What is the most common defense mechanism

Top 10 Defense Mechanisms and Why We Use Them

Defense mechanisms refer to psychological strategies or behaviors that people may use to cope with difficult feelings, thoughts, or events.

Defense mechanisms are behaviors that 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. These psychological strategies may help people put distance between themselves and threats or unwanted feelings, such as guilt or shame.

First proposed by Sigmund Freud, this theory has evolved over time and contends that behaviors, like defense mechanisms, are not under a person’s conscious control. In fact, most people do them without realizing it.

According to these theories, defense mechanisms are a natural part of psychological development. Identifying which type you, your loved ones, and even your co-workers use may help you in future conversations and encounters.

Defense mechanisms are ways you react to situations that bring up negative emotions. According to psychoanalytic theory, when you experience a stressor, the subconscious will first monitor the situation to see if it might harm you. If the subconscious believes the situation might lead to emotional harm, it may react with a defense mechanism to protect you.

Usually, you are unaware of the defense mechanism, though the behavior may appear odd to others around you.

Many researchers place defense mechanisms on a continuum, with more mature defenses improving cognitive processes and less mature ones causing harm.

In the long term, mature defense mechanisms may not be particularly detrimental to your emotional or mental health. Using more mature mechanisms may help you face the anxieties and situations that might normally cause stress and emotional duress.

Other defense mechanisms, however, are not as mature and helpful. Prolonged use of these defenses can lead to lingering problems. In fact, they may prevent you from ever facing emotional issues or anxieties because they block you from seeing the root cause.

Some signs that defense mechanisms are getting in the way of your everyday life and mental health may include:

  • feeling sad or depressed
  • having difficulty getting out of bed
  • avoiding usual daily activities, things, or people that once made you happy
  • having difficulty forming or maintaining healthy relationships
  • communication problems that hinder your professional or personal life

Dozens of different defense mechanisms have been identified. Some are used more commonly than others. Here are a few common defense mechanisms:

1. Denial

Denial is one of the most common defense mechanisms. It occurs when you refuse to accept reality or facts. People in denial may block external events or circumstances from the mind so that they don’t have to deal with the emotional impact. In other words, they avoid painful feelings or events.

This defense mechanism is one of the most widely known, too. The phrase, “They’re in denial,” is commonly understood to mean a person is avoiding reality despite what may be obvious to people around them.

2. Repression

Unsavory thoughts, painful memories, or irrational beliefs can upset you. Instead of facing those thoughts, people may unconsciously choose to hide them in hopes of forgetting them entirely.

That does not mean, however, that the memories disappear entirely. They may influence behaviors, and they may impact future relationships. You just may not realize the impact this defense mechanism is having.

3. Projection

Some thoughts or feelings you have about another person may make you uncomfortable. When people project those feelings, they misattribute them to the other person.

For example, you may dislike your new co-worker, but instead of accepting that, you choose to tell yourself that they dislike you. You start to interpret their words and actions toward you in the worst way possible, even though they don’t actually dislike you.

4. Displacement

You direct strong emotions and frustrations toward a person or object that doesn’t feel threatening. This allows you to satisfy an impulse to react, but you don’t risk significant consequences.

A good example of this defense mechanism is getting angry at your child or spouse because you had a bad day at work. Neither of these people is the target of your strong emotions, but your subconscious may believe reacting to them is likely less problematic than reacting to your boss.

5. Regression

Some people who feel threatened or anxious may unconsciously “escape” to an earlier stage of development.

This type of defense mechanism may be most obvious in young children. If they experience trauma or loss, they may suddenly act as if they’re younger again. They may even begin wetting the bed or sucking their thumb as a form of regression.

Adults can regress, too. Adults who are struggling to cope with events or behaviors may return to sleeping with a cherished stuffed animal, overeat foods they find comforting, or begin chain-smoking or chewing on pencils or pens. They may also avoid everyday activities because they feel overwhelmed.

6. Rationalization

Some people may attempt to explain undesirable behaviors with their own set of “facts.” This allows you to feel comfortable with the choice you made, even if you know on another level it’s not right.

For example, someone who didn’t get a promotion at work might say they didn’t want the promotion anyways.

7. Sublimation

This type of defense mechanism is considered a mature, positive strategy. That’s because people who rely on it choose to redirect strong emotions or feelings into an object or activity that is appropriate and safe.

For example, instead of lashing out at your coworkers during a stressful shift, you choose to channel your frustration into a kickboxing class. You could also funnel or redirect the feelings into music, art, or sports.

8. Reaction formation

People who use this defense mechanism recognize how they feel, but they choose to behave in the opposite manner of their instincts.

A person who reacts this way, for example, may feel they should not express negative emotions, such as anger or frustration. They choose to instead react in an overly positive way.

9. Compartmentalization

Separating your life into independent sectors may feel like a way to protect many elements of it.

For example, when you choose to not discuss personal life issues at work, you block off, or compartmentalize, that element of your life. This allows you to carry on without facing the anxieties or challenges while you’re in that setting or mindset.

10. Intellectualization

When you’re hit with a trying situation, you may choose to remove all emotion from your responses and instead focus on quantitative facts.

You may see this strategy in use when a person spends their days creating spreadsheets of job opportunities and leads after they are let go from a job.

Defense mechanisms can sometimes be viewed as a type of self-deception. You might be using them to hide emotional responses that you don’t want to deal with from yourself. However, it’s done mostly on an unconscious level. You’re not always aware of the way your mind or ego will respond.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t modify or change the behaviors. Indeed, you can transform unhealthy defense mechanisms into ones that are more sustainable. These techniques may help:

  • Find accountability. Friends and family members can help you recognize defense mechanisms you may be using. By drawing attention to the self-deception, they can help you identify the moment you unconsciously use self-deception. That allows you to then decide in the conscious state what you really want to do.
  • Learn coping strategies. Therapy with a mental health expert, such as a psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychoanalyst, may help you recognize the defense mechanisms you use most often. They can then help you learn active responses to make choices on a more mindful level.

Defense mechanisms are natural. They are often used without any long-term complications or issues.

However, some people do develop emotional difficulties if they continue to use these mechanisms without coping with the underlying threat or anxiety. Treatment focuses on helping you address issues from a mindful place, not an unconscious one.

Why and How to Find Help

You may find examples of defense mechanisms in yourself or others close to you, especially if they’re dealing with stress or trauma in their lives.

We may react to stress and trauma in ways that often don’t make sense. When pushed with too much stress, some people find themselves seeking out substances or losing their tempers at the people they love.

These sorts of gut reactions to stress can be thought of as examples of defense mechanisms. Despite how unpleasant these mechanisms may be, we may find that these reactions just happen without thought. It’s as if these patterns have been ingrained in us since we were young.

These defense mechanisms protect us from harm — emotional, mental, and even physical harm. They help us move past uncomfortable feelings and get through difficult situations.

However, you may find that these defense mechanisms do their job in the moment, yet prove to be unhealthy or disruptive in the long run.

A trained psychotherapist can offer you insights and coping skills that allow you to recognize examples of your defense mechanisms, hone them into mature coping skills, and feel more resilient in times of distress throughout your life.

Since the beginning of psychotherapy, psychologists have been investigating why and how people use defense mechanisms in their everyday lives.

While Sigmund Freud introduced the concept of defense mechanisms, his daughter Anna Freud expanded on his list in her psychiatric practice. Sigmund and Anna Freud explained that defense mechanisms come from a conflict with your id and superego.

The id is your unconscious, which can include everything from your dreams to your hidden desires.

On the other hand, the superego refers to your moral compass that you’ve been given by authority. This could include the ethics of your society, gender and sexual expectations, or the expectations that your parents have for you.

However, your ego develops to mediate between your id and superego. But when your ego doesn’t mediate between the two, it may compel you to use defense mechanisms to restore balance.

When it comes to actually figuring out where your defense mechanisms come from, the conflict with your unconscious and your superego often comes from your family. Whether intentional or not, these defense mechanisms are psychological forms of protection that keep us from dying.

Basically, psychotherapy sees your defense mechanisms as you trying to express your desire or frustration (id) to the situation that’s causing you to feel trapped or stressed (superego).

In most cases, these psychological responses are not under a person’s conscious control. That means you don’t decide what you do when you do it.

While “primitive” and “mature” may seem like problematic labels for defense mechanisms, they are not meant to judge those who fall into these patterns. These terms refer to older concepts in psychoanalysis that may still prove useful.

There are different classes of defense mechanisms. The more primitive a defense mechanism, the earlier it may appear in a person’s development. Even young children often exhibit these primitive defense mechanisms.

The primitive defense mechanisms are unconscious and unintentional. They may tend to be an ideal way of handling conflicts early in life. However, these primitive defense mechanisms may be less effective for you in the long term.

On the other hand, mature defense mechanisms are conscious decisions rooted in reality, and they are often constructive. More mature defense mechanisms acknowledge stressors or traumas in a more productive way while still remaining a defense mechanism — a reaction to stressors or trauma.

Psychoanalysts identified dozens of different defense mechanisms. Some of these prove more common than others.

Now that you have a better framework of the differences between the types of defense mechanisms, consider these common types of primitive defense mechanisms.


Certain memories may be traumatizing for us, and they can cause so much anxiety and grief that the mind pushes them down into the unconscious. This protects the mind so that you can function.

This is why some people may have whole months or even years of their lives blocked out of their memory.

You can consider this inability to bring up your charged emotions as a textbook form of repression.


The denial mechanism can look like a refusal to accept the weight of reality.

Someone experiencing denial may be blind to the obvious event unfolding in their life.

For instance, a person in denial may put off medical appointments to avoid facing their cancer diagnosis, or they may pretend to not know their partner is cheating instead of confronting them.

Denial may be a common defense mechanism for people who live with:

  • trauma
  • grief
  • substance use disorders
  • personality disorders

In short, denial may be your brain’s way of protecting you from feeling completely overwhelmed, as reality may be too much of a mental and physical shock.

Like other defense mechanisms, approach denial with sensitivity and care. It may be what your body needs to keep going in the short term, but you can face reality once you leave a state of denial. It can be hard — it’s important to be patient with yourself and others.


Displacement protects you from aggressive impulses, as you know there would be some kind of judgment or consequence for it. So, you take it out on a safer object.

This mechanism shows up when someone can’t direct their aggression in the way they want, so they take it out on a lesser threat. For instance, a kid may have a tough home life and go to school and bully a younger student.

Like other primitive defense mechanisms, we may see it more clearly in children than in adults. But of course, adults fall into displacement too.


This coping mechanism causes you to transfer your problems to someone else, treating them like a mirror of you or your mistakes. When you project, you accuse someone else of your own faults.

For instance, a husband could accuse his wife of cheating instead of facing the guilt from his own infidelity.

According to Sigmund Freud, there are common feelings that are involved in projection, including:

  • jealousy
  • need for control
  • anger
  • sexual desire

When a person projects these feelings onto you, you may feel shocked and surprised because you’ve done nothing to earn these accusations.


Splitting looks like black-and-white thinking, most likely having an all good or all bad view of something.

If someone is splitting on you, you may become either all good or all bad in the other person’s eyes, rather than a nuanced person with flaws.

An example of splitting would be offending someone but convincing yourself that the person was bad anyway, so you really didn’t do anything wrong.

Moreover, it’s good to consider that splitting is often present in people with personality disorders like borderline personality disorder (BPD). People without BPD can also split as a defense mechanism, so one should be careful not to treat splitting as something exclusive to mental health conditions.

These common mature defense mechanisms may offer you more sustainable and healthy ways to respond to your issues long term.


We can’t always act on our feelings, so we put them away. Suppression is a conscious form of repression — one that still allows you to process how you feel.

For instance, if you’re suppressing the urge to respond to anger, you may decide to discuss your issues with a disruptive co-worker in private — rather than confronting them during a public meeting.

Someone who represses their emotions does not confront or acknowledge their emotions consciously, while someone who suppresses their emotions acknowledges what they’re feeling and decides to act on them at a better time.


Distraction is a way of turning your focus away from something that’s distressing and onto something less stressful until you are ready to tackle what’s plaguing you.

An example of a distraction would be having a bad day and putting on a comedy movie to take your mind off of what’s bothering you.


This mechanism involves channeling negative emotions into something constructive.

For instance, instead of screaming at your partner, you might go for a run to calm down. Sublimation could also look like working on self-improvement after a breakup, instead of giving in to your loneliness or negative self-thoughts.

A good start for those working on turning defense mechanisms into coping mechanisms could be working to turn the primitive responses into mature ones.

Mindfulness is an important tool for recognizing your patterns so you can replace them. It’s also important because you have to be open and aware of how you cope with stress.

Working with a mental health professional can help you process the emotions that you are trying so hard to suppress in the first place. This person can also help you process what’s at the root of conflict in your psyche.

It can be difficult work to modify or change how you respond to stress. Still, you can turn unhealthy defense mechanisms into ones that are more sustainable. These techniques could help:

  • Taking accountability. Friends and family members can help you recognize how you engage in defense mechanisms. These people in your life can help you figure out when you make an unconscious or unhealthy choice. This allows you to make conscious decisions under stress and figure out what you really want to do.
  • Working on coping strategies. Therapy with a mental health expert, such as a psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychoanalyst, may help you recognize the defense mechanisms you use most often. They can then help you learn how to manage your impulses and make active and mindful decisions.

With effort, you can overcome your reliance on primitive defense mechanisms. It’s important to be mindful and recognize your behavior patterns, especially during moments of stress. It’s OK to ask for help.

If you feel that the stresses in your life come from past traumas or toxic childhood experiences and require more than just good coping mechanisms, consider looking into different forms of psychotherapy.

While some forms of therapy may be better suited for working through past trauma, finding professional help in any capacity may offer you the tools to work through past trauma and coping skills to thrive, no matter what comes next in your life.

Learning more about your defense mechanisms can help you take control of your life and your emotional responses — and not have your automatic responses control you.

Psychological defense mechanisms: types of mental defense mechanisms

What is psychological defense and what psychological defense mechanisms do we use most often? Forbes Life spoke with psychoanalyst Anna Eliseeva about the types and functions of defense mechanisms and whether psychological defense can have a negative impact

According to Freud: psychological defense mechanisms and psychoanalysis

The concept of psychological defense mechanisms originates in psychoanalysis. It was first formulated by Sigmund Freud: his work was later continued by his daughter Anna, who became the author of the book The Ego and Defense Mechanisms. “The concept of the defense mechanism of the psyche is primarily associated with the structural theory of Freud, according to which the psyche has a tripartite structure. It is represented by the “Ego structure”, “Super-ego structure” and “It structure,” explains psychoanalyst Anna Eliseeva, emphasizing that each of them is responsible for its own functions. nine0005

Thus, the "Super-ego" is responsible for the moral qualities of a person, for what he evaluates as acceptable or unacceptable, unacceptable. “It” is the unconscious in a person, something that he can hardly or is not able to control at all: impulses, attraction, sexuality, aggression. It is the "Ego" that connects these two structures. “The Ego structure performs a regulatory function between these two structures and acts as a “negotiator”. The defense mechanisms of the psyche relate primarily to the "Ego". It may be regulated by some unconscious, perhaps aggressive or threatening impulses within us, some drives, perhaps forbidden by society or family, desires, or some external threats, especially threats to self-esteem and the very moral existence of the individual. Simply put, the "Ego" is a relatively stable group of functions that organizes, integrates and, as it were, connects the mental and mental processes of the individual. nine0005

Nancy McWilliams, an American psychoanalyst, contributed to the study of psychological defense. She singled out at least four influences that form a certain protective mechanism or even a set of them in a person. “The first is temperament, or mental constitution, the second is the nature of the stress that the child experienced in early childhood, the third is the defense mechanisms that parents or caring adults modeled. And the fourth is the consequences that a person has experienced from the use of certain protective mechanisms. That is, it is, as it were, what a person has learned using certain mechanisms, ”says Eliseeva. Defense mechanisms in psychology are unconscious functions that the person himself is not aware of. If he manages to do this, then these defense mechanisms cease to be stable: in other words, he can modify them through therapeutic work that leads the person to the integration of his personality. nine0005

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How do defense mechanisms actually work in psychology?

  • Rationalization: intellectual explanation of emotions

“Suppose a person has developed a defense mechanism, in which he analyzed many times, found intellectual explanations for emotions. For example, a wife left her husband: he is very upset, but unconsciously does not allow this disorder, so as not to feel terrible, and begins to rationalize her departure, saying that the institution of marriage has long been depreciated and this is not so important. In therapy, a person begins to become aware of his emotions, the protective mechanism of rationalization, as it were, loses its positions, and, having lived the sadness and longing that his wife left, in this way a person can resolve this internal conflict (“I am a weakling if I am upset, but I am upset ”) and feel better, ”Eliseeva gives an example. nine0005

  • Reaction to criticism, shame and fear

A similar scenario can occur when receiving criticism of our actions. “Someone can criticize us, and although at the level of awareness we can tell ourselves that we are completely normal about constructive criticism, it still becomes very unpleasant for us at the moment of its voicing, the mechanism of denial is triggered,” explains the psychoanalyst. Denial in general is a primitive-level defense mechanism that is most common in children. For example, if a child breaks a cup and denies it, then in this way he tries to protect himself not so much from the general words of his parents or conditional punishment, but from the fact that the very words of his parents or their criticism may endanger his idea of ​​himself, that is, his integrity. If a child is criticized, he may feel that he is bad, and this is the very threat from which we seek to protect our psyche. Such threats can be different: the threat that we are not smart enough, educated or good, the threat to feel guilty towards someone - we also defend ourselves very strongly against this. There is the threat of shame, the threat of dependence on other people - that is, the understanding that we really need other people in our lives and so on, and finally, the threat of feeling powerless. nine0005

The defense mechanisms of the psyche help us remove the feeling that we are bad, guilty of something. The area where the defense mechanism will work particularly strongly is our self-image. These may be real threats to our self-esteem or an imaginary threat: for example, you are afraid that you are not attractive enough and therefore will not communicate with people so as not to find out that they do not like you. The avoidance mechanism is activated: you decide not to go anywhere at all and not to communicate. Thus, defense mechanisms help, if not the person himself, then his inner ego to resolve the psychological conflict and maintain the integrity of his personality. If it is not possible to resolve it, and the conflict itself continues to persist, then the protective reaction characteristic of it can become more and more pronounced and constant. nine0005

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Deny, forget, suppress: types of psychological defense

There are many options for psychological defense - researchers divide them into groups and levels based on different classification principles. Among them there are pathological, neurotic and not only. According to the classification of Nancy McWilliams, defense mechanisms in psychology are divided into two main groups - primitive and more mature.

Primitive types of psychological protection:

  • Withdrawal, such as trying to sleep to escape stress or reality;
  • Denial, in which people prefer to believe that everything is in order and everything will always be fine;
  • A projection that allows you to convince yourself that something bad and unpleasant is experienced by someone else, and not you, and that it has a certain negative, negative characteristic;
  • Splitting, in which everything is divided into black and white, that is, only bad and only good, positive. nine0022

Mature types of psychological defense:

  • Suppression: attempts to forget, erase from memory what upset you, that is, in fact, the displacement of unpleasant memories and experiences in the past;
  • Regression: return to the behavior characteristic of us at an earlier stage of development: for example, for children - to wet your pants when stressed, and for adults - to get sick, that is, these are mainly somatic manifestations;
  • Isolation: isolation of emotions from events, numbness; nine0022
  • Rationalization and intellectualization: resorting to a rational or intellectual explanation of stressful emotional events, as well as one's feelings;
  • Moralization: the unconscious search for acceptable grounds for some kind of action. For example, a negative event could even be a war, which is perceived as an opportunity to "build character" or a great "learning experience".
  • Acting out: if a conditional dispute or conflict cannot be resolved verbally, then physical actions, such as a fight, become a psychological form of defense. nine0022

Defense mechanisms exist rather "in a certain spectrum", which stretches from pathological to more healthy manifestations. “One defense mechanism in its pathological, too frequent use, interferes with us, affects our behavior, our relationships with people. The same defense mechanism, but in its milder manifestation, serves its function, that is, it protects us from unbearable internal psychological conflicts or feelings, ”explains Eliseeva. Denial is a primitive defense mechanism: if you deny something constantly and everywhere, then you can say that your psyche is working pathologically. But if you are experiencing severe stress, then denying some difficult events can save your psyche and work precisely in a protective function. All people have defense mechanisms of one kind or another, which manifest themselves to one degree or another. And the degree of manifestation of protective mechanisms will determine the very degree of mental health. Thus, psychological defense itself is normal and understandable, but if it becomes constant, turns into a characteristic feature of human behavior and is often not caused by any objective factors, then it can become dangerous primarily for the person himself. nine0005

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When do psychological defense methods become dangerous?

If psychological defense, especially primitive one, becomes regular, unchanging and unique, and its cause is not a real threat, but an internal conflict, then in this case a person runs the risk of being unable to adequately perceive reality and cope with it. For example, there is a conflict between the need to be good (the Superego structure) and to be oneself, to express anger (the It structure). If the conflict is not resolved, then the defense is likely to become fixed and may become part of the personality structure and lead to such a concept as a personality disorder, such as narcissism. With a personality disorder, defense mechanisms are not at all realized, they are not flexible and primitive. nine0005

You can solve the problem through understanding the problem in behavior and relationships, understanding the conflict and methods for resolving it. This is not only therapy, but also spiritual practices, work on oneself, overcoming a personal crisis and getting out of it, meditation.

Nevertheless, in general, the defense mechanisms of our psyche do help us cope with stress or survive severe trauma. “This refers to dissociation or derealization, for example, when the victim of violence, as it were, disconnects from his emotional experiences. The victim seems to "leave" his body and does not feel anything. This is how powerful protection works, which preserves the psyche, ”says Eliseeva. nine0005

Is it possible to change the form of psychological protection?

Forms of defense mechanisms change as a person grows up. So, for children, the method of denial becomes the most characteristic, and for adolescents, for whom the main conflict is to identify themselves, it is idealization, that is, the search for someone different from their parents, from whom you can take an example and build your own identity. Defense mechanisms protect us from certain conflicts inherent in this stage of development. Under a favorable scenario for the development of a person's personality, the defense mechanism is transformed from a more primitive to a more complex one: for example, from denial to sublimation, in which some activity, such as drawing, becomes a defense against conflict. nine0005

It is possible to change the methods of psychological defense with the help of psychotherapy, the task of which, according to the expert, is to realize what defense mechanisms a person already has and how they affect his behavior and relationships with people around him. Together with a specialist, a person tries to understand what kind of conflict worries him and what exactly his psyche is protected from. The next stage is an attempt to get another experience that can modify this conflict and offer a more productive way to deal with it. nine0005

Such work is necessary for those who have experienced a divorce or the loss of a loved one. The experience of loss is too strong for our psyche, it also undermines our identity. And here a protective mechanism can be formed, for example, the denial of the death of the departed: although at some everyday level this is recognized, psychologically it is rejected. In such a situation, it is important to determine which particular defense mechanism is triggered, as well as to live those emotions that frighten a person and torment him, from which his psyche is so saved. After that, the protective mechanism ceases to be necessary (in the case of loss, we are talking about denial), and the person himself gradually adapts to the new reality that he rejected. nine0005

Psychological defense mechanisms

Many mechanisms have been described psychological protection. Let us briefly describe the main ones:

1. Displacement. It is a process of involuntary removal into the unconscious unacceptable thoughts, impulses or feelings. Freud described in detail the protective mechanism of motivated forgetting. It plays an important role in the formation symptoms. When the effect of this anxiety-reducing mechanism is insufficient, other protective mechanisms are connected, allowing repressed material to be realized in a distorted form. The most widely known two combinations of defense mechanisms: a) displacement + displacement. This combination gives rise to phobic reactions. For example, the obsessive fear of a mother that her little daughter will get sick serious illness, represents a defense against hostility towards the child, combining the mechanisms of displacement and displacement; b) repression + conversion (somatic symbolization). This combination forms the basis of hysterical reactions. nine0005

2. Regression. Through this mechanism, the unconscious descent to an earlier level of accommodation, allowing to satisfy desires. Regression can be partial, complete or symbolic. Majority emotional problems have regressive features Normally, regression manifests itself in games, in reactions to unpleasant events (for example, at the birth of a second child the first-born baby stops using the toilet, starts asking for a pacifier, etc.), in situations of increased responsibility, in case of diseases (the patient requires increased attention and care). In pathological forms, regression manifests itself when mental illness, especially schizophrenia. nine0005

3. Projection. This is the mechanism of referring to another person or object of thoughts, feelings, motives and desires that the individual rejects on a conscious level. Fuzzy forms of projection appear in everyday life. Many of us completely uncritical to their shortcomings and easily notice them only in others. We tend to blame others for our own problems. The projection happens harmful because it leads to an erroneous interpretation of reality. This the mechanism often works in immature and vulnerable individuals. In cases of pathology projection leads to hallucinations and delusions, when the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality. nine0005

4. Introjection. This is a symbolic internalization (inclusion in oneself) of a person or object. The action of the mechanism is opposite to the projection. Introjection performs a very important role in the early development of the personality, since on its basis parental values ​​and ideals. The mechanism is updated during mourning, when the loss of a loved one. Introjection removes the differences between objects of love and self. Sometimes instead of anger or aggression in relation to other people, pejorative impulses turn into self-criticism, self-depreciation, because the accused has been introjected. nine0005

This is common in depression.

5. Rationalization. It is a defense mechanism that justifies thoughts, feelings, behavior that is actually unacceptable. Rationalization is the most common psychological defense mechanism because our behavior determined by many factors, and when we explain it by the most appropriate motives for ourselves, then we rationalize. The unconscious mechanism of rationalization is not should be confused with deliberate lies, deceit or pretense. Rationalization helps to maintain self-respect, avoid responsibility and guilt. AT Every rationalization has at least a minimal amount of truth, but it more self-deception, that's why it is dangerous. nine0005

6. Intellectualization. This defense mechanism involves an exaggerated the use of intellectual resources in order to eliminate emotional experiences and feelings. Intellectualization is closely related to rationalization and replaces the experience of feelings by thinking about them (for example, instead of real love - talk about love).

7. Compensation. It is an unconscious attempt to overcome real and imagined flaws. Compensatory behavior is universal because achieving status is an important need for almost all people. Compensation may be socially acceptable (a blind person becomes a famous musician) and unacceptable (compensation for low growth - the desire for power and aggressiveness; disability compensation - rudeness and conflict). Also highlight the line compensation (the desire for success in a deliberately losing area) and indirect compensation (the desire to establish oneself in another area). nine0005

8. Jet formation. This defense mechanism replaces unacceptable to realize the impulse by hypertrophied, opposite tendencies. The protection is two-stage. First, an unacceptable desire is repressed, and then its antithesis is strengthened. For example, exaggerated custody may mask feelings of rejection, exaggerated sugary and polite behavior may hide hostility, etc.

9. Denial. It is a mechanism for rejecting thoughts, feelings, desires, needs. or realities that are unacceptable on a conscious level. The behavior is like the problem doesn't exist. Primitive negation mechanism to a greater extent characteristic of children (if you hide your head under a blanket, then reality will cease to exist). Adults often use denial in times of crisis (an incurable disease, approaching death, loss of a loved one, etc.). nine0005

10. Offset. It is a mechanism for directing emotions from one object to more. acceptable replacement. For example, the shift of aggressive feelings from the employer to the members families or other facilities. The displacement manifests itself in phobic reactions when anxiety from the conflict hidden in the unconscious is transferred to an external object.

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