Defense Mechanisms: My style…

July 30th, 2008 by Dianne Peña

I had a quiz a while ago on my psychiatric nursing concept about psychiatric drugs, defense mechanisms and different theories regarding human development and interpersonal relationships. While reviewing during our break, my group and I brainstormed about the different examples of defense mechanisms because it is very confusing. We argued and everything. I thought what I know was enough but it was not. I still failed the quiz with just a point away from passing. I was quite disappointed because I could have passed if I followed my first instinct nevertheless, I would like to give you the “lay-man’s” meaning and examples of each defense mechanism and let’s see of which applies to you.

1. Compensation– You excel on other things to make up for your deficiencies
example: “I am not that beautiful and so I will study hard to be the Top 1 in class.”

2. Conversion– It is something you feel biologically when stressed or pressured
example: A student experienced stomach ache before taking her examination

3. Denial– A person fails to admit or perceive a particular situation
example: The wife can’t believe that her husband is now dead.

4. Displacement– You let your feelings out to a less threatening thing
example: Your boss got mad at you, when you got out of the office, you slammed the door or you got angry to your girlfriend

5. Identification– You imitate a person through physical attributes
example: A girl blonds her hair because she wanted to be Britney Spears

6. Intellectualization– “No Emotions”
example: The girl was telling her friend that her grandfather died with no emotional expressions at all

7. Introjection– Imitating/portraying attitude, values or beliefs of another person (usually someone superior)
example: The leader of the group acted like her professor to be respected by her group mates.

8. Projection– You blame other things/people where in fact, it applies to you
example: You are mad to your friend who is very defensive where in fact, you are the one who is defensive

9. Rationalization– Giving excuses for one’s faults to avoid conflicts or low self-esteem
example: A girl bumped into a side mirror of a car while walking at the same time texting, she blames the side mirror for the pain she experienced.

10. Reaction Formation– “Being Plastic” You exhibit the opposite feelings towards a thing or situation
example: You were mad at your friend but you tell our other friends that she is very nice

11. Regression– Going back to the times when you were a kid
example: A teen-ager stomped her feet and cried when she wasn’t allowed to go to the party

12. Repression– “Mother of all defense mechanisms” You eventually forget unwanted experiences as time passes
example: The girl doesn’t cry anymore 6 months after her mother died but she still feels the pain

13. Isolation– “being objective” “being professional”
example: You hate your professor for dismissing you late but when you talk to her and asked for something, you forget that she dismisses you late and not get mad

14. Sublimation– Venting out to acceptable behavior to make up for unacceptable behavior
example: A person who likes gossips became a entertainment column writer

15. Suppression– Conscious forgetting of certain unwanted feeling or situation
example: A student doesn’t want to talk about grades after receiving a failing mark on an exam

16. Undoing– “Making-up” for your faults or mistakes
example: A friend forgot to greet you on your birthday, he gave you a cake the next day.

17. Dissociation– temporary alteration in a person’s consciousness
example: A girl was raped, when she was asked to narrate the story the day after, she forgot the details of the incident

After our review, we applied those terms for us to easily remember everything and it was fun because we got to analyze each situation. Giving examples to each kinds is more effective than merely memorizing each meaning.

What defense mechanisms apply to me? Can I say… All of the above? Well… it depends on the situation! LOL! But I believe UNDOING is the favorite defense mechanism not only for men but also for women thinking that they gain benefits instantly. LOL!

How about you?=D

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6 Responses to “Defense Mechanisms: My style…”


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