Defense mechanisms, we all have them. We use them to protect ourselves from gettinghurt or even being embarrassed. However,there are a plethora of different version and ways that we can use defensemechanisms. Repression is an example of a self-defensemechanism, it revolves around hiding or repressing traumatic memories that wemay have endured. If someone suffered abuse as a child, they will repress thememory of that, their brain will literally help them forget that ithappened. However, the will have a hardtime forming relationships, even though they may not know why.
It’s our mindsway of protecting our self-image, by creating a bubble around the person and keepsthem from the traumatic thoughts that would be occurring if they remembered theabuse. Another example is displacement. Displacement is a self-defense that shifts or displaces aggressive behaviorsand changes them or represents them in a way that is not so off putting. It allows you to deflect negative feelings,which can enhance your self-image. An example of this would be if you were let’ssay feeling angry at someone, instead of yelling at them or striking them outof anger, you hold it in and once you are away from that person and lets sayyou punch a wall, this is an example of displacement. Then there isthe classic one that everyone thinks of normally right off the bat, denial. Denial is the absolute udder refusal tobelieve that something is true. Thisform helps to protect your self-image like repression, by shielding you fromany bad or negative thoughts.
An example of denial is the loss of a closefamily member, like a mother or a brother. People tend to act like they are ok, because they have not nor do they wantto accept that, that person is gone. Theyact as if everything is still ok and will even avoid conversations which maytake a negative direction that may cause them to admit the truth. Thenthere is reaction formation, which is very similar to displacement in itprotects you, however instead of punching the wall, and acting on impulse, youmaybe go for a walk or sit and talk to someone until an alternative solutioncan be thought of. It allows us to react in a way that is opposite of the trueemotions we are feeling.Then there isprojection, which is when you ignore your own flaws, yet you point out orattempt to blame the exact same flaws in others.
It’s a form of protection for yourself, ittakes the focus off of you and places it on others. An example of this would be a man is havingan affair, however out of guilt he projects his bad behavior on to his wife andbegins to accuse her of having an affair. Then the last example is rationalization, which generally occurs whensomething happens that we find difficult to accept.
When this happens, we tend to make up anexcuse or reason as to why we behaved the way we did or reacted in the way thatwe did. An example of this would beapplying to a university or college and not getting accepted however tellingpeople you did not want to go there anyway. Sothere are many different ways that we use defenses to help protect ourselves orrather the perception of who we are. Someprotect us by blocking thoughts, some give us the perception to others that we aren’tflawed like we may think they think we are, and some help us take the pressure offguilt we may be feeling by placing it on others. While we all do these things, being somewhat cognizantof when we are doing them may be able to help us grow as individuals by facingour issues.