Most people try discontinuing protective behaviors because they know they're not the "right thing" to do.
This level of thinking misses the entire point of transformation!
Maintaining the POV that protective behaviors are "bad" simply displays a lack of understanding of why they exist and what role they are serving.
They're a cover-up!
They're there to repress unprocessed emotions from painful, ill-defining experiences.
Unless and until you deal with them, allow some space for them to exist.
Even if you find a constructive alternative to your protective behavior, it's still not the same as dealing with it.
How do I deal with it?
For starters, feel your feelings!
Sit in a still, silent space and allow any thought, emotion, sensation, grudge, or insecurity to surface without judging it, labeling it, or negating it.
Remain steadfast and just breathe.
Do not reject or engage the experience in any way, shape, or form.
As you fully surrender to it, as many times as is necessary, you'll come into contact with a more content, stable, and settled version of yourself.
That self, your True Self, doesn't struggle with the protective behaviors that your false self does.
And there, there you'll find freedom!
"Whatever you resist, you become. If you resist anger, you are always angry. If you resist sadness, you are always sad. If you resist suffering, you are always suffering. If you resist confusion, you are always confused. We think we resist certain states because they are there, but they are actually there because we resist them." Adyashanti