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Defense Mechanisms Ego

Monty S
Monty S

DEFENSE MECHANISMS in EGO

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DEFENSE MECHANISMS

                  REPRESSSION                                             SUPPRESSION
                  CONVERSION                                      DISSOCIATION/SYMBOLIZATION
                 IDENTIFICATION                                           INTROJECTION
                  SUBLIMATION                                            COMPENSATION
                RATIONALIZATION                                            PROJECTION
                 DISPLACEMENT                                               UNDOING
                    SPLITTING                                         REACTION FORMATION
                   REGRESSION                                               FIXATION
              INTELLECTUALIZATION                                          ACTING-OUT
                     DENIAL                                                  FANTASY


1. REPRESSION                 Involuntary recall painful or unpleasant thoughts or feelings cause they are automatically
                              & involuntarily pushed into one’s unconsciousness.

                              FORGETFULNESS  Blackout (alcoholic intoxication) blocking (Alzheimer’s/Dementia)
                               Memory gaps  Confabulation = making story to fill in memory gaps also used by
                              Wernicke’s Korsakoff’s = ↓ Vit. B1-thiamine,  peripheral neuritis (tingling
                              sensation)  ↓ B6 Pyridoxine, B9 folic acid, B12  P. anemia. Ex. Sexually abused as a
                              child blocks the experience from her consciousness and is confused about inability to
                              respond sexually.
SUPPRESSION – used            Willingly or voluntarily putting unacceptable thoughts or feelings out of one’s mind
selective      inattention    with the ability to recall the thoughts or feelings at will.
(moderate anxiety)


                              Ex. Voluntary forgetfulness or “I rather not talk about it, right now!”
2. CONVERSION                 Transferring of mental conflict or emotional anxiety into physical symptom to release
                              tension.
#1                     DM:
Somatic/somatoform            Ex. A soldier experiences sudden blindness after witnessing his best friend dying from a
disease                       grenade blast; Diarrhea before exam; suppress anger  HPN
DISSOCIATION                  Act of detaching of separating a strong emotionally charged conflict from one’s
                              consciousness.
#1       DM:       Multiple
personality= destruction of   Ex. A woman raped found wandering a busy highway – traumatic amnesia.
ego
SYMBOLIZATION             –   An object, idea, or act represents another through some common aspect and carries the
unconscious;                  emotional feeling associated with the other.

#1 DM: Phobias                Ex. Engagement ring symbol of love; phobias
3.   IDENTIFICATION       –   Unconsciously, people use it to identify with the personality and traits of another. To
external                      preserve one’s ego or self. Mimics/simulates external behavior , like fashion & fads

DM: Preschooler               Ex. Imitator, similar to role playing
INTROJECTION              –   Attributing to oneself the good qualities of another. Incorporate feelings & emotions,
INTERNAL                      values & beliefs, traits and personality. “ingestion, internalization”

DM: Depression & counter      Ex. Acting & dressing like Jesus Christ
transference
4. SUBLIMATION                Re-channeling of consciously intolerable or Socially Unacceptable Behaviors or
                              impulses into personally or socially acceptable. Modify the issue, problem is still present
                              and connected

                              Ex. An aggressive person joins debate team (behavior modification)++
COMPENSATION                  The act of making up for a real or imagined deficiency with a specific behavior.
                              Conscious or unconscious.

                              Problem is not connected.

                              Ex. An unattractive girl became a very good tennis player. - +
5. RATIONALIZATION        –   Most common ego DM. Unconsciously used to justify ideas, actions and/or feelings with
object                        good acceptable reasons or explanation. Irrational/illogical excuses to escape
                              responsibility. Rationalization is justifying one’s actions which are based on other
#1 DM: Anti-social disorder   motives. It is usually seen among alcoholics.

                              Ex. It wasn’t worth it; anyway, it is all for the best. Student fails an exam, blames it on the
                              poor lectures.

                              Temporarily alleviates anxiety.
PROJECTION – person           Person rejects unwanted characteristics of self and assigns them to others.Projection is
                              attributing to others one’s unconscious wishes/fear. Usually it is observed in
#1 DM: Paranoid               paranoid patients.

                              Ex. Blaming others for own faults. “scapegoat”
6.   DISPLACEMENT         –   Mechanism that serves to transfer feelings such as frustration, hostility or anxiety from
higher to lower               one idea, person or object to another.

                              Ex. Yelling at a subordinate after being yelled at by the boss.
UNDOING            OR         Negation of previous consciously intolerable action or experience to reduce or alleviate
RESTITUTION – lower to        feelings of guilt.
higher
                              Ex. Sending flowers after embarrassing her in public.
DM: Obsessive Compulsive
7. SPLITTING                  Viewing people as all good, and others as all bad

                              Impulsive = poor self-control

                              Ex. Hx of drug addicts & alcoholics

                              DM: Borderline (female)


REACTION FORMATION            Person exaggerates or overdevelops certain actions by displaying exactly the opposite
                              behavior, attitude, or feeling from what he or she normally would show in a given
#1 DM: Passive-aggressive     situation. OVERCOMPENSATION. Conscious intent often altruistic. Procrastinate
personality disorder
                              Ex. Student hating her CI may act very courteously towards her.
8. REGRESSION                 A. temporary retreat to past levels of behavior that reduce anxiety, allow one to feel
                              more comfortable. Ex. A 27 year old acts like a 17 y.o. on her first date with a fellow
                              employee; smoking at parties  chronic regression
FIXATION                      Permanent or persistence into later life of interests and behavior patterns appropriate to
                              an early age. Without stressors

                              Ex. Chain smokers, alcoholics = oral fixation
9.                            The act of transferring emotional concerns into the intellectual sphere. Exaggeration of
INTELLECTUALIZATION           intellect. Person uses reasoning as a means to avoid confrontation. Ex. “Dear John” Letter
                              the groom is trying to figure out with his room mate why his fiancée changed her mind –
                              to avoid confronting her.
ACTING - OUT                  Unconscious wish turned into reality

                              Ex. Molested child  wants to be comforted  becomes psychologist = Oprah
10. DENIAL                    The unconscious refusal /avoidance to face thoughts, feelings, wishes, needs, and/or
                              reality factors that are intolerable. Blocking the awareness of reality. Ex. “things will get
#1DM:                         better, soon”

Alcoholics, PTSD, incurable   14 y/o girl who is undergoing dialysis says, “What’s good about this, is that
illness                           after it I will look good & thin.” This shows that the teen is denying her
                                  chronic illness

                              Cancer patient saying, “You might have mixed my result with other patients,”
                                 is showing denial


FANTASY                       Imagined events or mental images. Wishful thinking; Temporary flight from reality to ↓
                              anxiety. Ex. Daydreaming. (permanent flight from reality: autism)
DM: Schizoid
A number of phenomena are used to aid in the maintenance of repression. These are termed Ego
Defense Mechanisms (the terms “Mental Mechanisms” and “Defense Mechanisms” are essentially
synonymous with this). The primary functions of these mechanisms are:

        1. to minimize anxiety
        2. to protect the ego
        3. to maintain repression

Repression is useful to the individual since:
        1. it prevents discomfort
         2. it leads to some economy of time and effort

        A.   Level 1 Defence Mechanisms
The mechanisms on this level, when predominating, almost always are severely pathological. These
three defences, in conjunction, permit one to effectively rearrange external reality and eliminate the
need to cope with reality. The pathological users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or
insane to others. These are the quot;psychoticquot; defences, common in overt psychosis. However, they are
found in dreams and throughout childhood as healthy mechanisms.
They include:

    •   Denial: Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening; arguing against an
        anxiety-provoking stimulus by stating it doesn't exist; resolution of emotional conflict and
        reduction of anxiety by refusing to perceive or consciously acknowledge the more unpleasant
        aspects of external reality.
•   Distortion: A gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs.

   •   Delusional Projection: Grossly frank delusions about external reality, usually of a persecutory
       nature.
       B.   Level 2 Defence Mechanisms
These mechanisms are often present in adults and more commonly present in adolescence. These
mechanisms lessen distress and anxiety provoked by threatening people or by uncomfortable reality.
People who excessively use such defences are seen as socially undesirable in that they are immature,
difficult to deal with and seriously out of touch with reality. These are the so-called quot;immaturequot;
defences and overuse almost always lead to serious problems in a person's ability to cope effectively.
These defences are often seen in severe depression and personality disorders. In adolescence, the
occurrence of all of these defences is normal.
These include:

   •   Fantasy: Tendency to retreat into fantasy in order to resolve inner and outer conflicts.

   •   Projection: Projection is a primitive form of paranoia. Projection also reduces anxiety by
       allowing the expression of the undesirable impulses or desires without becoming consciously
       aware of them; attributing one's own unacknowledged unacceptable/unwanted thoughts and
       emotions to another; includes severe prejudice, severe jealousy, hypervigilance to external
       danger, and quot;injustice collectingquot;. It is shifting one's unacceptable thoughts, feelings and
       impulses within oneself onto someone else, such that those same thoughts, feelings, beliefs
       and motivations are perceived as being possessed by the other.

   •   Hypochondriasis: The transformation of negative feelings towards others into negative feelings
       toward self, pain, illness, and anxiety.

   •   Passive aggression: Aggression towards others expressed indirectly or passively.

   •   Acting out: Direct expression of an unconscious wish or impulse without conscious awareness
       of the emotion that drives that expressive behavior.

   •   Idealization: Subconsciously choosing to perceive another individual as having more positive
       qualities than he or she may actually have.


       C.   Level 3 Defence Mechanisms
These mechanisms are considered neurotic, but fairly common in adults. Such defences have short-
term advantages in coping, but can often cause long-term problems in relationships, work and in
enjoying life when used as one's primary style of coping with the world.
These include:

   •   Displacement: Defence mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses to a more
       acceptable or less threatening target; redirecting emotion to a safer outlet; separation of
       emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or
       something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid dealing directly with what is
       frightening or threatening. For example, a mother may yell at her child because she is angry
       with her husband.

   •   Dissociation: Temporary drastic modification of one's personal identity or character to avoid
       emotional distress; separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a
       situation or thought.

   •   Isolation: Separation of feelings from ideas and events, for example, describing a murder with
       graphic details with no emotional response.

   •   Intellectualization: A form of isolation; concentrating on the intellectual components of a
       situation so as to distance oneself from the associated anxiety-provoking emotions; separation
       of emotion from ideas; thinking about wishes in formal, affectively bland terms and not acting
       on them; avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects (e.g.
       rationalizations).

   •   Reaction Formation: Converting unconscious wishes or impulses that are perceived to be
       dangerous into their opposites; behavior that is completely the opposite of what one really
wants or feels; taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety. This defence
       can work effectively for coping in the short term, but will eventually break down.

   •   Repression: Process of pulling thoughts into the unconscious and preventing painful or
       dangerous thoughts from entering consciousness; seemingly unexplainable naivety, memory
       lapse or lack of awareness of one's own situation and condition; the emotion is conscious, but
       the idea behind it is absent.
       D.   Level 4 Defence Mechanisms
These are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults and are considered the most mature,
even though many have their origins in the immature level. However, these have been adapted
through the years so as to optimize success in life and relationships. The use of these defences
enhances user pleasure and feelings of mastery. These defences help the users to integrate conflicting
emotions and thoughts while still remaining effective. Persons who use these mechanisms are viewed
as having virtues.
These include:

   •   Altruism: Constructive service to others that brings pleasure and personal satisfaction
   •   Anticipation: Realistic planning for future discomfort

   •   Humor: Overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus
       on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. Humor, which explores the
       absurdity inherent in any event, enables someone to call a spade a spade, while quot;witquot; is a form
       of displacement (see above under Category 3). Wit refers to the serious or distressing in a
       humorous way, rather than disarming it; the thoughts remain distressing, but they are 'skirted
       round' by the witticism.
   •   Identification: The unconscious modeling of one's self upon another person's character and
       behavior

   •   Introjection: Identifying with some idea or object so deeply that it becomes a part of that
       person

   •   Sublimation: Transformation of negative emotions or instincts into positive actions, behavior, or
       emotion

   •   Suppression: The conscious process of pushing thoughts into the preconscious; the conscious
       decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present
       reality; able to later access uncomfortable or distressing emotions and accept them

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Defense Mechanisms Ego

  • 1. DEFENSE MECHANISMS REPRESSSION SUPPRESSION CONVERSION DISSOCIATION/SYMBOLIZATION IDENTIFICATION INTROJECTION SUBLIMATION COMPENSATION RATIONALIZATION PROJECTION DISPLACEMENT UNDOING SPLITTING REACTION FORMATION REGRESSION FIXATION INTELLECTUALIZATION ACTING-OUT DENIAL FANTASY 1. REPRESSION Involuntary recall painful or unpleasant thoughts or feelings cause they are automatically & involuntarily pushed into one’s unconsciousness. FORGETFULNESS  Blackout (alcoholic intoxication) blocking (Alzheimer’s/Dementia)  Memory gaps  Confabulation = making story to fill in memory gaps also used by Wernicke’s Korsakoff’s = ↓ Vit. B1-thiamine,  peripheral neuritis (tingling sensation)  ↓ B6 Pyridoxine, B9 folic acid, B12  P. anemia. Ex. Sexually abused as a child blocks the experience from her consciousness and is confused about inability to respond sexually. SUPPRESSION – used Willingly or voluntarily putting unacceptable thoughts or feelings out of one’s mind selective inattention with the ability to recall the thoughts or feelings at will. (moderate anxiety) Ex. Voluntary forgetfulness or “I rather not talk about it, right now!” 2. CONVERSION Transferring of mental conflict or emotional anxiety into physical symptom to release tension. #1 DM: Somatic/somatoform Ex. A soldier experiences sudden blindness after witnessing his best friend dying from a disease grenade blast; Diarrhea before exam; suppress anger  HPN DISSOCIATION Act of detaching of separating a strong emotionally charged conflict from one’s consciousness. #1 DM: Multiple personality= destruction of Ex. A woman raped found wandering a busy highway – traumatic amnesia. ego SYMBOLIZATION – An object, idea, or act represents another through some common aspect and carries the unconscious; emotional feeling associated with the other. #1 DM: Phobias Ex. Engagement ring symbol of love; phobias 3. IDENTIFICATION – Unconsciously, people use it to identify with the personality and traits of another. To external preserve one’s ego or self. Mimics/simulates external behavior , like fashion & fads DM: Preschooler Ex. Imitator, similar to role playing INTROJECTION – Attributing to oneself the good qualities of another. Incorporate feelings & emotions, INTERNAL values & beliefs, traits and personality. “ingestion, internalization” DM: Depression & counter Ex. Acting & dressing like Jesus Christ transference 4. SUBLIMATION Re-channeling of consciously intolerable or Socially Unacceptable Behaviors or impulses into personally or socially acceptable. Modify the issue, problem is still present and connected Ex. An aggressive person joins debate team (behavior modification)++ COMPENSATION The act of making up for a real or imagined deficiency with a specific behavior. Conscious or unconscious. Problem is not connected. Ex. An unattractive girl became a very good tennis player. - + 5. RATIONALIZATION – Most common ego DM. Unconsciously used to justify ideas, actions and/or feelings with object good acceptable reasons or explanation. Irrational/illogical excuses to escape responsibility. Rationalization is justifying one’s actions which are based on other
  • 2. #1 DM: Anti-social disorder motives. It is usually seen among alcoholics. Ex. It wasn’t worth it; anyway, it is all for the best. Student fails an exam, blames it on the poor lectures. Temporarily alleviates anxiety. PROJECTION – person Person rejects unwanted characteristics of self and assigns them to others.Projection is attributing to others one’s unconscious wishes/fear. Usually it is observed in #1 DM: Paranoid paranoid patients. Ex. Blaming others for own faults. “scapegoat” 6. DISPLACEMENT – Mechanism that serves to transfer feelings such as frustration, hostility or anxiety from higher to lower one idea, person or object to another. Ex. Yelling at a subordinate after being yelled at by the boss. UNDOING OR Negation of previous consciously intolerable action or experience to reduce or alleviate RESTITUTION – lower to feelings of guilt. higher Ex. Sending flowers after embarrassing her in public. DM: Obsessive Compulsive 7. SPLITTING Viewing people as all good, and others as all bad Impulsive = poor self-control Ex. Hx of drug addicts & alcoholics DM: Borderline (female) REACTION FORMATION Person exaggerates or overdevelops certain actions by displaying exactly the opposite behavior, attitude, or feeling from what he or she normally would show in a given #1 DM: Passive-aggressive situation. OVERCOMPENSATION. Conscious intent often altruistic. Procrastinate personality disorder Ex. Student hating her CI may act very courteously towards her. 8. REGRESSION A. temporary retreat to past levels of behavior that reduce anxiety, allow one to feel more comfortable. Ex. A 27 year old acts like a 17 y.o. on her first date with a fellow employee; smoking at parties  chronic regression FIXATION Permanent or persistence into later life of interests and behavior patterns appropriate to an early age. Without stressors Ex. Chain smokers, alcoholics = oral fixation 9. The act of transferring emotional concerns into the intellectual sphere. Exaggeration of INTELLECTUALIZATION intellect. Person uses reasoning as a means to avoid confrontation. Ex. “Dear John” Letter the groom is trying to figure out with his room mate why his fiancée changed her mind – to avoid confronting her. ACTING - OUT Unconscious wish turned into reality Ex. Molested child  wants to be comforted  becomes psychologist = Oprah 10. DENIAL The unconscious refusal /avoidance to face thoughts, feelings, wishes, needs, and/or reality factors that are intolerable. Blocking the awareness of reality. Ex. “things will get #1DM: better, soon” Alcoholics, PTSD, incurable 14 y/o girl who is undergoing dialysis says, “What’s good about this, is that illness after it I will look good & thin.” This shows that the teen is denying her chronic illness Cancer patient saying, “You might have mixed my result with other patients,” is showing denial FANTASY Imagined events or mental images. Wishful thinking; Temporary flight from reality to ↓ anxiety. Ex. Daydreaming. (permanent flight from reality: autism) DM: Schizoid
  • 3. A number of phenomena are used to aid in the maintenance of repression. These are termed Ego Defense Mechanisms (the terms “Mental Mechanisms” and “Defense Mechanisms” are essentially synonymous with this). The primary functions of these mechanisms are: 1. to minimize anxiety 2. to protect the ego 3. to maintain repression Repression is useful to the individual since: 1. it prevents discomfort 2. it leads to some economy of time and effort A. Level 1 Defence Mechanisms The mechanisms on this level, when predominating, almost always are severely pathological. These three defences, in conjunction, permit one to effectively rearrange external reality and eliminate the need to cope with reality. The pathological users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or insane to others. These are the quot;psychoticquot; defences, common in overt psychosis. However, they are found in dreams and throughout childhood as healthy mechanisms. They include: • Denial: Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening; arguing against an anxiety-provoking stimulus by stating it doesn't exist; resolution of emotional conflict and reduction of anxiety by refusing to perceive or consciously acknowledge the more unpleasant aspects of external reality.
  • 4. Distortion: A gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs. • Delusional Projection: Grossly frank delusions about external reality, usually of a persecutory nature. B. Level 2 Defence Mechanisms These mechanisms are often present in adults and more commonly present in adolescence. These mechanisms lessen distress and anxiety provoked by threatening people or by uncomfortable reality. People who excessively use such defences are seen as socially undesirable in that they are immature, difficult to deal with and seriously out of touch with reality. These are the so-called quot;immaturequot; defences and overuse almost always lead to serious problems in a person's ability to cope effectively. These defences are often seen in severe depression and personality disorders. In adolescence, the occurrence of all of these defences is normal. These include: • Fantasy: Tendency to retreat into fantasy in order to resolve inner and outer conflicts. • Projection: Projection is a primitive form of paranoia. Projection also reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the undesirable impulses or desires without becoming consciously aware of them; attributing one's own unacknowledged unacceptable/unwanted thoughts and emotions to another; includes severe prejudice, severe jealousy, hypervigilance to external danger, and quot;injustice collectingquot;. It is shifting one's unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses within oneself onto someone else, such that those same thoughts, feelings, beliefs and motivations are perceived as being possessed by the other. • Hypochondriasis: The transformation of negative feelings towards others into negative feelings toward self, pain, illness, and anxiety. • Passive aggression: Aggression towards others expressed indirectly or passively. • Acting out: Direct expression of an unconscious wish or impulse without conscious awareness of the emotion that drives that expressive behavior. • Idealization: Subconsciously choosing to perceive another individual as having more positive qualities than he or she may actually have. C. Level 3 Defence Mechanisms These mechanisms are considered neurotic, but fairly common in adults. Such defences have short- term advantages in coping, but can often cause long-term problems in relationships, work and in enjoying life when used as one's primary style of coping with the world. These include: • Displacement: Defence mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses to a more acceptable or less threatening target; redirecting emotion to a safer outlet; separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening. For example, a mother may yell at her child because she is angry with her husband. • Dissociation: Temporary drastic modification of one's personal identity or character to avoid emotional distress; separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought. • Isolation: Separation of feelings from ideas and events, for example, describing a murder with graphic details with no emotional response. • Intellectualization: A form of isolation; concentrating on the intellectual components of a situation so as to distance oneself from the associated anxiety-provoking emotions; separation of emotion from ideas; thinking about wishes in formal, affectively bland terms and not acting on them; avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects (e.g. rationalizations). • Reaction Formation: Converting unconscious wishes or impulses that are perceived to be dangerous into their opposites; behavior that is completely the opposite of what one really
  • 5. wants or feels; taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety. This defence can work effectively for coping in the short term, but will eventually break down. • Repression: Process of pulling thoughts into the unconscious and preventing painful or dangerous thoughts from entering consciousness; seemingly unexplainable naivety, memory lapse or lack of awareness of one's own situation and condition; the emotion is conscious, but the idea behind it is absent. D. Level 4 Defence Mechanisms These are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults and are considered the most mature, even though many have their origins in the immature level. However, these have been adapted through the years so as to optimize success in life and relationships. The use of these defences enhances user pleasure and feelings of mastery. These defences help the users to integrate conflicting emotions and thoughts while still remaining effective. Persons who use these mechanisms are viewed as having virtues. These include: • Altruism: Constructive service to others that brings pleasure and personal satisfaction • Anticipation: Realistic planning for future discomfort • Humor: Overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. Humor, which explores the absurdity inherent in any event, enables someone to call a spade a spade, while quot;witquot; is a form of displacement (see above under Category 3). Wit refers to the serious or distressing in a humorous way, rather than disarming it; the thoughts remain distressing, but they are 'skirted round' by the witticism. • Identification: The unconscious modeling of one's self upon another person's character and behavior • Introjection: Identifying with some idea or object so deeply that it becomes a part of that person • Sublimation: Transformation of negative emotions or instincts into positive actions, behavior, or emotion • Suppression: The conscious process of pushing thoughts into the preconscious; the conscious decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present reality; able to later access uncomfortable or distressing emotions and accept them