worried black afican boy

Defense Mechanisms people use with examples

Post was last updated: July 7, 2021

worried black afican boyHave you ever wondered why people in Malawi, or anywhere else on this planet, sometimes behave in certain ways but you never seem to have the answers and you just look at them trying to understand what is going on with them? Well, we all have thoughts, feelings, impulses, and memories that can be difficult to deal with. In some cases, people deal with difficult feelings by utilizing what are known as defense mechanisms.

These defense mechanisms are unconscious psychological responses that protect people from feelings of anxiety, threats to self-esteem, and things that they don’t want to think about or deal with.

These defense mechanisms are of different types but in this article will share the five most common types of defense mechanisms that we see everyday in Malawi especially.

Common defense mechanisms

  1. Denial

– This is a situation in which most people seem unable to face reality or admit obvious truth. Denial functions to protect the mind from the things which an individual cannot cope and it involves rejection of existence of a fact or reality. For example losing a loved one through death or end of a relationship one chooses not to accept reality and live like it has not happened.

  1. Displacement.

– This is also another common defense mechanism where a person takes out his frustration on someone or something of lesser power. For example, one quarrels with a boss at work, instead of fighting back with the boss, he takes out his frustration on the wife or kids at home knowing that they cannot fight back. Displacement might also be done on objects like breaking cups, plates, tearing books, etc. as a way of managing stress.

  1. Projection

– On projection a person takes his own unacceptable behavior and ascribes them to another person. For example, if you have a strong dislike for someone, you might actually think its them that do not like you, sometimes could be as worse as creating your own rumors in another person’s name.

  1. Sublimation

– Sublimation is a form of defense mechanism that allows one to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form. For example, a person who is violent might join the military or police as means of venting frustration.

  1. Reaction formation

– This reduces anxiety by taking up the opposite feeling towards a stressful event. For example, laughing instead of crying after a heartbreak, or treating someone you dislike in a friendly manner in order to hide your true feelings.

Some mechanisms can be helpful than others like utilizing humor to overcome a stressful situation. Not all mechanisms can work on everyone, they work according to the psychological state of the person.

We will be adding more mental health related articles in the coming weeks so make sure to visit us daily.