Your Ultimate Guide To Ego Defence Mechanisms

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There are many things at play which create our psychological state and our personalities, and that drive our actions. While some of these factors are of course external and a result of the environment we exist in, others are very much internalized and exist in our own metal world. What makes this latter category particularly interesting too, is that some of these factors influencing us from within are unknown to us. This is the area that Freud is most famous for looking at – the role of the unconscious mind in influencing our behaviour and our personality and in manifesting itself as all kinds of psychoses. While some of Freuds ideas regarding the unconscious mind (note Im using the word unconscious not subconscious which is a misnomer) are somewhat controversial, the idea of our defence mechanisms is one thats widely accepted and that has become a part of pop culture and our social lexicon. Here we will look at what these defence mechanisms are and how they influence your behaviour.

What Are Defence Mechanisms?

The conscious mind according to Freud is the ego and this is ruled by two unconscious drives: the super ego which is a highly anal and authoritarian voice in our mind, and the ID which is made up of our childlike impulses and desires. The idea is that our superego is developed by society on top of our ID and keeps it in check to prevent us from doing anything not socially acceptable. Meanwhile the superego will attempt to protect the sanctity of our ego and try to ensure that we are happy and at peace. One way it does this is by using defence mechanisms to try and disguise some of our thoughts and experiences and to make them more acceptable so that we dont go crazy. This it accomplishes in a number of ways, some of which you may be familiar with

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Repression: Repression involves our unconscious mind completely blocking out the things that we might find to be unbearable or distressing. This means things like memories of abuse or thoughts that weve had that arent socially acceptable and this is something that a therapist might try to retrieve using regression and hypnosis.

Reaction Formation: In reaction formation you attempt to prove (to yourself as much as the outside world) that you dont think a certain way by acting in the exact opposite manner. For instance someone homophobic may be acting out of fear that they themselves are in fact gay – often this is the case.

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Sublimation: In sublimation we will somehow let our feelings or emotions (our psychic energy) out in a less destructive way. For instance if you start punching a punching bag only to get too carried away and create a scene, then you might actually be sublimating some stress or upset in your life.

Projection: In projection you simply accuse someone else of the traits you are feeling or experiencing. The most obvious example of this is when a child will use no youre angry as a comeback, but many of us will do this to an extent even in our adult lives.

John Simpsons is an avid blogger who has great knowledge in the field of human psychology, hypnosis and meditation. He is currently working for Krown Hypnotherapy Melbourne

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