In her new agony aunt-style column, Leslie Cannold (SHS 1983) doesn't offer both sides of an argument. She lays her professional opinion on the line without fear or favour. Leslie Cannold has had enough of being even-handed and presenting Both Sides Now. She wants to cut to the chase: what’s the way to go? In her new column, Dr Cannold brings her ethical training to everyday dilemmas. Send your questions to [email protected] with “Dear Leslie” in the subject line. She might even reply…
Yes, your friend could be compartmentalising which, for the uninitiated, is when a person suppresses certain thoughts and emotions so they can get on with work or carry on with a relationship, or both.
While suppressing emotions may sound bad, compartmentalisation can be a useful, even essential, coping tool. When, for instance, a beloved spouse dies but with three small kids to care for the grieving wife compartmentalises her grief so she can function. Or when a doctor compartmentalises “patients” into a category of human towards which no sexual thoughts or feelings are allowed.
Your friend’s significant other may be compartmentalising, too. In fact, one of the most common uses of this psychological defence mechanism is to allow a person engaging in deviant behaviour — like workplace sexual harassment and bullying — to maintain his view of himself and reputation as a “nice guy”.
Read more here