Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Psychoanalysts and therapists refer to “idealization” as one of the common defense mechanisms in the mind of a child. It’s used to hide, shut down, block, or numb an underlying pain or emotional response.
As a child, she responded to her father by idolizing him. She managed to put him on a pedestal despite her hurts and fear of his anger, verbal emotional abuse, and lack of attention. She pretended those bad qualities weren’t there by making his good qualities so admirable.
If only Jessica’s mother had been able to help her put her father into perspective, she could had leaned on her for support. With that, Jessica may not had felt a need to idealize and numb an existing emotional pain. Sadly, Jessica’s mother was also frightened and could not offer such respite from anxiety.
Generally, a hurting child (who later becomes a suffering adult-child if unhealed) employs more than one defense mechanism to find some sense of harmony. Unfortunately, such harmony is false because it’s at the expense of feelings that are authentic. The defenses intertwine around the personality and get carried into adult life.