As children we develop ways of coping with difficult situations and feelings. These coping styles become character traits and they are expressed both in the body as body armor and in the psyche as character armor. Character armor is seen in our attitudes, thoughts and behaviors and they are mirrored in the body as body armor, or chronic holding, restricted breathing or muscular tension. This armor most often develops as children as a way to cope with difficulties and they continue as habits or patterns into adulthood. As adults these same patterns or coping styles get in the way of our living full and expressive lives. Our individual coping styles or defenses create energetic blocks and affects our ability to feel conflict and emotional pain. As we continue to live defensively, our work lives and relationships are impacted, our capacity to love may be altered, we do not have the flexibility in our emotions and feelings that we need to live fully and often pain and disease are the result.
Through the process of learning about our individual character traits we can begin to see how we learned to function in the world. By understanding our character style we can understand the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that stop us from expressing our authentic healthy selves and what it is that interferes with our well-being. This understanding which over time eliminates the armor and decreases the defenses, is done through talk therapy, physical interventions and the ongoing work at home to make the changes necessary to get well. As we examine every aspect of our lives and engage in this process, our self-knowledge, compassion and empathy grows for ourselves and others and we can begin to live our lives more fully.