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I was reading a book called the Psychology of Executive Coaching by Bruce Pelletier and I found these methods, and I have to say, WOW.  These are mindblowing insights into how our nonprofit workplaces can get so dysfunctional. This is how we lie -even to ourselves

In other words, this is how people avoid talking about the problem, whether at work or at home.

Come to the Fundraising Career Conference and learn how to overcome these mechanisms for avoiding the problem!

Want to listen to an interview I did about the 20 Adaptive Defense Mechanisms? Just go here and learn how you avoid dealing with your problems!

Check out this interview on KBOO Bread & Roses, the longest feminist running radio show in the USA, on KBOO Community Radio with Della Rae

Adaptive defense mechanisms

1. Humor– OK I do this one a lot! AND actually, upon reflection, to excess in some cases. When I’m afraid to talk about a problem, I will make a joke about it and hope that someone will actually take the ball and run with the serious part of the discussion. But if you do this too much, then… nothing gets addressed and nothing gets resolved. And you don’t actually deal with the problem. This is sometimes ok, but too much humor is not helpful.

2. Substitution- This is when you substitute a comfortable behavior for a threatening one. So, maybe you are good at looking for grants. That’s easier than actually learning how to do monthly giving or major gifts. SO, you just say, hey I can keep writing grants! Asking a big foundation for money? No problem. Asking someone face to face to give to my nonprofit? TOO SCARY! No thank you! But you need to learn how to do this.

3. Compensation- Do more of what you’re comfortable with instead of learning a new thing. So, you’re going to add more names to that spreadsheet instead of researching and finding and paying for a CRM for your nonprofit huh? Bummer dude.

4. Rituals- Repetition of behavior to manage anxiety

5. Identification- We identify with the organization or leader instead of ourselves.

6. Affiliation- You ask people to listen to your problems

7. Altruism- You avoid your own uncomfortable feelings by helping others (sometimes we do this, don’t we?)

8. Sublimation- Instead of feeling sad, you get angry. Or instead of getting angry, you “get busy.”

Denying behaviors

9. Denial- Simply ignoring the facts! There can be group denial as well. WE don’t have a problem! YOU are the problem, for bringing up the problem! Ever had this one?

10. Repression- Extreme denial- when certain topics cannot be discussed. For example, when you bring up that someone in your family might have autism. And a family member shuts it down with “Don’t ever say that ever again! It’s NOT TRUE!” Talk about repression, hey?

11. Isolation- Detaching feelings from behavior. Sometimes this is necessary, like when you have to fire someone. But too much isolation is bad, especially in leadership.

Defense mechanisms that twist reality

12. Rationalization- I deserve a big house! I didn’t really want that promotion anyway! OH YES YOU DID! I didn’t mean that thing I just said. YES YOU DID.

13. Intellectualization- We use intellectualization to ignore our feelings.  It’s so much easier than dealing with them.

14. Projection- Instead of “I hate him” we might say, “He hates me.” What is the real truth here? Ask, “How do you know?”

Defense Mechanisms that Cause People to Behave Strangely

15. Reaction formation- To tolerate a threatening impulse, we express the opposite. Let’s say you have a crush on someone at work- but you treat them coldly because you don’t want to think about it, or deal with it. You treat them the opposite of how you actually feel. See also homophobes who are secretly gay.

16. Help rejecting -Complaining- This one basically changed my world completely. When I read this, something shifted deep inside of me. THIS is what I’ve been dealing with in a relationship-for the last oh… 5 years? It’s apparently incredibly common. So, what happens with this? People complain and make requests for help that are not sincere.  So when they ask for help, and you give them a little help, it is never enough, and then they can blame you for their life not working out. And they can complain again. HERE’S THE KICKER: They are complaining to cover up their own feelings of inadequacy and rage. They don’t actually want you to help them. They want to be able to blame someone for their life not working out, and then they can complain some more.

17. Displacement- We yell at our kids instead of our boss. Dogkicker in other words!

18. Regression- We go back to earlier coping methods under stress

19. Conversion- This is like a displacement activity for your real feelings. Maybe you eat when you’re upset, or you yawn when you’re nervous.

20. Passive aggression- So, when you expect someone to guess why you are upset instead of telling them, that’s passive aggressive.  When you are mad at your boss so you “forget” to book their hotel room, this is passive aggression. This is a favorite one of the ladies in my family unfortunately-the ultimate example of this is called THE SILENT TREATMENT AND OMG this one made me slap my forehead and go OH NOOOOO I have done this! NOOOOO JUST THINK OK DEATH BEFORE SULKING YOU GUYS!

Since I have done a lot of these- let’s learn together about how to overcome these various expressions of avoiding talking about the problem, TOGETHER! At the Fundraising Career Conference, April 2 4 and 6 2018!

Sign up now! 

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