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Defense Mechanisms

Learn how to recognize and overcome unhealthy defense mechanisms to protect your mental health and create healthier relationships.
2023-03-25

Introduction

Defence mechanisms are psychological strategies employed by the unconscious mind to protect a person from anxiety and from the awareness of internal or external stressors and threats. defense mechanisms are thought to safeguard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with. They are a normal part of everyone’s psychological makeup, but can become problematic if overused. This article will provide a review of defense mechanisms, including their definition, types, and effects.

Definition of Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological strategies that people use to protect themselves from anxiety, or from the awareness of internal or external stressors and threats. They are a normal part of everyone’s psychological makeup, and can be seen as a way of avoiding or denying reality. Defense mechanisms are thought to be largely unconscious, which means that people are not aware of them and often do not realize they are using them.

Types of Defense Mechanisms

The main types of defense mechanisms are repression, denial, projection, displacement, intellectualization, reaction formation, regression, rationalization, sublimation, and identification.

Repression is the unconscious blocking of painful memories or feelings. Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought, or feeling did not exist. Projection is the process of attributing one's own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another. Displacement is the transferring of emotions from a threatening person or object to a less threatening one. Intellectualization is the avoiding of emotions by focusing on facts or logic. Reaction formation is the replacing of unacceptable feelings and behaviors with their opposites. Regression is the reversion to immature patterns of behavior. Rationalization is the constructing of false but plausible reasons for a behavior. Sublimation is the channeling of unacceptable impulses into constructive activities. Identification is the modeling of oneself on another person.

Effects of Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms can be helpful in providing temporary relief from stress, but they can also have harmful effects. When used in excess, defense mechanisms can lead to serious psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. When defense mechanisms become too rigid, they can prevent people from being able to cope with reality and lead to maladaptive behavior. Defense mechanisms can also prevent people from forming healthy relationships, as they may be unable to deal with difficult emotions.

In addition, defense mechanisms can be used as a form of self-deception. People may use defense mechanisms to avoid facing the truth about themselves or their situations. This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, as well as further psychological problems.

Conclusion

Defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological strategies employed by the mind to protect a person from anxiety and from the awareness of internal or external stressors and threats. While defense mechanisms can be helpful in providing temporary relief from stress, they can also have harmful effects when used in excess or as a form of self-deception. It is important to be aware of the types of defense mechanisms that are being used, as well as the potential effects they can have.

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