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Developing Strength in the Face of Fear

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Sometimes years back, I used to have a friend whom we used to share different ideas and thoughts in our day-to-day life. Interestingly, I started noticing that she reacts in a very strange manner especially when we talk about people of the opposite sex. Other times she used to be absent-minded. While talking to her, I started being too keen on her more so to the things she dislikes most. I even started inquiring and asking her more about her questionable character, but I discovered that the closer I become to her, the more she went deeper and deeper hiding it and so at first I felt like giving up.

Since to me, she was not just a friend but also a friend indeed, I had a second thought of persisting until she will open her heart and talk to me. It was not an easy job to me because she even started avoiding and I remember her final sentiment to me was to stop insisting it is too personal and confidential. Yes to some extent, I agreed, but I still felt that I could be very useful to her.

I continued to share different talks with her so as to strengthen the trust she had to me. Five months down the line, she paid a visit to me one evening. We chatted until midnight, and before we ended, I pleaded her to tell me. She was too shy and in deep pain that she faced the opposite direction and narrated the whole story. Full of shock and sympathy to realize that his or her herd boy sexually abused when she was ten years old, and he threatened her not to mention to anyone.

She mentioned to me that her life has been full of nightmares and even though she tries to forget, sometimes those memories come fresh. I made several attempts guiding and counseling in my bid help her erase the unwanted memories out of her life. This was not a one-day event but a gradual change, which required patience. Finally and this kind of defensive mechanism is called repression. In short, different people develop different defensive mechanisms depending on the kind of anxiety he/she is confronted.

A certain number of these mechanisms occurs unconsciously while others consciously.

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