Defense Mechanisms

February 28, 2018

Everyone uses defense mechanisms, whether you think you do or do not.  However, we all have different ways of coping with situations.  For instance, say two different people happened to fail their math test.  Chances are each person dealt with the situation in a completely different way than the other.  One person may go home and think that grade does not matter and go on with life.  On the other hand, the other person could go home and demoralize himself because he did not meet his expectations.  Defense mechanisms are important because it is our way of coping with a situation.


There are multiple types of defense mechanisms, one being displacement.  Displacement means to redirect negative impulses toward someone or something more acceptable.  I have dealt with displacement before.  A couple years ago, if I was mad or disappointed about something, I would blame myself.  Even if I did not have control over the situation, I would tear myself apart because I believed it was my fault.  Most people who use displacement go after their parents or siblings, but I went after myself.  I found myself in tears multiple times because I was my own bully.  For example, one Saturday night I had no plans and was bored.  I texted most of my friends asking to hang out, but most were already busy.  I then used my frustration out on myself.  I would call myself a loser who no one likes, just because my friends had plans already.  Displacement, in my case, was more harmful than beneficial because I was bringing myself down.  However, there are multiple ways displacement can be a beneficial way of dealing with stress.  One example can be a punching bag because you are bringing your anger out on an inanimate object instead of an actual person.  Another defense mechanism I have used throughout my life is projection, pointing the finger at someone else for your own actions.  I always did this when I was younger because I never wanted to be in trouble.  For instance, one time I spilled a drink on the ground and did not pick it up.  Later that day my mom came into my room and asked me if I spilled a drink.  Being terrified of suffering the consequences, I blamed my little sister for it.  Instead of admitting my mistakes and suffering the consequences, I blamed my little sister who had nothing to do with it.  On the other hand, denial is another defense mechanism many people use, including myself.  Denial is when a person refuses to admit that a problem exists.  I experienced denial many times throughout my freshman year at Mount Carmel. I was a new student who did not know anyone and I was extremely shy.  I found myself becoming depressed because I felt like I was alone. I started thinking crazy thoughts of maybe I shouldn’t be here anymore. I was in denial of my feelings.  I did not wanna admit to myself that I was depressed and I needed help.  I now see someone who helps me a lot so I do not feel this way anymore, but I did at one point in my life. Although displacement has benefits, I do not think projection or denial have any good outcomes.  While I was using these defense mechanisms, I felt mad and frustrated. After using them, I felt weak in a way.  There are other ways to get rid of stress and anger.  For instance, yoga is a popular way to escape from the world and relax.  You can also take a hot shower in order to clear your head and open your pores so that you feel better.  By using the humanistic approach to these types of problems, one would view that they are bringing you down in a way, but you can grow up to your potential.  On the other hand, by using the sociocultural approach, one would say that society is the one that is making you feel this way.  In other words, because of society, you are using these defense mechanisms.  Whether or not one agrees, these defense mechanisms are used every day by a variety of people.


Defense mechanisms are different for everyone because everyone handles their problems in certain ways.  For example, I took my anger out on myself when I was frustrated.  However, there are husbands and wives who take their anger out on their spouse or even their children.  Everyone is different, which is why it is important to have such a big variety of defense mechanisms.






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