Defence mechanisms

The Defence mechanisms - Techniques used by the mind to lessen unpleasant or unwelcome emotions, impulses, experiences, or events, and to avoid external or internal conflict.

The principal defence mechanism is repression, which is the suppression of unacceptable thoughts. Other types of defence mechanism include displacement, rationalization, projection, reaction formation, and isolation.

In displacement, dangerous thoughts or feelings are redirected at a harmless object; for example, someone who is angry at another person may kick the furniture instead of hitting that person. Rationalization involves reinterpreting thoughts or actions in a more acceptable way; for example, a person may criticize someone else but claim “It’s for your own good”.

In projection, a person attributes his or her own faults to someone else, for example by thinking “that person hates me” when in fact he or she hates that person. In reaction formation, an unacceptable feeling is hidden by actions that suggest theopposite; for example, someone may disguise hatred for another person by showing great concern for that person.

In the mechanism of isolation, unpleasant memories (for example, of being assaulted) are retained but the feelings that go with them are hidden, so that a person may recall such an event apparently without emotion.


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