When someone experiences emotional pain, and this pain is too strong for them to handle, their mind can end up using a defence to keep it at bay. In this sense, a defence is very much like a water dam, inasmuch as it is there to stop something from flooding in.
After a little while, it will be necessary for them to realise what has taken place and to face this pain. This will allow them to reconnect with their feelings and to operate as a whole human being again.
When a defence is only used for a little while, it might not have much of a negative impact on their life. However, when this is not the case and it ends up being their modus operandi, it can end up causing them a lot of problems.
The trouble is that when a defence is used, one might not even think about what effect this will have on their life. The only thing that could be on their mind is to gain control over how they feel.
It is then a bit like how someone who hasn’t eaten for a few days can just eat anything, not thinking about the effect that the food will have on them as time goes by. This person could have all kinds of different food intolerances, but this won’t cross their mind.
In the short-term, they will enjoy what they are eating, yet in the long-term, they might end up suffering. And in the same way that certain foods will have a bigger effect on them than others, so will certain defences.
The Defence In Question
Let’s say that someone has just experienced a break up and they are in a lot of pain, what they can end up doing is seeing their ex as being all bad. This person is then not going to posses both good and bad traits, they will just be a bad person
Doing this will strip their ex of their humanity, no longer seeing them as a multifaceted human being. By seeing their ex in this way, it will be way for them to keep their inner pain at bay.
The reason one can’t see this person as a whole human being is because of what is taking place in their mind. The splitting defence mechanism that is being used will have caused them mind to be split, too.
Therefore, instead of them being able to hold all sides of the other person in their mind, they will only hold one part of them there. Their mind will no longer be operating in a dual fashion; it will have become a mono mind, so to speak.
Through having a mono mind, their view of the other person will be black and white – there will be no grey involved. If all parts of their mind were involved, they would be able to see that their ex is made up of many different parts.
Still, while this will stop them from seeing their ex in a balanced way, it will stop them from having to face a lot of pain. If they were to no longer see their ex as being all bad, they might end up coming into contact with a number of painful feelings.
A Temporary Solution
If one is able to see what is going on and they were to face their pain, they will gain a more balanced outlook when it comes to their ex. This defence mechanism will have stopped them from being overwhelmed by their own feelings, which will have been a good thing.
The above might not take place, though, and one may also have the tendency to see just about every area of their life in this way. One is then not going to be able to tolerate ambiguity.
One way to understand this would be to imagine that life is like a selection box of chocolates; there are all different types and some types are more appealing than others. Yet, when someone has the tendency to use splitting, their selection box will only contain two types of chocolates, and these will be either good or bad.
Their mind will be a one dimensional place and this will result in their external being just as one dimensional. This will make it hard for them to maintain relationships with others, to think clearly and to have a balanced view of themselves, amongst other things.
Through having the tendency to use this defence mechanism, they can build people up when they meet them and then when this person does something that they themselves don’t like, they can pull them down. They will then idealize another person when they meet them, only to devalue them before long, which could cause them to discard them.
One minute, another person could be seen as the best person on the planet, in the next, they can be seen as being completely worthless. Also, one can see themselves as being the greatest at one point and then see themselves as having absolutely no value soon after.
A Closer Look
When splitting is a big part of how someone operates in their day-to-day life, it is likely to illustrate is that they are unable to handle their emotions. If they could, they would generally be able to be with their emotions and no longer need to be so up and down.
This person is in a lot of pain and this is why they can’t simply put this defence mechanism to one side. What this is likely to show that their early years were a time in their life when they experienced a lot of trauma.
Perhaps this was a time in their when they were abused and/or neglected, and their birth, along with their time in the womb, might not have been too pleasant. If someone can relate to this, and they want to change their life, they will most likely need to reach out for external support.
This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.