CBT Certificate Program / Clinical Skills / Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Defense-drivenness: What is it about those individuals, who come across as uncaring, indifferent, or unconcerned? To them, life is all about making requests, commanding, demanding, giving orders, dictating, giving ultimatums, without ever being flexible, without understanding that life is not about winning 100% of the time, much less, at the cost of others. These individuals are usually easy to spot.  They have to shine above the rest, at all costs, are all about “respect,” defending themselves, or “pride.” They tend to hold others in contempt, or disdain, especially when they perceive them to not be at their “level,” to be “weak,” or to not “have what it takes.” These individuals are at the degree of consciousness known as Defense-Driveness, and they go through life through the process of pretentiousness, pomposity, arrogance[1], and cockiness.

While individuals at this degree of consciousness, may, in fact, have something to show for it, this “showing,” is often a “cover-up,” and an attempt to “make up,” for many of the characteristics predominant at the lower degrees of consciousness. For individuals to get to the degree of consciousness of Defense-Driveness, they must have gotten to the point of wanting, which means, they have been able to compensate [2] for all the characteristics of the lower degrees of consciousness that would have prevented them from wanting or achieving. Individuals, at the degree of Defense-Driveness, not only have wanting, but have also achieved many of them, which has helped raise their self-esteem. However, this rise in self-esteem is all dependent on external accomplishments, which means while the outside may “look good,” the inside is still “empty,” “weak,” “vulnerable,” and has to be hidden. These individuals often experience what we call, the Impostor Syndrome and work tirelessly not to be “found out.” They create a barrier, or armor, defending themselves at all costs, at the slightest perceived sign that they may be under attack. All this is because they fail to understand that they are simply projecting their hidden sense of inadequacy. This explains why they come across as being presumptuous, cocky, and arrogant. Despite all that they may have accomplished, they still never feel enough [3]. They are, therefore, often afraid of losing, of regressing, and react to perceived threats by being hostile, angry, and vengeful. Needless to say, that because these individuals are functioning totally based on defenses, it is rare for them to grow beyond protecting themselves from downfall. The solution is for them to know that there is something “better than this.”

In this vein, only through a shift in perception, belief, or understanding will individuals at this degree of consciousness know peace, love, joy, authentic happiness and authentic success. They will know real freedom, and fulfillment, by shifting away from the illusion that their level of happiness will be proportional to their level of accomplishments [4]. They need to cease to falsely believe that their self-esteem is related to their external success, that their self-image is associated with what they have or do, or that their sense of self is directly proportional to how many honors they have gathered. While this may seem to be a daunting task, this is the only way those at this degree of understanding will ever be really fulfilled and know authentic happiness and authentic success. This is True for all individuals who operate at all the other degrees of consciousness, previously mentioned.

[1] Krauss-Whitbourne, Susan Krauss. “4 Signs That Someone Is Insecure.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 17 Nov. 2015,

[2] Cherry, Kendra. “Why People Use Compensation as a Defense Mechanism.” Verywell Mind, 7 May 2020,

[3] Lyubomirsky, Sonja. “7 Myths About Happiness We Need to Stop Believing.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 9 Mar. 2013,

[4] Taylor, Steve. “The Problem with Wanting.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 28 July 2015,