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blog  /  

Let’s talk about Defense Mechanisms

October 29, 2020

You might have heard of the term “Defense Mechanisms”. It’s a psychological term to describe what your mind does to “defend” itself. But what are we trying to protect? How does it work? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

We all have a sense of self. This sense of ourselves is very important. If we have a good opinion of ourselves, life is great! But if we have a bad opinion of ourselves, life can be miserable. Our understanding of ourselves is another word for our “ego”, but we can also use the word “identity”.

When we are proud of our identity, we want to keep that up. We want to continue to be able to look in the mirror and say “hey, I’m awesome”. Sometimes our identity is threatened in some way. Maybe there’s a criticism, maybe a mistake is brought to light, maybe there’s a flaw you discovered. What happens then? That’s when our subconscious “Defense Mechanisms” might come into play.

There are two major categories of “Defense Mechanisms”. The first are Mature defense mechanisms and the second are Immature defense mechanisms. Mature defense mechanisms are ones that do not distort your understanding of reality. Immature defense mechanisms are ones that distort your understanding of reality. As you can imagine, we want more mature ones than immature ones.

An example of a mature defense mechanism is humor. When we encounter something distressing or upsetting, we might decide to see the bright side of things or the irony of a situation. Adding humor to a situation doesn’t distort your sense of reality and it might help cope with stressful situations. Win-win!

An example of an immature defense mechanism is denial. This is a situation when a distressing or upsetting thing happens, you just deny it. You don’t believe it even though it is happening. As you can imagine, doing this a lot can cause a significant distortion of reality. What do you think would happen to the quality of your decisions if you had a lot of subconscious denial going on? It probably wouldn’t help.

There are many Defense Mechanisms and they’re kinda fun to check out. Understanding them can potentially help you catch if you ever distort reality. Also, having a list of the mature defense mechanisms to practice could be very helpful too.

I have a video that talks about whether or not God is a defense mechanism. Check it out here if interested:
Is God a Defense Mechanism?

Dr. Eric

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