Saturday, June 25, 2011

Psychological Defenses: your Guard or not?

The most used part of the brain I think is the frontal lobe. Why did I say so? Because it is where the ego defense mechanism located. We all know that defense mechanism can be seen anywhere (i mean not physically but mentally).  People use defense mechanism most of the time to protect their self-image.

Psychologist said that the unconscious mind do all the talking when we use defense mechanism not just to protect the self-image but also to shield the mind from anxiety.

Here are the list of Defense Mechanism based on Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory:

(I dissected it in layman's term description)

Repression- the ego pushes unacceptable impulses out of awareness back to the unconscious mind.
In layman’s term: Forgetting the undesirable thought from memory as if it didn’t existed.

Denial- The ego refuses to acknowledge anxiety producing realities.
In layman’s term:Distorting the individual thinks, feels, or perceive. Refuse to acknowledge reality.

Displacement- the ego shifts feelings towards an unacceptable object to another, more acceptable object. 
In layman’s term: Redirecting the emotional impulses to the real source to substitute person or object. E.g. putting anger to other people.

Projection- the ego attributes the personal shortcomings, problems, and faults to others
In layman’s term: Attributing to others your own unacceptable desires and impulses to be free from guilt.

Reaction Formation- behaving in a matter that is contrary the one’s real feelings.
In layman’s term: Lying to what’s the real emotion.

Rationalization- the ego replaces a less acceptable motive with a more acceptable one.
In layman’s term: Manufacturing false but good excuse to justify unacceptable behavior and explain away failures or losses.

Compensation- keeping one’s self-steem intact by excelling in one area to distract attention from an area which the person is inferior.
In layman’s term: Masking perceived weakness.

Regression- the ego seeks security to an earlier developmental period in the face of stress.  
In layman’s term: Attempt to cope with the anxiety by clinging to such inappropriate behaviors (Form immature behavior e.g. crying, walkout).

Fantasy- gratifying frustrated desires by imaginary achievements.
In layman’s term: Delusional.

You can not consider yourself emotionally healthy if you are depending too much in these defense mechanism to survive. It just means that you’re too weak to acknowledge the truth about unpleasant thoughts. Using too much defense mechanism is distorting reality, that may lead into developing Personality Disorders. 

Defense mechanisms works automatically. If there is a perceived stimulus that may harm our self-image. It moves in a flash to shield it. Defense mechanism is like a Guard who protects a bank from bad thieves. He do everything to protect his boss from external harms because it is his duty.But like what I said  earlier, depending too much on defense mechanism is a bad idea. You are not only deceiving yourself but you're also inviting chaos to your relationship with people. 

So how you can avoid defense mechanism if it's always on the defensive mode? Even I,don't know the answer. All I know is we can avoid it, but we can not shut it down.  It is in our nature.  This is the way our mind can protect us. All I can advice is that don't loose grip on what is in here in reality.

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