Excerpt About Defense

Reaction Formation to the State of Deficiency

Our understanding is that to continue identifying with the particular ego structure is to continue the defense. In all the cases of an individual going from an ego state to a Being state, the main defensive maneuver is the identification with an ego structure, a self-image or an object relation. While it is true that one must deal with other defense mechanisms, like repression, reaction formation, projection and so on, ultimately one comes to face the identification systems themselves as the ultimate and most subtle defense. It is true that the identifications give the individual a sense of self or individuality, which is taken by object relations theory to be needed for adaptation and development, but they are exactly what constitute the defense against the particular state of deficiency related to the Personal Essence In relation to the Personal Essence, the experience is always as follows: One is cut off from the Personal Essence. There results a sense of lack and deficiency. Since the Personal Essence is the feeling of being a real and rounded individual, the deficiency is experienced as an affect of a lack of this sense of oneself. One feels weak, lacking his own sense of beingness. One feels one is really not a person, cannot be personal and cannot make contact Now, what is the best defense against such a painful state? Clearly, the best defense is the belief and feeling that one is a person who is strong and able to
make contact. This is exactly what is provided by identifying with the ego structure or with part of it. We can call this function adaptive, but even if we admit this possibility, we cannot deny that it is also defensive. It is, in fact, a reaction formation to the state of deficiency.

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