Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Psychologists have categorized defense mechanisms based upon how primitive they are.
The question is—can you detect the form of deception that you, your friends, colleagues, and family are using at any given moment? First, it was a Freud, but not Sigmund, who defined the defense mechanisms.
Anna Freud defined in detail the defense mechanisms sketched out by her father in her book, "The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense. They also protect you from the anxiety of confronting your weaknesses and foibles.
You can now add these two points to the 25 surprising facts about psychology I wrote about in an earlier post. You can consider this the "generic" defense mechanism because it underlies many of the others. When you use denial, you simply refuse to accept the truth or reality of a fact or experience.
Denial may also be used by victims of trauma or disasters Defence mechanisms may even be a beneficial initial protective response. In the long run, however, denial can prevent you from incorporating unpleasant information about yourself and your life and have potentially destructive consequences.
One step above denial in the generic classification scheme, repression involves simply forgetting something bad. You might forget an unpleasant experience, in the past, such as a car accident at which you were found to be at fault. From repression to regression—one little "g" makes all the difference.
In regression, you revert back to a childlike emotional state in which your unconscious fears, anxieties, and general "angst" reappear. However, every once in a while, a Defence mechanisms either reverts back to a childlike state of development.
That road rage you see when drivers are stuck in traffic is a great example of regression. People may also show regression when they return to a child-like state of dependency.
The problem with regression is that you may regret letting your childish self show in a self-destructive way. In displacement you transfer your original feelings that would get you in trouble usually anger away from the person who is the target of your rage to a more hapless and harmless victim.
Instead, you come home and, so to speak, "kick the cat" or dog. The first four defense mechanisms were relatively easy to understand. Projection is more challenging.
First, you have to start with the assumption that to recognize a particular quality in yourself would cause you psychic pain. For instance, you feel that an outfit you spent too much on looks really bad on you. Wearing this outfit, you walk into the room where your friends stare at you perhaps for a moment too long in your opinion.
They say nothing and do nothing that in reality could be construed as critical. However, your insecurity about the outfit and distress at having paid too much for it leads you to "project" your feelings onto your friends, and you blurt out "Why are you looking at me like that?
The point is that no one said anything that in reality could be construed as critical. You are "projecting" your insecurities onto others and in the process, alienating them and probably looking somewhat foolish as well. This object of your lust now becomes the object of your bitter hatred.
This defense mechanism could be subtitled the "lady doth protest too much," that wonderful quote from Hamlet. Her secret obsession with pornography became reversed into her extreme scorn for all things sexual. In short, reaction formation means expressing the opposite of your inner feelings in your outward behavior.
You might also neutralize your feelings of anxiety, anger, or insecurity in a way that is less likely to lead to embarrassing moments than some of the above defense mechanisms. When you rationalize something, you try to explain it away. As a defense mechanism, rationalization is somewhat like intellectualization, but it involves dealing with a piece of bad behavior on your part rather than converting a painful or negative emotion into a more neutral set of thoughts.
People often use rationalization to shore up their insecurities or remorse after doing something they regret such as an "oops" moment. Now, to help make yourself feel better, you mentally attribute your outburst to a situation outside your control, and twist things so that you can blame someone else for provoking you.
A classic example is that of a surgeon who takes hostile impulses and converts them into " cutting " other people in a way that is perfectly acceptable in society.Ego Defense Mechanisms. We stated earlier that the ego’s job was to satisfy the id’s impulses, not offend the moralistic character of the superego, while still taking into consideration the reality of the situation.
Defense mechanism definition, the defensive reaction of an organism, as against a pathogenic microorganism.
See more. Nov 12, · AP Psychology Flipped Lesson. This feature is not available right now. Please try again later. Ego Defense Mechanisms. We stated earlier that the ego’s job was to satisfy the id’s impulses, not offend the moralistic character of the superego, while still taking into consideration the reality of the situation.
8 common defense mechanisms How we help (and hurt) our emotional well-being Posted by: Ana Yoerg. Being rejected from a job you wanted. A social setting you don’t feel comfortable in. A stressful argument with your partner. Everyone experiences these negative situations in life – they’re unavoidable.
Defense mechanisms based on observer ratings, projective techniques, and self report scales have been associated with psychiatric diagnoses, especially those of borderline disorder, affective disorder, and other DSM-IV diagnostic categories, as indicated in the recent review by Cramer ().