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We All Have Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms, in psychology andpsychoanalysis in general are systems of behavior we use in order toprotect ourselves from negative emotions and experiences. Namely, wenegate unpleasant thoughts, experiences and attitudes through usingdefense mechanisms in order to distance ourselves away.

There are different types of defensemechanisms that one might have and these are used differently byseparate individuals. Nevertheless, these may be divided incategories as the following ones are.

Defense Mechanisms of Human Beings

The first, common defense mechanism iscompartmentalization. This mainly depicts people who have two or moreseparate systems of values, one negating the other. For example, aperson may be known as honest and righteous towards other people, notpaying taxes or cheating in some other respect.

Compensation is another common defensemechanism. Here, people manage to cope with their weaknesses byemphasizing some other qualities they are known to possess. So, if acertain he/she is not a fighting one, he/she may compensate byclaiming that he/she is an excellent loving person.

Then, we have denial, which is verycommon, especially during childhood, where we completely shut downall negative aspects we have, ignoring them as if these do not exist.

We can also use displacement. Here,people channel their emotions from one destination to another. Thebest example would be to hit the table with your fist when you areactually in the mood of hitting your superior in the face.

Fantasy can be used for motivation,serving as a defense mechanism. When you are not successful in acertain area, you may always imagine being good at it and feel morepositive this way.

Intellectualization is yet anotherapproach to this way of self-defense. This, basically, stands forconcentrating on certain cognitive aspects of a problem rather thatdealing with your emotions. The best example are people who sufferfrom a terminal disease, being obsessed with survival statistics,treatments and other things, neglecting their emotions and fears.

Further more, in situations when we hadwanted something, failed to get it and then described it as unwanted,we are using rationalization. A real-life example would be trying toget promoted, failing and then commenting how you never actuallyliked this option of promotion in the first place.

Sometimes, in order to protect ourinadequate desires from being visible, we do somethings completelyopposite. For example, a mother who dislikes her child may take extracare of him/her.

Finally, we may regress to a previousstate when faced with problems. Then, we might return to the way weacted and lived while we were younger, denying the present. Also,upon doing something bad, we can use defense mechanisms such asundoing, praising people we were treating badly before etc.

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