Just came from the Psychopathology exam today…it was quite long, but I think I did good especially since I studied for it in the last minutes. I would like to share the most common defense mechanism that most people adapt only up to a point. Some people adapt at least one defensive mechanism, others however; can adapt more than 2 or all of them if they are completely unsecured about themselves (that means they have either depression or anxiety disorders). The list goes like this:

1- Repression

Unacceptable impulses are pushed down into the unconscious and thereby robbed of their power to disrupt us consciously. An example, would be a man who is attracted to his best friend’s girlfriend; he removes his feelings by removing these thoughts into the unconscious and these thoughts might be represented in the man’s dreams.

2- Denial

Refusal to acknowledge an external source of anxiety; that is, to perceive something that is obvious. For example, an anorexic model refuses to believe that is she not eating properly and refuses to listen to her friends about her weight.

3- Projection
Unacceptable impulses are first repressed then attributed to other, that is, an internal threat is converted into an external threat. For example, a student blames the Professor for getting an F on her exam; not accepting the fact that she didn’t prepare for the exam beforehand, so she throws the guilt to the Professor to relieves herself from feeling anxious.

4- Displacement

Involves a transfer of emotion, that is, the person afraid to display certain emotions against whoever has aroused them, so that person releases these feeling to a safer object. The perfect example would be is a husband who is frustrated from his boss, who eventually transfers all his anger and frustration to his wife.

5- Rationalization
Offering a socially acceptable reasons and explanations for something that a person has committed for unconscious or unacceptable motives. That is a girl insists on buying new clothes because her old ones aren’t suitable for a certain occasion or simply because they are outdated. This method is one of the most common defense mechanisms.

6- Isolation

Avoiding unacceptable feelings by cutting them off from events to which they are attached then acting to these events in an emotionless matter. For example, a girl who is sexually molested by her father does not show emotions at all when she is near her father, that is, she totally “smokescreens” her emotion toward her father.

7- Reaction Formation

Repressing feelings that are arousing anxiety and then vehemently professes exactly the opposite. For example, a “secretly” anorexic girl makes fun of thin models, refusing that she is actually just like them or even worse.


The process of reverting back to an earlier stage of development to make an excuse for unacceptable thoughts. A good example would be 20 year-old girls would gather and talk trash about men (just like teenagers) or how bad their boyfriends are, refusing to confess these feelings with them.

9- Undoing

The process of canceling out an acceptable behavior that previously was committed by pretending it was never happen. For example, a man who got into a fight with his friend, and next day, he acts friendly toward him pretending that the fight hasn’t happened.

That’s it folks; although there are many defensive mechanisms that people generally adapt, but these are the most common ones. I confess that my defense mechanisms that I usually adapt are: Rationalization, Undoing, and sometimes by being sarcastic.

How about you?

11 Responses to "Engarde!"

LaiaLy_q8 (visit their site)

i think i use 1 and 9 the most :)

Marzouq (visit their site)

I think number 1 the most, but also excercise or driving helps release the tension!

MiYaFuSHi (visit their site)

I think 1,5 and 6.

but isnt 1 and 6 similar?

Transparently (visit their site)

All except no. 3 maybe. I think some of the examples aren't well formed, and most involve women! Just a realization, nothing else :P

Isabelle (visit their site)

thats so true, i went though every single one of them... it feels weird to read your feelings in black and white like that after the thing u went through...
i really hope u did well on ur exam! let us know :)
and i did, i tagged you :)

Extinct-Dodo (visit their site)

6,7,8, and especially 9 :|

Delicately Realistic (visit their site)

Reaction Formation

I'm bad

The Krispy Dixie (visit their site)

i do 1,2,5 and 9 on a fairly regular basis...

Fallen Angel (visit their site)

@Laialy: Repression and Undoing...that's pretty common among girls ^_^

@Marzouq: Exercising and driving your motorcycle are methods for blowing off some esteem...but I dunno if people use them as defense mechanisms ;)

@Miya: Not exactly. Because with Repression the thoughts are pushed into the unconscious, but with Isolation, these thoughts are existed on the conscious but they never get expressed or these thoughts get “smoke-screened” by the person.

@Transparently: WOW. That's a lot of defense mechanisms you possess there. But I guess you can easily construct your own examples if you understood the definitions.

@Isabelle: Ohhhhh, thanks for your concerns honey. I'll post your tag tonight...thanks for including me ^_^

@DoDo: Yeah, Undoing is pretty common one

@Delicat: No, no you are not bad. These are defense mechanism...besides, these mechanisms that you mentioned showed that you care for the people surrounding you and you don't want them to get all worried...you certainly an unselfish person ^_^

@Krispy: Again, these are one of the most common...not surprised.

3abeer (visit their site)

They say that sarcasim is a way of life.. my life!
I'm sarcastic by nature.. sometimes I go overboard with it.. bas shasawi.. :/

Fallen Angel (visit their site)

@3abeer: there's no such thing as going overboard with sarcasm ^_^

Keep it up ;)