Of love and defense mechanisms

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By May Anne Cacdac

The Iron Maiden

Thursday, February 13, 2014


FEBRUARY is the time of year when our emails get flooded with contributions on love. Mostly college students dishing out advices on relationships. And trying to convince readers (but more like trying to convince themselves) about their fragile beliefs on love.

Did I ever mention I majored in Psychology? Well, I did. And so while I read/misread all these contributions from our young writers, I recall college and early adulthood as a series of defense mechanisms after the other.

Denial. This is when you tell your friends, “Guys, break na kami ni Steve.” And they go, “Huuuuuwat?!? Hoooow mahay gahad! Har you howkei?!?”

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And you say, “Oo naman! Ano ba?!? I’m okay.” And they insist, “Har you sure?!? Ilabas mo lang ang sama ng loob mo. Iiyak mo lang yan. We’re here for you.” And then you insist, “I’m okay!”

Meanwhile, you compile a break up playlist on your phone composed of the cheesiest love songs ever known to man. One song after the other, you are reduced to tears you actually give our Pinoy soap operas a run for their money.

So let me give it to you. Having Air Supply’s “I’m all out of love” constantly on repeat is not okay. In other words, YOU ARE NOT OKAY!
Then again, denial is the most commonly used defense mechanism. So I guess we’re kampi on this one.

But seriously, ditch the playlist.

Rationalization. This is when you tell yourself, “I knew he was such a loser all along,” after Steve dumps you. For no apparent reason. And then you tell yourself and your friends, “I’m okay”. And then you go back to the playlist I just told you to ditch.

This is the second most common defense mechanism. So you still got me on your side on this one. But ONE LOSER AFTER THE OTHER IS NOT OKAY. And having Barry Manilow’s “Somewhere down the road” constantly on repeat is not okay.

So seriously, ditch the playlist NOW!

Compensation. This is when you go out and shop all you want after the painful break up with Steve. You may not know how to spot a loser but you sure hell know the colors of this season and you know just the spot to go to for uber fabulous bargain finds.

“Guys, ano ba? I’m okay. Seriously. He was such a loser all along. But look, I spotted this in Zara on 70 percent sale! O di ba ang ganda?”
I love shoes (classic Maan) so I am with you on this one.
And then you go back to the playlist. Still proof that YOU ARE NOT OKAY. Having David Pomeranz’ “Trying to get the feeling again” IS NOT OKAY!
Now, ditch that &^$%&#@% playlist!

Displacement. Redirecting your thoughts, feelings and impulses directed at Steve but taken out upon another person. Say Danny. “Guys, I’m okay. Steve is a loser. Oh look, another dress from Zara, still on 70 percent sale. You think Danny will like this?”

Your friends look at you in disbelief and are pretty sure you’ve already lost your mind. It’s only been 2 weeks since you broke up with Steve, by the way.

Meantime, your break up playlist keeps getting longer.
And yes, having Rex Smith’s “Without You” constantly on repeat IS NOT OKAY.

I tell you that playlist is doing you more harm than good!
Projection. So you go out on a date with Danny. You realize he’s no Steve. And then your friends confront you.

“You’re not okay,” they say. “But I am!” you insist. “I’m okay. I’m over Steve. But Danny is clearly not the guy for me. He’s got commitment issues. And he’s clearly not over his ex yet,” you add.

Your friends look at you once again in disbelief. Baffled to hear Danny has an ex when they know he doesn’t.
Back to your playlist.

Sadly again, having Luther Vandross’ “I’d rather” constantly on repeat is the most pathetic proof that YOU ARE NOT OKAY.

And then guess what? You’re back where you started. In denial.
‘Tis the circle of life.

However, I would like to set the record straight, I am not jaded.
I’m in a good place. It took a lot of heartbreaks but I think the ride, bumpy as it may have been, was hella worth it. We have lessons to learn, some more difficult than the others. And trust me, YOU WILL BE OKAY.
And also I never took to the songs mentioned. But I have had my share of gag-inducing tunes.

I believe someone will make sure I never revert to those songs. So what’s playing right now? It’s Osbourne’s “Black Rain” album from here on.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 14, 2014.

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