Pushing away defense mechanisms serve the immediate purpose of keeping us safe. However, it doesn’t keep us safe for long. It’s ultimately a way to not be vulnerable. We need to be vulnerable though in order to build real intimacy. If we continue to have a wall up others will sense it and eventually grow tired of trying to penetrate that wall.
The level at which we push away is dependent upon the amount of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect we experience from day 1 of life. Every interaction with our primary caretaker is crucial. Even if the messages are subtle, we absorb them into our unconscious and we see them play out later in life. This is the reason for the “inexplicable” self sabotage we see so often in society.