In the early years of my life, I was often overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions, and all my attempts to resist or fight these feelings were to no avail. Further study showed that the secret was in the little things I did, from a simple argument to a heated one; they all influence us emotionally.

It is one thing to know the problem, and it is another thing to seek a lasting solution; in this case, the answer was Psychological defence.

Through learning and implementing psychological self-defence techniques, I regained trust in my own mind and found solace in my inner peace. Here are some ways that I found helpful, I hope they can help you on your journey.


The Idea of Psychological Self-Defense

Psychological self-defence is the practice of protecting yourself from psychological harm or manipulation. It is used to fortify the mind and heart, mental and emotional well-being, and everything that constitutes your inner being.

Psychological self-defence is just as necessary as physical self-defence, especially in our world where the rate of negative information is rapid.

The way to protect your mind differs from the way to protect the body, mainly because there are many outward indicators of physical harm but little to none for psychological damage. More often than not, the mind conceals pain and hurt, and while it appears nothing happened, we are often leaving lasting effects that can rear our heads at a later date.

Our minds and hearts regulate our bodies. Therefore fortifying them can be more important than protecting our bodies.

A key aspect of psychological self-defence is recognising negative thought patterns. These thought patterns include self-doubt, negative self-talk, or dwelling on negative past experiences. By becoming conscious of these thought patterns, you can protect yourself from their adverse effects on your mental health.

An essential aspect of psychological self-defence is recognising when emotional manipulation occurs from others or the environment. Emotional manipulation can take many forms, including gaslighting, guilt-tripping or emotional blackmail. Being aware of these tactics and learning how to communicate effectively and set boundaries will go a long way in helping you protect yourself from manipulation.

What is Psychological Manipulation

Your Psychological self defense is at risk of being broken down by various forms known as Psychological manipulation, unless of course, if you do something about it. The first step will be to know the various forms of this manipulation.   These tactics are targeted at changing your behaviour using deceptive and indirect means, they include;

  •  Emotional Blackmail

This is a form of manipulation in which an external party tries to control you using emotions. One way of using emotional blackmail is by manipulating your feelings of love, loyalty, or commitment. It builds on fear, obligation, or guilt (FOG). FOG employs these three basic steps:

  • Fear of disagreeing with someone
  • The responsibility or duty to give them their way, and
  • Guilt if they refuse.

Emotional blackmail is effective because it relies on your emotions and desires to protect those you love. It can appear in unhealthy relationships, where one person controls the other. A common sign of this manipulation is the inability of the manipulated person in the relationship to speak up. Often, having a perspective outside of the relationship can help to provide context and shed some light on the manipulation. Working with a trained professional can start this process off and help you to retrace your steps and regain control.

  • Passive Aggressiveness

This is a combination of deception and aggression. It can appear in various ways, such as procrastination, forgetfulness, or even purposely failing to complete a task, but may have more intentional underpinnings  

Primarily passive-aggressive individuals engage in behaviours designed to sabotage the efforts of others. This aggressiveness is not directly expressed but is camouflaged under a seemingly harmless cover of helpfulness, selfless generosity, and niceness. It is often induced by a desire to avoid confrontation.

  • Attacks on Identity

This generally refers to all attempts to undermine your sense of self or personal identity. You can experience this through any of the following methods.

  • Verbal abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Belittling
  • Name-calling

Attacks on identity are a potent psychological tactic because they are aimed at the centre of your identity and can affect your self-worth and self-esteem. 

  • Gaslighting

This tactic involves manipulating an individual into questioning their perceptions and memories. It can be regarded as a form of emotional abuse and is often used by narcissists to control others.

One of the ways gaslighting can be done by a person is by denying that certain events or conversations have ever happened. They’d insist you are mistaken, confused or even lying, regardless of the evidence presented. Over time, this leads to confusion, loss of self-esteem, and self-doubt. In severe cases, it can lead to questioning one’s sanity and mental or emotional stability. 

Another main way of gaslighting is by manipulating the person’s environment in little ways and denying that any change took place. For example, a manipulator can switch the position of an item in a room and insist it was never moved, despite you being 100% certain that it was. 

Gaslighting makes it difficult for a person to differentiate what is real from what is not, and this hampers their mental health. Non-stop gaslighting over time can weaken a person psychologically, which is why having perspective or the resources to access a point of view not engaged in the relationship can be an outlet or way to regain awareness and confidence in your own mental wellness. A trained professional can be one of those outlets or ways.

Dangers of Neglecting Psychological Self-Defense

When you allow subtle psychological attacks to intensify into complex attacks and leave them unchecked over time, the consequences can be severe. The worst-case scenario is self-rejection, which is the opposite of having a self-fulfilled independent life. Other consequences include anxiety, depression and even mental health disorders.

This dynamic of self can also be described as “self-abdication.” Just as a king or queen can abdicate a throne, a person can abdicate themselves. When you find yourself fending off constant negative messages from society or internalising the expectations and norms imposed on you by others, you risk losing touch with your true self. This is a common path to low self-esteem, depression, and a lack of direction and purpose in life. 

Thus, self-care involves protecting yourself by setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, addressing and processing past traumas, and developing positive coping mechanisms.  Additionally, taking care of your physical well-being and seeking professional help when needed is essential. By taking these steps, you can build a strong foundation of psychological self-defence that will help you navigate life’s challenges with confidence and resilience.

Ten things to remember about fortifying yourself psychologically

Since you have read up to this part, it means you are passionate about improving your mental health. Building psychological self-defence is essential for maintaining good mental health because it helps you handle difficult situations with better resilience.

In this section, I will share critical tools for psychologically fortifying yourself. These tools include;

  • Resilience

This is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adapt quickly to changes. It involves developing the emotional strength to cope with all forms of stress healthily. You can develop these skills through different practices such as goal setting, regular physical exercise and building supportive relationships. 

  • Mindfulness

This is the ability to stay focused on present happenings regardless of the distractions that may come your way. This is very helpful in reducing stress and improving your awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It gives you control over difficult situations and helps you to monitor your thoughts and feelings without being overwhelmed. It is an excellent tool in psychological self-defence and can be practised through techniques such as meditation, yoga, and even mindful breathing

  • Self-compassion

This is the ability to show kindness and understanding towards yourself in the face of difficulty. It is easy, or even desirable, for some to go hard on themselves to pursue their goals. However, you must understand that boundaries apply to everyone and treat yourself with compassion and understanding. 

Self-compassion helps you to acknowledge your faults and weaknesses. This ability is at the centre of psychological self-defence and is associated with improved mental health conditions. You can practise it through mindfulness and addressing patterns of self-talk and self-criticism.

Knowing the tools for psychological self-defence, the next best thing is the steps necessary to fortify yourself psychologically;

  • Practice self-care

Practising self-care is crucial in fortifying yourself psychologically, as it involves proactively and intentionally taking care of your physical and emotional well-being. Self-care can involve a wide range of activities, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and finding ways to relax and de-stress. 

It can also involve setting aside time for activities that bring you joy and fulfilment, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones. Self-care is essential because it helps you to maintain your mental and emotional health and to build resilience in the face of challenges and stress. 

  • Set Boundaries

Boundaries can be physical, emotional, or mental, and they help to protect your personal space, time, and well-being. Setting boundaries allows you to take control of your life and choose how you want to spend your time and energy.

Establishing boundaries can be challenging, as it may involve confronting people or situations you find difficult or uncomfortable. However, it is an essential skill to have to maintain your mental and emotional health and to avoid feeling burnt out or overwhelmed. 

When you set boundaries, you essentially say “no” to things that do not align with your values or goals and “yes” to things that nourish and support you.

  • Cultivate a growth mindset.

Cultivating a growth mindset involves believing that you can learn and grow through your experiences rather than seeing yourself as fixed or limited in your abilities. This approach to learning and growth is characterised by a willingness to take on challenges and to view failures as opportunities to learn and improve rather than as permanent setbacks.

There are several ways you can cultivate a growth mindset

  • Practice gratitude
  • Embrace challenges
  • Learn from setbacks
  • Seek feedback
  • Seek support when needed

Seeking support when needed is an essential step in fortifying yourself psychologically. It’s normal to need help and guidance from time to time, and seeking support can be an essential way to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

Here are a few ways in which seeking support can help you fortify yourself psychologically:

  • It provides a sense of connection
  • Increase feelings of empowerment
  • Improves coping skills

It’s important to remember that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Many different types of support are available, including support from friends and loved ones, support groups, and professional help from a mental health professional. It is okay to reach out for help when needed; doing so can be an essential step in psychologically fortifying yourself.

  • Engage in meaningful activities.

Engaging in meaningful activities is an essential step in fortifying yourself psychologically. Meaningful activities are personally fulfilling and bring you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Engaging in such activities can contribute to your overall sense of well-being and can help you feel more satisfied and fulfilled in life.

Here are a few ways in which engaging in meaningful activities can help you fortify yourself psychologically:

  • Provides a sense of purpose and direction
  • Increases feelings of accomplishment
  • Increases feelings of happiness and satisfaction
  • Improves social connections
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

It’s essential to find activities that are personally meaningful to you and to set aside time to engage in them regularly. This can help you fortify yourself psychologically and improve your overall well-being.


In conclusion, fortifying yourself psychologically involves improving your mental and emotional well-being. It’s important to remember that strengthening yourself psychologically is an ongoing process, and seeking support and guidance is okay. Thank you for sticking through to the end.