Posted by: Aya Thorgren | August 15, 2014

Inner and Outer Obstacles – Frustrations and Defense Mechanisms

If you are constantly battling limitations and obstacles, inner or outer, it can lead to frustrations and then defense mechanisms to deal with this anxiety and distress, ways that we protect ourselves.

“Defence mechanisms may result in healthy or unhealthy consequences depending on the circumstances and frequency the mechanism is used.[4] In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defence mechanisms are psychological strategies brought into play by theunconscious mind[5] to manipulate, deny, or distort reality in order to defend against feelings of anxiety and unacceptable impulses to maintain one’s self schema“- Wikipedia


Some of these defenses can be helpful, they allow people to temporarily ease stress during critical times, allowing them to focus on what is necessary in the moment., but some are fixed behaviours that are not great solutions in conflict situations, they are very common and aren,t harmful or abnormal unless exaggerated, which is important not to fall into neurosis- a special form of self defense;


“Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving distress but neither delusions nor hallucinations, whereby behavior is not outside socially acceptable norms.[1] It is also known as psychoneurosis or neurotic disorder, and thus those suffering from it are said to be neurotic.” Wikipedia


Rationalisation- Creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior.

Identification-Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group.

Displacement-Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target.

Projection-Attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another.

Regression-A reversion to immature patterns of behavior.

Reaction Formation-Behaving in a way that is exactly the opposite of one’s true feelings.

Repression-Keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious

Intellectualizion -Reducing anxiety by thinking about events in a cold, clinical way

Sublimation- Allows us to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form

Compensation-Overachieving in one area to compensate for failures in another

Humor: Pointing out the funny or ironic aspects of a situation.

Denial- Denial is the refusal to accept reality



I  happened to delve into sublimation and humor.

“In psychology, sublimation is a mature type of defense mechanism where socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations are consciously transformed into socially acceptable actions or behavior, possibly resulting in a long-term conversion of the initial impulse. Sigmund Freud believed that sublimation was a sign of maturity (indeed, of civilization), allowing people to function normally in culturally acceptable ways. He defined sublimation as the process of deflecting sexual instincts into acts of higher social valuation, being “an especially conspicuous feature of cultural development; it is what makes it possible for higher psychical activities, scientific, artistic or ideological, to play such an important part in civilised life”.[1] Wade and Tavris present a similar view, stating that sublimation is when displacement “serves a higher cultural or socially useful purpose, as in the creation of art or inventions”- Wikipedia

Love !




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