Certain thoughts or impulses can generate a Psychological trastorn in a person. To keep such ideas in check, human beings appeal to defense mechanisms, consisting of mental operations that lack reasoning and that allow minimizing the effects of a situation that causes stress. In this way, the defense mechanism helps the person’s psyche to maintain its normal functioning.
The psyche of the human being is composed of various modes of behavior They are formed from genetics, unconscious instinct, and developmental characteristics. Healthy subjects manage to preserve a Balance between these three forces. When one of them prevails over the others (for example, instinct about genetics or factors arising from development), defense mechanisms act to restore balance.
Specifically, defense mechanisms that are also called coping strategies are psychological processes that do not develop consciously but automatic, to protect an individual against a certain situation of stress or anxiety, it may be due to external threats (such as embarrassing situations) or insider threats (as are unacceptable memories or feelings). Through them, the individual manages to overcome anguish or frustration.
The psychonoalists recognize various defense mechanisms, some of them are:
The repression, through which the person keeps away from consciousness those impulses or thoughts that would be unacceptable for them. In this way, eliminate those feelings of anxiety or that cause pain; however if a person represses too many impulses, the impressive expenditure of energy that must be used to keep them away, will sooner or later charge him with some kind of emotional imbalance. According to Freud this is the fundamental defense mechanism of every human being; he himself used both terms synonymously (repression and defense).
The denial is the mechanism through which a person refuses to accept a certain situation or feeling; for example those mothers who refuse to accept the death of their children in combat and continue to live as if nothing had happened. In many things, denial resembles repression in terms of both keeping aspects that the person cannot face away from consciousness.
Through the projection, An individual attributes their feelings or impulses that you do not consider appropriate to another person to hide from yourself what you don’t want to see about yourself. For example, a person who feels hostility towards others, assures that they are the ones who have this feeling against him to justify his withdrawal.
The rationalization is a mechanism by which a person reduces their anxiety through rational arguments and excuses, which help you to accept a reality that in your eyes is not acceptable. An example may be that of a student who fails a subject and accuses the teacher of having a mania for it.
Another mechanism is intellectualization which is a way of distancing oneself from what implies a threat, creating a cold and absolutely analytical attitude and detachment. For example, a person who has felt a strong rejection by his family and then leaves home and loses contact with them, assuming a position of improvement to prevent them from continuing to harm him.
The regression It is the mechanism through which an individual cannot face a certain threat. adhere to a regression attitude (he returns to the primary stages of psychosexual development) because of having lived a situation that he was not prepared to face in a healthy way, or a fixation that was not fully satisfied.
Another mechanism is called displacement through which the person change the objective of its impulse when the target that has been chosen is threatening to the subject; By modifying the course of your emotions, your anxiety decreases. It usually happens when a person pays it with another with whom he has a close relationship because he cannot directly confront the one against whom he feels resentment or some violent feeling.
The sublimation is the mechanism by which a person transform an impulse that she can appear dangerous in something that satisfies her and makes her feel socially mature and acceptable. For example, someone who is attracted to an individual who is forbidden to him, sublimates that sexual energy through writing or other action that is satisfying to him.
Like these, there are many other defense mechanisms, and according to each specialist the list may be more or less long.
Finally, it is necessary to clarify that in those cases in which the defense mechanisms are not enough to restore balance, the individual begins to experience reactions such as depression, stress Y anxiety. In such cases, the person should seek the help of a professional in order to relearn their own feelings and channel them in a way that does not harm them. Through therapy the person learns to understand their defense mechanisms and analyze which ones are really protecting them and which ones are being harmful to their emotional health.