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  • Rose Faquir

Defence Mechanism

People often use defence mechanisms to block out a negative experience. Such as guilt or shame, and to distance themselves from their uncomfortable emotions. The defence mechanism is often unconscious that most people are unaware they are using it. Some of the defence mechanism includes:

1. Denial You use denial to avoid dealing with painful emotions and the reality of unfortunate circumstances. For example, a lady who recently experiences a broken relationship may claim that she has accepted the fact and move on, even though she is still grieving the loss.

2. Repression Repression is hiding painful memories or/and irrational beliefs into the unconscious in the hope of forgetting them. However, the painful memories and irrational belief manifested themselves through negative behaviours such as controlling, temperamental and anxiety.

3. Projection It is unconsciously taking unwanted emotions you don't like about yourself and attributing them to someone else. For example, being angry at your friend for being late, because you are often late.

4. Displacement Displacement is directing your anger towards a less threatening person. For example, a man who returns home after a difficult day at work displace his rage towards his co-workers on his wife and children.

5. Rationalisation A rationalisation is an attempt to justify wrong behaviour with logical reasons. For example, parents who use harsh methods to discipline their child may rationalise that they do it for the child's benefit.

6. Reaction formation Reaction Formation is acting in the opposite way of how you feel. For example, trauma victims may feel very angry at the injustice they suffer. But instead of processing the anger, they become very gentle and polite.

Defence mechanisms are not necessarily destructive. However, using a defence mechanism for an extended period may eventually disconnect you from your emotion and affect how you relate to others. It is essential to own your feeling and process them with a professional counsellor.


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