The Choice of Defense Systems (Adolescence)
"It is during this transition that the personality chooses for better or for worse the primary and secondary defense systems that it will use during the course of the rest of this incarnation. These defenses are based on real-life experiences that have occurredsince birth and usually have to do with the family of origin in some capacity but also with interactions with those outside the sphere of the home. The seven core fears are those ofinadequacy, loss of control, worthlessness, change, loss, vulnerability, and missing out, two of which are usually chosen sometime during this transition with the primary occurring at the onset. External events can serve as the trigger: An illness prevents Susana from attending her first dance (disappointment); Mark is not allowed to pursue his dream of becoming a dancer due to familial expectations (worthlessness, loss); or Michaela’s mother dies during her freshman year in high school (loss, vulnerability). After these defenses are chosen, they become the core of what is called the False Self and when they are in control, it is very difficult to access the True Nature which is based love rather than fear. Under times of duress these defenses become very active, but also function as an undercurrent throughout life, much of the time remaining nearly invisible but still controlling the perceptions of the individual.
It is not uncommon for life to “heat up” for the six to twelve months prior to the onset of the third transition so in realty it doesn’t begin suddenly but is the culmination of a chain of events resulting in the choice of the primary defenses. To the external eye, it may appear that a teenager who has been doing well in school rather dramatically starts failing classes, spending more time with his or her peer group oftentimes to the consternation of the parents, and begins to identify with the chosen sub-culture: Goths, skaters, achievers, cheerleaders, usually in stark contrast to the family picture. Acts of rebellion are typical during this stage and can be especially challenging if the teen is young, that is between the ages of twelve and fifteen, and it is not unusual for relationships with parental and other authority figures to become contentious and conflict laden at this time. Some push the envelope a little, some a lot, and some every now and then with many factors influencing how this transition unfolds."
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