Why Do I Feel Stuck?

We often ask ourselves why we feel stuck around certain issues in our lives. Maybe we feel stuck in because we are in an unhealthy relationship. Maybe we feel stuck in depression or anxiety and can’t seem to pull ourselves out of it. Or, maybe we feel stuck at a job we don’t like, but don’t know what to do. Much of feeling stuck, from an internal perspective, is understanding those barriers that keep us locked in our usual thoughts and feelings.

Emotional Defenses

Barriers might just as well be described at defenses. Those mechanisms that we use to help keep away anxiety, or what I called in an earlier blog post “internal fear.” These defense mechanisms help us cope with external reality; the stress and pressures of our everyday life and our ways of coping with them.

Defenses can be employed on a tactical basis (switching the conversation, not making eye contact, weepiness, etc.) or on a more formal basis (intellectualization, projection, denial). Without going into too much detail on the different types of defenses, it’s important to understand that defenses are what keep us stuck. This is often most vivid in marriages.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say a couple requests a Tulsa marriage counseling appointment seeking help with their communication. They have been arguing frequently and can’t seem to get along. Once we dig into the details, we come to understand that there are certain subjects that are no longer safe to discuss—in part because of the emotions that surround the subject. One of the spouses tries to express her thoughts and feelings, and then the other spouse feels blamed and responds defensively which, in turn, causes the first spouse to also respond defensively. And around and around we go.

Understanding Our Defenses

It’s very difficult to understand our own defenses. We aren’t built to be able to objectively view ourselves in this way. As a result, it’s helpful to have someone else—someone that we trust—to help us understand our defenses. Therefore, we are faced with a choice; we can turn against our defenses, or we can ignore them. True change occurs when we have the courage to let go of our defenses and willingly walk into the fire of that which we fear the most. We run the risk of getting burned, but the growth to our emotional life is immeasurable.

Many times, the first step to change is realizing that if you were going to let go of your defenses on your own, there’s a good chance you would have done it by now. Inviting an experienced licensed therapist in Tulsa to help you identify the defenses that are making you feel stuck, and steer you towards the path to emotional freedom and health. To get started, simply request a Tulsa counseling appointment online or call Stonebridge Family Therapy at 918-398-7678.

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