Sometimes he looked at her and thought, Gosh, I wonder what's underneath all that anger, all that hard glossy armor? Maybe there's just an innocent, wounded little girl in there who wants to come out and play and be loved and get happy. But now he wondered if maybe that little girl was long gone, or if she'd ever been there at all. What was under all that armor, all that anger? More anger, and more armor. Anger and armor, all the way down.
The piece I most love wearing is Mother's gold brocade cocktail dress with matching jacket... It's 'flip and flirty,' as my mother prescribed. It's crisp yet splendid. It makes me feel I've put on made-to-order armor. My mother's armor. Armor that helped shield me from exclusion. Armor that helped shield me from inferiority.
So just look into your acts, into your thoughts, into your feelings: you will find the armor everywhere. Wherever you see fear, you have created it. It was needed at one time - now it is no longer needed. A simple understanding that it is no longer needed... now it is a barrier, a hindrance, a burden. If you find something truthful, it will have its own validity. But in the armor you will not find anything that has any connection with truth. The whole armor is made of fear - layers and layers of fear.
There's a lot of black men running around with crazy trauma scars, and they should be going to therapy. They should be sitting down and talking to people. But they can't. If you've got the armor of being a man, and the armor of being a black man, that hyper-masculine thing can make those scars deeper.
Wilhelm Reich identified "armor" as the sum total of typical character attitudes, which an individual develops as a blocking against his emotional excitations, resulting in rigidity of the body, lack of emotional contact, "deadness". Functionally identical to muscular armor (chronic muscular spasms)
In the history of the world the prize has not gone to those species which specialized in methods of violence, or even in defensive armor. In fact, nature began with producing animals encased in hard shells for defense against the ill of life. But smaller animals, without external armor, warm-blooded, sensitive, alert, have cleared those monsters off the face of the earth.
Alfred North Whitehead
One of my great memories of John is from when we were having some argument. I was disagreeing and we were calling each other names. We let it settle for a second and then he lowered his glasses and he said: "It's only me." And then he put his glasses back on again. To me, that was John. Those were the moments when I actually saw him without the facade, the armor, which I loved as well, like anyone else. It was a beautiful suit of armor. But it was wonderful when he let the visor down and you'd just see the John Lennon that he was frightened to reveal to the world.
I have seen human beings who have forged "intellectual" armor to shield themselves from adversity. They seemed stronger than most. They said, "I couldn't care less, " and laughed at everything, but when adversity managed to pierce their armor, it caused terrible damage. I have seen human beings suffer from the slightest adversity, the slightest annoyance, but still remain open-minded and sensitive to everything, learning something from each attack.
He believed that all people existed behind varying layers of armor which, like the archaeological layers of earth itself, reflected the historical events and turbulence of a lifetime. An individual's armor that had been developed to resist pain and rejection might also block a capacity for pleasure and achievement, and feelings too deeply trapped might be released only by acts of self-destruction or harm to others. Reich was convinced that sexual deprivation and frustration motivated much of the world's chaos and warfare.
While the bodies of young children are usually relaxed and flexible, if experiences of fear are continuous over the years, chronic tightening happens. Our shoulders may become permanently knotted and raised, our head thrust forward, our back hunched, our chest sunken. Rather than a temporary reaction to danger, we develop a permanent suit of armor. We become, as Chogyam Trungpa puts it, 'a bundle of tense muscles defending our existence.' We often don't even recognize this armor because it feels like such a familiar part of who we are. But we can see it in others. And when we are meditating, we can feel it in ourselves-the tightness, the areas where we feel nothing.