top of page

How Defense Mechanisms Perpetuate Heartbreak

The brain is wired to avoid pain, and as such, your defense mechanisms are some of the most insidious programs that can negatively impact your relationships.  These are programs that protect us from getting hurt. There are three types of defense mechanisms that women use in relating to men.

First is the Man Hater. These women use hostility towards men to protect themselves. They use blanket statements like, “All men cheat,” “Chivalry is dead,” “Men are pigs,” “There are no good men out there.” They are often emotionally shut down and distrustful of men. Their cynicism towards men and romance in general pushes away would-be suitors both literally and energetically. Failing to recognize their own part in their circumstances, they continue to blame men for the woes of their life. Generally, women who have just gone through a bitter divorce or breakup find themselves here at one point or another. Out of balance water and metal element women are most likely to fall into this trap.

Second is the Man Eater. Her defense mechanism leads her to falsely believe that women are superior to men. She tends to be promiscuous, taking lovers as it pleases her. “Boy Toy” would be one of her coined phrases. Think of Samantha in Sex and City. Her outwardly confident and domineering attitude is her way of protecting herself. In some cases, she confuses lust and passion for intimacy. She tends to jump right into bed without allowing a deeper relationship to develop. As times passes and her desire for some level of commitment emerges, she will either run from these feelings and end the relationship or wonder why her lover does not want to commit, when it was her who set up the stage that way.

My client Maria was a Man Eater, unbeknownst to herself. She constantly found herself in many hot, steamy romantic dalliances that didn’t go anywhere. She didn’t understand why she continued to attract unavailable men until she became aware of her subconscious belief: “Men are toys.” Once she was able to release this belief, within months she met a man who became her husband. Out of balance fire and wood women are most likely to fall into this category.

The third type is the Man Server. These women bend over backwards to please their partners. Think of a teenage girl who relents to having sex just to keep the boy she is interested in. She uses being nice and accommodating as a defense mechanism to avoid confrontation and potential rejection. Guilt and subtle manipulation is her weapon of choice. She has beliefs like, “I have to be a good girl to be lovable.” She may even feel that women are inferior to men. Women who come from patriarchal cultures often carry this belief. Out of balance earth and air element women are most likely to be in this category.

Do you recognize these defense mechanisms in yourself? Some are resigned to living with this undesirable protective behaviors no matter the cost, because they feel they have too much to lose or are too afraid to see what life without them would be like.  For others, despite their desire to rid of these barriers they just don’t know how.  Awareness of your own patterns is the first step to creating a shift.


bottom of page