Defense mechanisms; ways to better protect or “defend” ourselves.

We all uses defenses or excuses. Defenses are strategies to protect oneself from unpleasant and disturbing emotions. For example, if one is feeling guilty about getting poor marks in the exam, blaming the teacher for being partial may make him feel better. Defense mechanism can be healthy if used in moderation. The problem arises when they are used rigidly and in excess, so much so that it can give rise to psychological disorders.
Here is the collection of common defenses that we use in everyday life.

Displacement: Transferring an unpleasant emotion, feeling, action, anger onto a non-threatening object.
Example ¬- Being scolded by her mom, Karina slaps her doll. Or you slamming a door instead of hitting
a person because he is more powerful than you.

Denial: Refusing to accept disturbing aspects of reality.
Example: Rahul refused to acknowledge the news of his girl friend marriage. Or
Denying that your physician’s diagnosis of cancer is correct and seeking a second opinion.


Rationalization: Giving logical but false explanations to cover up one‘s real thoughts/ideas.
Example: stating that you were fired because you didn’t flattering up the the boss, when the real reason was your poor performance. Or you getting poor marks in the exam, blaming that question paper is too tough but the real reason is you did not study.

Reaction formation: taking the opposite belief or opinion because the true belief causes anxiety, stress, frustration.
Example: having a bias negative views against a particular race, religion or culture and then embracing that race or culture to the extreme.

Regression: returning to a previous stage of development to deal with anxiety or fear.
Example: suraj began thumb sucking after the birth of his younger sibling so that his parents also pay attention to him.

Repression: An unconscious attempt to push disturbing thoughts or ideas out of awareness. Example: shyam do not want to remember his insult. or sourabh do not want to remember his break up.


Sublimation: Channelizing one‘s energies in socially desirable ways. Example: Betrayed in love, Janak decided to do his PhD on the dynamics of romantic relationships.


Omnipotence: Dealing with stress, anxiety, and fear by thinking that one is superior to others. Example: sumit behaves arrogantly with others especially during exams.


Intellectualization: avoiding unacceptable emotions or feeling by focusing on the intellectual aspects. Example: Shubham ignores her wife‘s dominance by thinking that she is a woman of high self-belief.


Devaluation: Dealing with stress, anxiety or fear by assigning negative characteristics to oneself or others.
Example: Suraj feels that He doesn‘t win in race because of his obesity and lack of proper guidance.

Splitting: Disintegrating the positives and negatives feelings or aspects of self and others. Seeing things as all or none.
Example: sumit is the best friend of sourabh whom he idealised. But ever since he spoke against him, he began viewing him as mean and evil.

Do you use these defense strategies? Which of the defense strategy you use. Remember that when we use these excuses or defenses in normal level, it is good for our health. But when we use these defenses in excess level, it may be harmful for our mental health. If you have any question, you can ask through comment.



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  1. RAJDEEP 11/11/2015
  2. MARTIN 11/11/2015

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