10 Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms are behaviors people utilize to separate themselves from undesirable events, actions, or ideas. These mental techniques may help people put distance between themselves and hazards or undesirable sensations, such as regret or embarassment.

The concept of defense mechanisms originates from psychoanalytic theory, a mental point of view of character that sees personality as the interaction in between three elements: id, ego, and very ego.

Proposed by Sigmund Freud, this theory has developed over time and competes that habits, like defense systems, are not under an individual’s mindful control. In fact, many people do them without understanding the method they’re using.

Defense reaction are a regular, natural part of psychological development. Determining which type you, your loved ones, even your co-workers utilize can help you in future discussions and encounters.

Leading 10 most typical defense reaction

Dozens of various defense reaction have been identified. Some are used more frequently than others.

In most cases, these psychological responses are not under an individual’s conscious control. That suggests you do not choose what you do when you do it. Here are a few typical defense reaction:

1. Rejection

Denial is one of the most typical defense reaction. It occurs when you contradict truth or realities. You block external occasions or circumstances from your mind so that you don’t have to handle the psychological effect. To put it simply, you prevent the agonizing sensations or events.

This defense reaction is among the most commonly understood, too. The expression, “They remain in rejection” is typically comprehended to indicate a person is preventing reality in spite of what may be apparent to individuals around them.

2. Repression

Unsavory thoughts, uncomfortable memories, or irrational beliefs can disturb you. Instead of facing them, you may automatically select to hide them in hopes of forgeting them totally.

That does not mean, however, that the memories disappear totally. They may affect habits, and they may impact future relationships. You just might not recognize the impact this defense mechanism is having.

3. Forecast

Some ideas or feelings you have about another individual may make you unpleasant. If you project those feelings, you’re misattributing them to the other person.

You may dislike your new co-worker, however instead of accepting that, you pick to inform yourself that they dislike you. You see in their actions the things you wish you might do or state.

4. Displacement

You direct strong emotions and frustrations toward a person or object that does not feel threatening. This enables you to satisfy an impulse to react, however you don’t run the risk of considerable effects.

A good example of this defense mechanism is snapping at your kid or partner since you had a bad day at work. Neither of these individuals is the target of your strong emotions, but reacting to them is likely less problematic than reacting to your manager.

5. Regression

Some people who feel threatened or distressed might unconsciously “escape” to an earlier stage of advancement.

This type of defense reaction may be most obvious in young children. If they experience injury or loss, they might suddenly act as if they’re younger again. They may even start wetting the bed or drawing their thumb.

Adults can regress, too. Grownups who are struggling to manage events or behaviors might return to sleeping with a valued packed animal, overindulge foods they find reassuring, or begin chain smoking or chewing on pencils or pens. They might likewise prevent daily activities since they feel overwhelming.

6. Rationalization

Some people may attempt to discuss unwanted behaviors with their own set of “truths.” This permits you to feel comfortable with the option you made, even if you understand on another level it’s wrong.

Individuals who might be mad at colleagues for not completing work on time might be overlooking the truth that they’re typically late, too.

7. Sublimation

This kind of defense reaction is thought about a favorable strategy. That’s due to the fact that individuals who depend on it choose to reroute strong feelings or feelings into a things or activity that is appropriate and safe.

Instead of lashing out at your workers, you pick to channel your aggravation into kickboxing or workout. You could also funnel or reroute the sensations into music, art, or sports.

8. Response development

People who utilize this defense reaction acknowledge how they feel, however they choose to act in the opposite manner of their instincts.

A person who reacts in this manner, for instance, might feel they should not reveal negative emotions, such as anger or aggravation. They choose to rather respond in an excessively favorable method.

9. Compartmentalization

Separating your life into independent sectors might seem like a method to safeguard lots of components of it.

When you pick to not talk about individual life concerns at work, you obstruct off, or separate, that aspect of your life. This allows you to carry on without dealing with the stress and anxieties or challenges while you remain in that setting or mind set.

10. Intellectualization

When you’re hit with a trying situation, you might choose to eliminate all feeling from your actions and instead concentrate on quantitative truths. You may see this method in use when an individual who is let go from a job pick to spend their days producing spreadsheets of task opportunities and leads.

Treatment for unhealthy defense mechanisms

Defense mechanisms can be viewed as a kind of self-deception. You might be using them to hide psychological reactions that you don’t want to handle from yourself. It’s done primarily on an unconscious level. You’re not constantly familiar with the way your mind or ego will react.

That does not mean, nevertheless, that you can’t modify or change the behaviors. You can change unhealthy defense mechanisms into ones that are more sustainable. These techniques could assist:

  • Find accountability: Buddies and family members can help you recognize the systems. By drawing attention to the self-deception, they can assist you recognize the minute you unconsciously make an unhealthy option. That allows you to then decide in the mindful state what you truly want to do.
  • Learn coping techniques: Therapy with a mental health specialist, such as a psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychoanalyst, may assist you recognize the defense mechanisms you use frequently. They can then assist you learn active reactions to choose on a more conscious level.


Some defense mechanisms are thought about more “fully grown.” That suggests utilizing them might be more sustainable. Even in the long term, they might not be especially destructive to your psychological or psychological health. 2 such “fully grown” methods are sublimation and intellectualization.

Other defense mechanisms, however, are not so mature. Prolonged use of them can cause remaining issues. In fact, they may avoid you from ever dealing with emotional problems or anxieties.

In time, this might turn up in unanticipated ways. Defense mechanisms may make forming relationships more difficult. They can also add to some psychological health concerns.

If you find yourself feeling depressed or unfortunate, unable to rise, or avoiding the typical day-to-day activities of your life or things and individuals that as soon as made you pleased, think about talking with a psychological health specialist. These are also indications of depression, and treatment can help.

Through treatment like psychoanalysis or therapy, you can become more knowledgeable about the defense mechanisms you utilize frequently, and you can even work to move the reactions you use from immature or less efficient to ones that are more mature, sustainable, and advantageous.

Utilizing more mature mechanisms might help you deal with the anxieties and circumstances that may typically cause you tension and psychological pressure.

The takeaway

Defense reaction are regular and natural. They are typically utilized with no long-term problems or issues.

Some people do establish emotional problems if they continue to utilize these systems without coping with the underlying danger or anxiety. Treatment concentrates on assisting to address issues from a mindful location, not an unconscious one.

Facebook Comments