Defense mechanisms play a very important role both in the adaptation of the person to the environment and in his development. One of the most striking and important facts of Personality Development is its constant change. Although this change continues throughout life, it is most evident in infancy, childhood and adolescence. During development, the ego structurally differentiates and dynamically increases its control over the impulsive sources of energy.
The changes that occur in the whole personality are the result of five conditions.
* Disappointing warnings from the outside world resulting in disappointment
* Personal inadequacies
All the obstacles that a person encounters in the process of maturation and his struggle with them, the effort he puts into overcoming these obstacles develop his personality. In this development, the ego creates a number of Defense Mechanisms in an effort to protect the organism to which it belongs. Every person, normal or neurotic, uses one or more of these defense mechanisms in adapting to life.
In summary, we can say Personality Behaviors = Development + Defense Mechanisms.
Conflict Defense Mechanism
It is the encounter of the organism with multiple incompatible impulse objects. We can examine the conflict in three groups:
berthing-docking: Occurs when two or more objects of purpose with positive value are found side by side and the person has to choose one of them.
away-away: To be faced with two or more negative situations or objects (spit up mustache, spit down beard,…).
approach-departure: Occurs when an object of purpose has both positive and negative aspects (two lovers quarrel all the time when they are together but miss each other when apart).
Anxiety:In the psychoanalytic sense, anxiety is the result of a state of conflict and disruption of the balance between the idle ego or the ego and superego.
Every living thing has common defense mechanisms against dangerous stimuli from the outside world. These are usually in the form of escaping or removing the painful stimuli. When it comes to the self’s defense mechanisms, this should not be thought of as a reaction against external dangers. The self’s defense mechanisms are self-operations used against conflict and anxiety. They are usually unconscious processes. They are found in the unconscious side of the ego. The individual is neither conscious of the danger nor of the defense he uses.
There are many different kinds of defenses of the self in conflict and anxiety that serve to explain the true meaning of many complex behaviors. Below are the most commonly used defense mechanisms.
Repression Defense Mechanism
It is the pushing and keeping of memories and experiences in the unconscious. It is the basis for all other defense mechanisms. The urges, desires, memories, and emotions that have been pushed and held in the unconscious are generally not accepted by the self. In other words, these are the elements that are forbidden by the superego (superego) and that cause pain and anxiety to the self. Therefore, they are suppressed.
Unconscious emotions and impulses tend to rise to the level of consciousness and manifest themselves when the suppression mechanism is weakened. The ego then perceives a situation of danger and symptoms of anxiety may appear. Some repressed impulses and conflicts can lead to very different behavioral patterns or disorders in adult life. For example, a person who has not resolved the Oediepus (oedipus) complex may experience sexual potency problems, inability to marry, excessively contradictory attitudes towards the opposite sex, and inappropriate identification symptoms in adult life. In addition, suppression may appear as slips of tongue and movement in daily life.
Denial-Denial Defense Mechanism
Ignoring or not seeing a reality that is perceived as dangerous for the self and that can cause anxiety is a very common form of primitive defense in varying degrees. Many of our apologies, shame, or guilt-inducing past experiences may not only be subconscious, but we may also perceive them as if they never happened. Anger, anger is the most denied emotion. Although his anger is evident, the person may deny it without even realizing it.
Projection Defense Mechanism
It is the perception of some emotion, impulse, need or life event as being transferred, reflected, external or directed towards oneself from the outside.
In the projection mechanism, the person sees an impulse that he has denied in himself (which is an impulse that is not approved by the society) in others, or he thinks that others see this impulse in himself. A person with feelings of anger and resentment may think, “They are angry with me, they hate me.” Here, both denial (I don’t get angry) and projection (they have them) mechanisms are at work.
Compensation Defense Mechanism
Compensatory reactions are developed against feelings of inadequacy, which are rooted in a person’s real or imaginary shortcomings. For example, an individual with a physical disability may compensate for the negative effects of this condition as a result of their continuous efforts. As a matter of fact, a person who was injured due to polio compensated for his disability as an Olympic swimming champion as a result of his hard work.
Sublimation Defense Mechanism
In the sublimation mechanism, primitive impulses, tendencies and desires that are not approved by the society are turned from their natural goals and transformed into activities that are appreciated by the society.
Since the destructive tendencies that can be observed in their simplest form in childhood will not be approved by the society in adulthood, such a person can glorify this tendency, for example, as a good explosives or weapons expert.
REPLACEMENT) Defense mechanism
It is the directing of an impulse or emotion from its original object to another object. Conflict and anxiety can be reduced or prevented to some extent by directing an impulse that may cause conflict and anxiety, and which is not accepted by the self, to another object instead of the object to which it is directed (to get angry with the boss and take his pain out of the household).
Reaction-Formation Defense Mechanism
A person can also defend his/her self by reacting against the unconscious impulses and tendencies within himself. For example, against the grudge, hatred and rudeness tendencies, the person is extremely kind and gentle; He can be abnormally picky about filth and unclean tendencies and a lover of cleanliness. Many impulses and needs that are not accepted by the self can be tried to be suppressed with an extremely oppressive, bigoted, moralistic attitude.
Emotional Insulation Defense Mechanism
The emotional isolation mechanism can work in a variety of ways. One of them is to gain independence from other people and take precautions against their emotional needs being affected by them. Such a person tries to protect himself from disappointment and injury by not allowing emotionality in his relationships. These people cover their emotional needs with a lid.
People who stay in prison for a long time go into an emotional isolation in order to be protected from the pain of being blocked and live every day as long as they can without thinking about the next day. Even though people who are considered normal use the mechanism of isolation against some hurts and disappointments, they take some risks in life situations that require active participation. However, since some people use this mechanism as a shell to protect themselves from all kinds of pain, they also reduce their active and healthy participation in life. These people tend to interpret lack of emotion as strength.
Undoing Defense Mechanism
The internalized values of parents and later society impose the responsibility of blaming, judging and punishing oneself for inappropriate behavior. The do-or-break mechanism is determined by the person giving up the thought or behavior that is not approved by himself and his environment, and if such a word or action is expressed, he fixes the situation that has arisen. In other words, this mechanism is developed against feelings of guilt, and it is almost like someone who misspelled a word, clearing the paper with an eraser and rewriting that word. It is learned in childhood that correcting the wrong done or apologizing for it can transform the threat of punishment into forgiveness.
The make-break mechanism is very often used in daily life. The apologies we ask for our wrongdoings, the alms we give in return for our sins, and the occasional regret we feel are the products of this mechanism. The assurance of confession or forgiveness of sins in some religions reflects the intense need for forgiveness of wrongs and the ability to start all over again.
Conversion Defense Mechanism
Transformation is a neurotic defense mechanism that occurs in the form of symptoms of physical illness that has no real organic cause, in order to prevent unconscious emotions that may cause anxiety from reaching the conscious level or to escape from challenging environmental situations.
ACETISM (Asceticism-Zhitism) Defense Mechanism
This is a defense especially seen in adolescents. At this stage, in a young person who is really affected by personal or social pressures and inhibitions, a withdrawal from all pleasurable activities, especially sex, is observed when sexual urges reach an unbearable level. It disappears spontaneously after mid-adolescence. Such people easily fall prey to cult and sect predators.
FANCY Defense Mechanism
Fantasies are ‘backups’ created by the human mind to resolve conflicts, or rather to escape from them. The conscious ones are simply called daydreams. What we are talking about here are those who are ‘superconscious’. In early childhood, fantasies occupy many percent of mental functions and are almost equivalent beyond consciousness. These are thought to have formed the bulk of the “primitive suppressions”.
Dreams can also fall into the fantasy group. But they are much more symbolic and much less realistic. Dreams, like fantasies, have desirable qualities.
Introduction to psychology_Morgan