Thursday, February 3, 2011

Defense Mechanism


Honestly, i want to put this in my facebook. But the internet is too stingy to me tonight, so i just let it be. This is the notes i use for my study group when i explained on defense mechanism. I really like this topic, hope this will help:

Psychological Defenses
Defense mechanisms are automatic psychological processes that protect an individual from anxiety and the awareness of internal or external threats or stressors. People are often unaware of these processes as they operate (although others may be painfully aware of them!). Defense mechanisms can be classified into groups or levels that indicate how they affect an individual's functioning.

High Adaptive Level: Defense mechanisms in this group result in optimal adaptation to stress. The defenses usually maximize feelings of well being and do not interfere with the conscious awareness of feelings, ideas, and their consequences.
  • Affiliation involves dealing with stressors by turning to others for help or support. This involves sharing problems with others but not trying to make someone else responsible for them.
  • Altruism involves dealing with stressors by dedicating yourself to meeting the needs of others. The individual receives satisfaction vicariously or from the response of others.
  • Anticipation involves dealing with stressors by anticipating the consequences and feelings associated with possible future events and considering realistic solutions.
  • Humor involves dealing with stress by emphasizing the amusing or ironic aspects of the situation.
  • Self-Assertion involves dealing with stress by expressing your feelings and thoughts directly in a way that is not aggressive, coercive, or manipulative.
  • Self-Observation involves dealing with stress by reflecting on your own thoughts, feelings, motivation, and behavior, and then responding appropriately.
  • Sublimation involves dealing with stress by channeling potentially disruptive feelings or impulses into socially acceptable behavior (e.g., playing rugby to channel angry impulses).
  • Suppression involves dealing with stress by intentionally avoiding thinking about disturbing problems, wishes, feelings, or experiences.

Mental Inhibition Level: Defense mechanisms in this group keep potentially threatening ideas, feelings, memories, wishes, or fears out of awareness. Diminished awareness can affect the person's ability to relate to others.
  • Displacement involves dealing with stress by transferring strong feelings about on situation onto another (usually less threatening) substitute situation.-->Displacement involves taking out our frustrations, feelings and impulses on people or objects that are less threatening. Displaced aggression is a common example of this defense mechanism. Rather than express our anger in ways that could lead to negative consequences (like arguing with our boss), we instead express our anger towards a person or object that poses no threat (such as our spouses, children or pets).
  • Dissociation involves dealing with stress by breaking off part of memory, consciousness, or perception of self or the environment to avoid a problem situation (e.g., amnesia).
  • Intellectualization involves dealing with stress by excessively using abstract thinking and generalizations to avoid or minimize unpleasant feelings. React in a cold way, focus on intellectual aspect only
  • Reaction Formation involves dealing with stress by substituting behavior, thoughts, or feelings that are the exact opposite of your own unacceptable thoughts or feelings (which the person is usually not aware of).-->treating someone you strongly dislike in an excessively friendly manner in order to hide your true feelings. Why do people behave this way? According to Freud, they are using reaction formation as a defense mechanism to hide their true feelings by behaving in the exact opposite manner
  • Repression involves dealing with stress by removing disturbing wishes, thoughts, or experiences from conscious awareness. The person may still be aware of the feelings associated with the repressed issue, but will not know where the feelings come from.-->Repression acts to keep information out of conscious awareness. However, these memories don't just disappear; they continue to influence our behavior. For example, a person who has repressed memories of abuse suffered as a child may later have difficulty forming relationships.
  • Undoing involves dealing with stress by using words or behaviors designed to negate or make amends symbolically for unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or actions. (taubat?)

Disavowal Level: Defense mechanisms in this category try to keep unpleasant or unacceptable stressors, impulses, ideas, feelings, or responsibilities out of awareness.
  • Denial involves dealing with stress by refusing to acknowledge some painful aspect of reality or experience that is apparent to others.
  • Projection involves dealing with stress by falsely attributing your own unacceptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts to another person.-->a strong dislike for someone, you might instead believe that he or she does not like you. Projection works by allowing the expression of the desire or impulse, but in a way that the ego cannot recognize, therefore reducing anxiety.
  • Rationalization involves dealing with stress by concealing the true motivations for a thought, action, or feeling by using elaborate, reassuring, and self-serving (but incorrect) explanations.

Action Level: This level is characterized by defenses that deal with internal or external stressors by action or withdrawal.
  • Acting Out involves dealing with stress by using action rather than reflection or feeling. Defensive acting out is often associated with "bad behavior" when there are underlying emotional conflicts. Acting out' means literally means acting out the desires that are forbidden by the Super ego and yet desired by the Id. We thus cope with the pressure to do what we believe is wrong by giving in to the desire
  • Help-Rejecting Complaining involves dealing with stress by complaining and making repeated requests for help that disguise hidden feelings of hostility toward others, which is then expressed by rejecting the suggestions, advice, or help that others offer. The complaints may involve physical or psychological symptoms or life problems.
  • Passive Aggression involves dealing with stress by indirectly and unassertively expressing aggression toward others. The person displays an outward superficial cooperativeness that masks the underlying resistance, resentment, and hostility. This defense may be adaptive in situations where direct and assertive communication is punished (e.g., abusive relationships)

Defense Mechanisms of Distortions

Distortions in regards to defense mechanisms are broken down into three separate levels; minor, major and dysregulation. Minor image-distorting level is characterized by distortions in the image of self, body, or others that may be used to maintain self-esteem. Examples include:
  • Devaluation: attributing exaggerated negative qualities to self or others.
  • Idealization: attributing exaggerated positive qualities to self or others.
  • Omnipotence: acting as if self is possessed with special powers or abilities and is superior to others.

Major image-distorting level is characterized by gross distortion or misattribution of the image of self or others. Examples of this level include:
  • Autistic fantasy: excessive daydreaming as a substitute for human relationships, more effective action, or problem solving.
  • Projective identification: falsely attributing to another the feelings, thoughts or impulses of self; differing from simple projection by the fact that the individual doesn’t fully disavow what is projected; rather misattributes them as justifiable reactions to the other person. Frequently the individual induces those very feelings in others that were believed to be there, making it difficult to untangle the situation.
  • Splitting of self-image or image of others: compartmentalizing opposite affect states and failing to integrate the positive and negative qualities of self or others into cohesive images. Self and object images ten to alternate between polar opposites.

The more severe level of distortion, defensive dysregulation, is characterized by a failure of defensive regulation in individuals’ reactions to stressors, which lead to a pronounced break with objective reality. Examples of this level include:
  • Delusional projection: attributing non reality-based thoughts, emotions and impulses to others.
  • Psychotic denial: gross impairment in reality testing.
  • Psychotic distortion: gross impairment in perceiving reality differently than others

This is not exhaustive of the multitude of defense mechanisms that individuals use to communicate. Interactions can be complex and though an understanding of defense mechanisms is helpful; when impaired, it is wise to leave it to professionals to conduct in depth analysis of another’s words or actions.

In addition these are some funny exercise...But of course, these are my opinions, not real answers.:D

okay what defense mechanism is this? Easy one right, this is displacement. Then again, i might be wrong.

If u ask me, i'll say this is idealization (attributing exaggerated positive qualities to self or others)

Im not sure exactly, but this one seems like rationalization... Or we could say its projection too...

(rationalization:dealing with stress by concealing the true motivations for a thought, action, or feeling by using elaborate, reassuring, and self-serving (but incorrect) explanations)

well, this one is not really a defense mechanism, more like disorganized behaviour

With that, i end my post with some pictures on Freud Model Personality, the Id, Ego and Superego

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