CHAPTER 16: DEFENSE MECHANISMS - ADAPTIVE & MALADAPTIVE
Complaining about one’s marriage, job, family or relationship
varies from person to person. With regard to marriage, it may be
a signal to try and salvage a sick relationship. For others, it
may become a message that their marriage is over. Complaining may
also serve a chronically rigid defensive function. For instance,
there are spouses who will complain about their partner throughout
life and they will never consider repairing or ending their marriage.
Keeping the psychological focus upon one’s partner will keep
the spotlight away from the complainer. By avoiding the spotlight,
spouses adopt an immunity from having anything to do with their
marital decline. You will find a similar principle among adults
who suffer from chronic job dissatisfaction and they refuse to internalize
the psychological discipline associated with career change. Some
politicians are immune from playing a role in our social decline.
You will also find defensive complaints among individuals who demand
they be treated with respect in life. They do not want any bumps
in the road. Their defensive posturing helps them assume a lofty
position in life where they should never be betrayed. This entitled
avoidance is linked to their special immunity from having to experience
any prolonged psychological pain.
You will also find defensive complaints among those who oppose
the following foundational principles: “One nation under God”
or “We are endowed by our creator.” Defensive complainers
can also be suspicious of everyday Americans who go to church just
as Americans were suspicious of minorities in our past. Some want
to take Christ out of Christmas and others have succeeded in discontinuing
the traditional relationship that has existed between the Boy Scouts
and our military. Over meddling in the traditions of others is somewhat
like the needless opposition you find in divorce.
Judges who legislate from the bench are also defensive complainers.
They impose their personalities upon Americans without having to
follow the Constitution and rules of government. Spouses who manufacture
the needless chaos in divorce also are immune from adhering to traditional
rules or principles of decency.
These judges have passionate drives to over control others which
is a psychological motive found in cultures and nations where the
rule of law has no value. Adults who manufacture domestic violence
abhor the notion that their partner may discover their individual
liberties and unique sense of identity.
Journalism is another discipline where you will find defensive
complaints. Minor problems are exaggerated. Election results are
analyzed with snap judgments or with unfounded paranoia. At times,
you find a “doom and gloom” attitude among journalists
who defensively complain. Their personalities surpass objectivity,
fairness and curiosity found in higher order journalism. Just as
a spouse can insidiously demoralize their partner with their defensive
complaining, journalists can do the same to their consumers.
Defensive complaints say a great deal about adult maturation and
personality. One should always be suspicious when an individual
never complains in life. These individuals may be painfully shy
or they may fear being punished by a parent or partner if they do
complain about their relationship. Complaining may be the first
step associated with accepting one’s marriage is in trouble.
Or, as previously mentioned, complaining may offer an adult high
levels of protection as they insidiously diminish the personality
of their partner.
Psychological discipline means having the courage to examine how
one’s own personality contributes to their marital decline.
It also involves having the courage to examine how a partner’s
personality is shaping their marriage. Without psychological discipline,
it is much easer to go through life complaining about one’s
spouse while remaining blameless.
Maturing adults examine their complaints. This maturational examination
is adaptive in terms of linking complaints to new insights and solutions.
Adults on the verge of maturing commonly feel isolated and they
forget that finding solutions has defined human evolution in terms
of both good and evil. They also tend to forget that researchers
and military leaders are still very preoccupied with finding solutions
Finding more mature ways of doing business in a relationship will
frequently challenge its stability. While dating, some adults may
surprisingly end a relationship because they fear the mature features
of their partner’s personality. In other words, a mature partner
may challenge or threaten their questionable marital motives.
DEFENSIVE COMPLAINTS IN POLITICS
In order to understand political complaining, it is important to
remember that a percentage of divorced Republicans and Democrats
will spend the rest of their lives dealing with an angry ex-spouse
who will make their lives miserable. Domestic realities are needlessly
complicated and children may suffer the most. The same dynamic can
be found in low level political rhetoric where citizens suffer from
the self absorbed chaos that is manufactured by political leaders.
This chaos may lead to low voter turnout.
Complaining has its merits only if it is associated with honorable
change. When highly educated politicians resort to low level political
rhetoric, it is fair to assume they are either hiding their solutions
or they have none. If physicians and researchers complained without
having some link to adaptation, science would lose its evolutionary
The same principle can be found in journalism where it is common
to find defensive complaining with no adaptive solutions. You will
also find this dynamic in the work place where bully bosses drive
off good employees. Ex-spouses who are angry for a lifetime never
find adaptive solutions that will help them mature beyond their
divorce and anger. Foreign leaders who defensively complain about
the United States may be preserving their own power while stabilizing
their own social decay.
Primitive complaining may lead to anger and may later escalate
to apathetic rage. You find apathetic rage in domestic violence,
terrorism, low level political rhetoric and biased journalism. With
apathetic rage, individuals have no regard for the long term consequences
of their self absorbed motives.