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How Not To Recognize the Truth:
Ego-defense Mechanisms (2)

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Part 2
Previous: Introduction, denial, rationalization, defence in perception, reaction formation, displacement, intellectualization < Part 1

Projection
Projection is used very frequently; it is ascribing one's own unacceptable features, thoughts or feeling to other people. For example you interpret your aversion to somebody so that he or she does not like you.

Compensation
Compensation is a way of mastering an insufficiency, when people strive for something with extreme efforts. For instance a not very smart student wants to excel in a sport or becomes a tough Streetfighter. As an example of hypercompensation let's take Demosthenes, who, having a speech defect, decided to become a great speaker. He achieved that by long-term practice and by special methods – he tried to shout down the sea surf, put little stones in his mouth and articulated that way etc.

Identification
If identification is being used, a person boosts his or her prestige by the help of imitating someone else who possesses a high reputation, his or her conduct, values and attitudes, thereby the imitating person appropriates as though part of the other one's successes. An example can be a beginning singer who imitates the gestures, locution and fashion of a star.

Escape to fantasy
Escape to fantasy shows in day dreaming – imaginative experiencing of something unattainable. For instance an unsuccessful writer dreams how he or she holds briefings and comes short of giving signatures. Quite common are fantasies with sexual and great success topics.

Regression
Regression can be recognized if a person in a frustrating situation acts in an immature and outworn manner. It is a sort of return in time to such type of behaviour which belongs to a former developmental phase. For example an adult acts like a child – in an extreme discussion he or she starts raving, crying or banging a door.

Fixation
Fixation means sticking to a certain way of reaction, although its ineffectiveness has been proved repeatedly. One refuses to admit having made a mistake and by repeating the same methods he or she wants to manifest that the original solution was right. People, for example, choose the same types of partners although the former relationships ended in separation for the same reasons.

Repression
Repression is removing the troublesome intentions or thoughts out of consciousness so that they do not cause anxiety. For instance someone forgets the name of a person who guestionably hurt him or her.

Escape
Escape represents an endeavour to fall back from the situations in which anxiety is felt. For example a person who tried to contact other people in vain, draws off and isolates himself or herself from the surroundings.

Resignation
Resignation and apathy comprises interrupting of contact with the surroundings and excluding emotional participation. Typically, a child, who has never been praised for his or her school results, does their necessary school duties without any interest.

Aggression
Aggression is assaulting the sources of frustration, it is an endeavour to gain one's point by the help of violence. For example a person who has been ridiculed for a long time provokes a fight.

Self-accusation
Self-accusation is an inwardly directed aggression – aggression against his or her own person. Such people accuse and humiliate themselves, by which means they attract the attention of other people, and at the same time they punish themselves this way and thereby they cope with their feeling of guilt. It is also prevention so other people don't do it (humiliating and punishing). For example a person says all the time that he or she is very bad and mean and do not deserve to have any friends, which attracts other people's attention, sympathy and consolation.

Super-conformity
Super-conformity is one of the possible reactions in situations of failure. An individual starts to perform his or her duties at 200% in order to avoid another failure and frustration. For example an employee, who was reprimanded for being late for work, begins to come much, much earlier.

The ego-defense mechanisms, described here so far, belong to pathological or neurotic defense mechanisms. But there are a few mature and healthy ones – for instance humour, altruism, thought suppression, sublimation (transferring unacceptable tendencies into creditable work or area, e.g. it is supposed that dentists sublimate their aggression into their, helpful and respected, work) or anticipation (preparing for possible adverse development).

Ego-defense mechanisms (we are talking about the neurotic and pathological ones) are often effective, but in principle their use is the deceiving of ourselves. They are fine as buffers – they can help us overcome the initial impact of uneasy emotions; but after this phase we should cope with the situation in a mature and full-value manner. The less we use the ego-defense mechanisms, the stronger our identity is. And vice versa, those whose self-concept is unstable, need psychological crutches very badly so their flimsy self has something to lean on. As we advance on our way of self-knowing and cognition in general, the need to use ego-defense mechanisms goes down gradually.

In conclusion – try to guess which defense mechanism that we dealt with corresponds with the example at the very beginning:

Ego-defense mechanisms are known and used by probably all of us. For example: We have a chance of getting a very desirable job. We go through an interview, try our best and in the end we are informed that we didn't succeed and someone else got the job. One possible reaction is to have a think and admit our own imperfection. Or we can say to ourselves that, after all, we never wanted the job that much because it's too far or because the boss is an idiot and they didn't offer any special salary either... so that it doesn’t matter that it didn’t work out.

The correct answer can be found here.


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ego defense mechanisms

How Not To Recognize the Truth
Denial, Rationalization, Defence in Perception, Reaction Formation, Displacement... Most probably you have used all of these and many others as well. So stop deceiving yourself and learn the truth.