Defending yourself is to defend against the superego, whether it is external or internal. The purpose of the superego is to preserve the ego's point of view. The superego ultimately stops you from seeing reality. Defending yourself is one method you use to help you look at things objectively and without fear. When you start learning how to defend yourself against the superego you can't help but think in terms of having a self to defend. Ultimately what is actually defended is the openness, the understanding and the awareness. In time, we learn that understanding and awareness are the best defenses. When the awareness is complete, there is nothing to defend.
Diamond Heart Book II, p. 146
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There is another, more fundamental, reason why individuals usually revert to negative object relations, and especially negative merging, in order to defend against experiences of separation and individuation. To understand this reason we need to know specifically the nature of the primitive affect that characterizes negative merging. It has in it all the negative affects: anger, rage, hatred, pain, fear, anxiety and so on. But there is a specific affect that is always present, which characterizes negative merging and is independent from the other painful emotional states. This is the basic painful affect in the symbiotic phase, the feeling of frustration when the child's needs are not met adequately and immediately.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 253
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