19 defense mechanisms against anxiety that you should know

Defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological reactions that protect you from anxiety and things you don't want to think about or deal with. For the first time, Sigmund Freud explained in his psychoanalytic theory that the defense mechanism protects humans from anxiety. In today's article, we introduce the types of defense mechanisms in psychology and how they work. Stay tuned.

BingMag.com 19 defense mechanisms against anxiety that you should know

Defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological reactions that protect you from anxiety and things you don't want to think about or deal with. For the first time, Sigmund Freud explained in his psychoanalytic theory that the defense mechanism protects humans from anxiety. In today's article, we introduce the types of defense mechanisms in psychology and how they work. Stay tuned.

Key Defense Mechanisms

Sigmund Freud's daughter, Anna Freud, described several different defense mechanisms used by the ego. is responsible for measuring reality) are used. Other researchers have described a wide range of defense mechanisms.

1. Displacement

Have you ever taken out your frustrations on your family and friends after having a really bad day at work? In this situation, you have experienced a displacement defense mechanism, which involves transferring negative emotions to people or objects that are less threatening.

Displaced aggression is a common example of a defense mechanism. For example, instead of arguing with your boss, you express your anger toward an object or person that poses no threat (such as your spouse, children, or pets).

2. Denial

Denial is probably one of the most well-known defense mechanisms, often used to describe situations where a person is unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth. People addicted to drugs or alcohol are often in denial that a problem exists, while victims of traumatic events may deny that these events occurred. Being something a person denies the truth, because it is very painful for him to face it. Denial protects the ego from things one cannot cope with. However, the use of this mechanism requires spending considerable energy.

3. Suppression and Suppression

Suppression keeps information away from the field of consciousness. However, these memories do not disappear, but continue to influence our behavior. For example, a person who was abused as a child and repressed memories of that abuse may later have difficulty communicating.

Sometimes they may consciously push unwanted information out of their awareness. This process is called quenching. However, it seems that in most cases, the deletion of anxiety-provoking memories occurs unconsciously.

4. Sublimation

BingMag.com 19 defense mechanisms against anxiety that you should know

This defense mechanism allows us to project unwanted impulses in a more acceptable way. . For example, someone who is extremely angry may use kickboxing as a means of expressing frustration. Freud believed that sublimation is a sign of maturity that allows people to act in a way that is socially acceptable.

5. Projection

The defense mechanism of projection involves taking unacceptable characteristics or feelings of oneself and attributing them to others. For example, you may not like someone and say that they are hostile to me. In fact, with this sentence, you want to prove to yourself that your disinterest has a specific reason.

6. Rationalization

Rationalization helps reduce anxiety by thinking about events in a cold and dispassionate way. This defense mechanism allows us to avoid thinking about the stressful and emotional side of the situation and focus only on the logical part.

For example, a person who has just found out that a disease is incurable, he may focus on researching his illness to stay away from reality and his feelings about it.

7. Reasoning

In this defense mechanism, a person explains an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical way to avoid facing its real reasons. For example, a student may blame a low grade on the teacher instead of a lack of preparation.

Giving reasons not only prevents anxiety, but can also protect self-esteem. Usually, people attribute their successes to their own characteristics and skills, while blaming failures on other people or external forces.

8. Regression

Sometimes, when people are faced with stressful events, they abandon coping strategies and go to behavioral patterns that were used in previous stages of development.

According to Anna Freud, people project behaviors related to that stage of psychosexual development in which they are fixed. For example, a person who is established in the early stages of development may cry or become angry upon hearing unpleasant news.

According to Freud, behaviors Regressions are different depending on the stage in which the person is established. For example, a person stabilized in the oral stage may smoke excessively or become very verbally aggressive. Consolidation at the anal stage may lead to excessive neatness or irregularity.

9. Reverse Reaction

BingMag.com 19 defense mechanisms against anxiety that you should know

Reverse reaction reduces anxiety by considering the opposite feeling or behavior. For example, you might be too friendly with someone you dislike a lot to hide your true feelings.

Other Defense Mechanisms

After Freud first After describing the main defense mechanisms, researchers introduced other ways to reduce anxiety. Some of these defense mechanisms are: 10. Extraversion: Instead of accepting and tolerating his feelings, the person reacts inappropriately. For example, instead of telling someone you are angry with them, you yell at them or throw something against the wall.

11. Inhibition of the target: It means accepting the modified form of the original target. For example, instead of becoming a professional athlete, you become a school basketball coach.

12. Altruism: It refers to satisfying inner needs by helping others. For example, a person who has given up drug use tries to help others to quit. 13. Avoidance: Refusing to face unpleasant objects or situations. For example, instead of arguing with someone, you may avoid them.

14. Compensating: It means achieving success in one area to compensate for failure in other areas. For example, a person who has failed academically may make up for this failure by excelling in sports. 15. Dissociation: The person tries to separate from or eliminate their experience. For example, when facing stressful situations, you mentally and emotionally separate yourself from it.

16. Fantasy: A person avoids facing reality by retreating to a safe place in his mind. When something causes you anxiety, you may retreat into your inner world, where the cause of the stress cannot harm you.

17. Humor: refers to the funny or ironic aspects of a situation. For example, a person starts joking in a stressful or traumatic situation.

18. Passive aggression: It means indirect expression of anger. For example, instead of telling someone that you are upset, you ignore them.

19. Neutralization: means trying to compensate for inappropriate thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. For example, if you hurt someone's feelings, you might suggest that they do something to reduce their anxiety or guilt.

Defense mechanisms are often considered a negative reaction, but we all have them at times. We need them in a crisis to temporarily reduce stress and protect our self-esteem. Some of these mechanisms can be more useful than others. For example, using humor to overcome a stressful and anxiety-provoking situation is considered an adaptive defense mechanism.

What does a defense mechanism do?

BingMag.com 19 defense mechanisms against anxiety that you should know

According to Sigmund Freud, human personality consists of three elements: id, ego, and superego. In Sigmund Freud's personality model, the ego is the aspect of the personality that deals with reality and must cope with the conflicting demands of the entity and the superego:

  • Entity: is part of the personality. which exists since birth and seeks to fulfill all desires, needs and motivations. This part of the personality includes instinctive behaviors.
  • Superego: It is a part of the personality that includes moral and ideal standards. The superego includes all the internalized values that we get from our parents, other family members, religion and society.

In order to deal with anxiety, Freud believed that the ego's defense mechanisms against the created conflicts Protected by the entity, superego and reality. So what happens if the ego cannot cope with our desires, limitations and moral standards?

According to Freud, anxiety is an unpleasant internal state that people try to avoid. Anxiety sends a signal to the ego that things are not going as they should. As a result, the ego uses defense mechanisms to help reduce anxiety.

Types of anxiety

Not all anxieties and worries come from the same sources. The three types of anxiety introduced by Freud are:

  • Moral anxiety: Fear of violating our own moral principles.
  • Neurotic anxiety. : Unconscious concern for going out of control of the entity (instincts).
  • True anxiety: Fear of Real world events. Usually, the cause of this anxiety can be easily identified. For example, you may be afraid of being bitten by a nearby dog. The most common way to reduce this anxiety is to avoid the threatening factor.

It is possible that we consciously use coping mechanisms to manage anxiety, but in most cases, these mechanisms are used unconsciously to distort reality. They activate.

All defense mechanisms can be unhealthy, but they are adaptive and allow us to function normally. The biggest problems arise when defense mechanisms are overused. Psychoanalysis tries to help the person to discover these unconscious defense mechanisms and find better and healthier ways to deal with anxiety.

Final Word

Remember that defense mechanisms can also be good and bad They protect the ego from stress, but may prevent you from facing reality and lead you to self-deception. If you find that the overuse of certain defense mechanisms is negatively affecting your life, consult a mental health professional.

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