Humans are social beings, we all love forming healthy relationships with others. But, a lot of times we tend to push people away, consciously or unconsciously, due to various reasons. Have you ever wondered what leads us to do this? In this blog, we will explore what leads us to push people away and how it acts as a defense mechanism.
Firstly, what are defense mechanisms?
Defense mechanisms are unconscious strategies that people use to reduce stress by concealing the source from themselves and others. This theory was introduced by none other than Sigmund Freud, and it has evolved since then. Unresolved trauma or overwhelming stress can cause a mess in our brains, leading us to use defense mechanisms to cope. These strategies are normal and are often not in the person's control, but identifying them could help us to avoid them. Pushing people away is one of the strategies that people use unconsciously . Sometimes it's because of fear of intimacy. People who haven't healed from their past relationships often do this to avoid getting hurt again. Attachment issues are also a part of intimacy avoidance. As children, when a person’s caregivers did not provide them with the needed intimacy and emotional support, they develop an avoidant attachment style as adults that could push their partner away. Apart from this lack of self-esteem, trust issues, anxiety, depression, etc can also lead to this. It's not like these people don't care about their friends/partners if they push them away, they are usually just not aware of their underlying trauma or if they are aware they find it hard to change their behavior.
How to avoid pushing people away?
Identifying your defense mechanisms is the first step to avoid it. Give yourself enough time to heal and observe your behavior. Understand and be self-aware about why you have been running away or avoiding people in particular situations. When you desire an intimate relationship with someone, take things slow, at the pace you’re comfortable in. Talk about your feelings and fears with your partner/friend. Share your experiences while also respecting their boundaries. Don't force yourself to connect with everyone, having 2-3 close friends rather than a big group is perfectly normal too! Try therapy, if you think you cannot identify your problems and need help. Lastly, trust the process and let it slowly evolve, good things always take time.
A WORD FROM SOCIALLY SOULEDIdentifying your unhealthy defense mechanisms and trying to change it could be an overwhelming process, so be kind to yourself. Do not beat yourself up if you can not change it in a snap. Trying to change is a huge step and you should be proud of yourself for coming this far.