How To Help Someone Stuck In Defense Mode

Asperger’s is pretty darn synonymous with shutdown, meltdowns, and retreating into one’s self. When I figured out why this was happening to me, it changed everything. Literally.

I went from having panic attacks, huge amounts of anxiety, weeks of depression and generally an unpleasant time…. To being happy, relaxed and enjoying life. I was finally able to stop defending and let down my guard. It was the singular greatest discovery of my life.

We call it “Defense Mode”. It’s a state where you walk around in near 24/7 fight & flight, scared of pretty much everything, always retreated, and constantly trying to defend (hence the name).

When you are in Defense Mode, most of the time you get a monotone voice, tunnel vision, sticky/obsessive thoughts, and to the outside world it looks like you are heavily retreated into yourself. Because, well, you are.

80% of your daily energy is spent on defending, building up walls & barriers and fighting the outside world. Thus you only have 20% of your energy for all the daily tasks to do.

So a lot gets dropped. When I was in Defense Mode, I was in my room a lot of the time, playing video games and being in my own world. It sucks. A lot. For everyone.

But it doesn’t need to be at maximum suckiness all of the time. Here are 3 things you can do to help it suck less.

But first, take a deep breath and feel your body. You are here. You are capable. You are whole. We believe in you.

#1 – Deep Listening

This means not talking (or thinking about what you are going to say) and simply listening to the other person. Connect with them. Validate them. Empathize with them. But don’t try to FIX.

Thich Naht Hanh and Oprah do a really good job explaining this.

#2 – Understand Defense Mode

Knowing what to expect, what to be worried about, and what to ignore is paramount if you are to engage in this work. I’ve seen it literally THOUSANDS of times when people come to us with a problem, only for us to say that the “problem” is a completely normal part of getting out of Defense Mode.

Speaking of which, if you’d like me to show you exactly what to expect, how Defense Mode works, and how to help someone get out of Defense Mode, join me for an upcoming webinar on getting “Out of Defense Mode”.

You can register for the webinar here (I’ll even send you a technique that we normally only teach to people who attend our DIDM Live workshop as soon as you register).

#3 – Build Trust

Trust is built through interaction that is: Recurring, Intimate, Positive & Non-Threatening.

You’ll need all 4 elements in there to make it work. The more that you engage in interaction with whoever or whatever you are attempting to build trust with (a person, your feelings, an environment), and the more you have ALL 4 of those ingredients in said interaction, the quicker you will build trust.

If you would like more information about Defense Mode, I highly recommend you sign up for our Defense Mode webinar, or purchase our Deep Into Defense Mode course.

Want to learn more about Defense Mode?

Register for a free online class, “Out Of Defense Mode: Safe & Secure In The World”
Click here to register

2 thoughts on “How To Help Someone Stuck In Defense Mode

  1. Yes. THIS.
    As I observe people who interact well with my son and those who don’t, I’m not at all surprised by the response they receive from him. I repeatedly ask people to be patient, express understanding, give supportive encouragement with tiny steps…

    It’s typical for people to respond better to a “I’m here for you. How can I help?” demeanor than a demanding, “Hurry up! Get this done!! Let’s go!” This is exponentially more a foundational truth for those with Asperger’s.

    Thank you for the clarity of your communication!

  2. Child pertection needs this training.Rather than remove kids from their family.Instead of helping families with autistic children .Child pertection takes these kids away from family security and place rhem with strangerd.Where some sre mentally,physically,and socially abused.


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