself in situations where someone's telling you to be quiet.  You'll be silenced or feel unheard, in a way that feels similar to what you felt as a child when you decided to close your throat and stop asking for your needs to be met.  Instead of sending out the signal, “I am a beautiful child of God, full and complete, endlessly provided for and supported in all that I do, and with magnificent gifts to share,” your defensive signal may be sending out the message, “I believe the world is a battlefield, where you must fight, and only the strong survive.”  Or it may be sending out the message, “There’s not enough and I’m not enough.  I expect to be abandoned or betrayed.”  

And the world will respond to your vibrational communication, as it must, meeting you wherever you're at.  This is both the challenge and the gift of your defenses.  Defenses will keep challenging you to look at your own limiting beliefs by bringing you experiences similar to the original one that caused you to think that way in the first place.  They'll keep drawing those experiences to you until you feel your emotions and change how you think about something.  Your defenses will keep attracting the pain you denied until you face it, accept it, and learn to love yourself through it.  Your pain will keep being brought to your attention until you learn to love yourself better.  

But defenses are also life-affirming.  Without them, you wouldn't have survived those overwhelming experiences or had a way to deal with your pain.  Your defenses were a way for you to say YES to going forward in life, despite the pain you were experiencing.  They are life itself, being nothing more than your own life force, held in a static structure.  

In this way, defenses don't just block pain, but lovingly hold it just out of your consciousness until the moment when you're ready to deal with it.  Each time your defenses draw a challenging experience to you, you're being given another opportunity to decide differently.  Although you can never change what happened, you always have the choice to respond differently.  You can choose in any challenging moment to let your defenses down, to allow your own life force to flow, to change how you think of yourself and life, and to love yourself better.  Your defenses will lovingly hold you in your constricted pattern until the pain of holding onto the constriction becomes greater than the pain of letting it go. 

 

The letting down of defenses is something that needs to be undertaken with deep love and care of self.  When you begin to let down your defenses, you will most certainly feel vulnerable.  Remember, defenses block you from feeling whatever was painful.  Softening defenses means looking at the things that caused you pain.  It means having the courage to face your fears.  It means claiming your part in the initial event (i.e., your initial reaction and what that reaction resulted in).  For support working with your defenses,​ you can book an appointment here. 

bottom of page