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Defense Mechanisms

Are behaviors people use to separate themselves from unpleasant events, actions, or thoughts. The idea of defense mechanisms comes from psychoanalytic theory, a psychological perspective of personality that sees personality as the interaction between three components: id, ego, and super ego.

9 Basic Defence Mechanism -

1. Denial - When we are “in denial” there is a sense of refusing to accept reality as it is. Quite often, reality feels painful and there are days truths about ourselves, others, and situations that we would rather not acknowledge.

2. Repression - Repression involves “forgetting” painful experiences or truths that we would rather not acknowledge or are simply not psychologically prepared to handle in the present moment.

3. Regression - Regression occurs when we revert back to childlike behaviors under stress or tension. Perhaps you experience a form of regression when you find yourself “caught” doing something you know you shouldn’t do and you try to be “cute” or even whine about it.

4. Displacement - Displacement involves transferring “unacceptable” feelings away from the true target of those feelings onto a more harmless victim or object.

5. Projection - To understand the concept of projection, imagine a quality within yourself that you find unacceptable or unwilling to openly acknowledge.

6. Reaction Formation - Reaction formation involves the process of transforming unacceptable or unwanted feelings towards others into their complete opposite.

7. Intellectualization - When we engage in the defense mechanism of intellectualization, we are “thinking away” an emotion or reaction that is unpleasant in some way.

8. Rationalization - Rationalization involves an attempt to “explain away” something that we would rather not confront or accept.

9. Sublimation - Sublimation involves converting unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or behaviors into those that are societally or personally acceptable.

The common theme behind all of these defense mechanisms is the conversion of reality as it truly is into a form of reality that we find more consciously acceptable. Mindfulness is a tool that encourages the full and complete acceptance of reality precisely as it is in this present moment.

Sigmund Freud: Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory of personality development, which argued that personality is formed through conflicts among three fundamental structures of the human mind: the id, ego, and superego.

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