Defense Mechanisms What they are and why we use them.

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Defense Mechanisms

Defense MechanismsWhat they are and why we use themDenialRefusing to accept realityExample: Janice told her friends she was still dating Ethan even though he had broken up with her last week.

ProjectionAttributing feelings/thoughts onto someone elseExample: I dont like a boy named Mike and I say I know that dude hates me, I know it!SplittingAll good or all bad. Black or white, no grays.Example: The nurses from the day shift are all terrific. The ones from the night shift are terrible.RegressionActing as if you are a child again, or in a less troubling time in your life.Example: A seven year old begins wetting the bed again when he finds out his Mom is having a baby.IdentificationBehaving and dressing like someone you admire.Example: Johnny tries to look and act like his favorite rock artist.DisplacementDirecting feelings at someone/something other than the source of those feelings.Example: Angry at not making the team, Sarah pushes her little sister when she gets home.RepressionUnconsciously excluding feelings or memories.Example: A person was abused but doesnt recall any of it.Acting OutEmotional outburst. Covers up realityExample: someone throwing a temper tantrum.RationalizationAn attempt to protect ones feelings or self-esteem by blaming others or making excuses.Example: I didnt pass the test because the teacher asked vague questions.Reaction FormationActing outwardly the opposite of what one feels.Example: A person climbs a mountain even though they are afraid of heights.Passive-AggressiveUnconscious passive hostilityExample: She agreed to share her notes with me, but after class she went straight home.Fantasy/DaydreamingRunning away from problems through daydreaming or fantasizing.Example: A student who is cut from a sports team fantasizes about making the Olympics.CompensationMaking up for a weakness in one area by excelling in another area.Example: A student doesnt make a sports team and works really hard to make first chair violin in the orchestra.SublimationTransforming unacceptable behaviors into acceptable ones.Example: A very aggressive person plays football to release his aggressiveness.HumorExpressing feelings/thoughts without discomfort.Example: A person is teased by a friend and laughs along with everyone.


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