-4 Commonly Used Defense Mechanisms-
Keeping a fresh perspective is crucial for living, working, and enjoying our daily lives. You may wake up one spring morning energized with ideas to start anew. As the day goes on, however, it may become difficult to maintain this positive attitude. Let us discuss how defense mechanisms may be causing difficulties in our daily lives.
Recognizing Mental Mechanisms
Mental mechanisms are psychological responses that in the past have allowed us to cope with life, avoid confrontation, or relieve stress and anxiety. Certain defense mechanisms may have been useful during childhood, but now they may be causing more harm than good in our adult lives.Yes, healthy individuals use different defenses in life for many good reasons, but you do not want an unconscious defense mechanism to block happiness or limit your potential.
Common Types of Mental Mechanisms
There are many types mental mechanisms in which we repeat negative patterns from our past. Here are tips for four mental mechanisms to avoid:
- Denial: Refusing to experience a situation or accept a truth is an act of denial. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance and support for achieving acceptance about something. The sooner you understand and accept it, the sooner you can move on to better outcomes.
- Projection: Are you projecting your own feelings or motives to someone else? For example, do you assume that a person dislikes you, or is it true that you are the one with feelings of dislike for that person? Be honest about your true feelings and evaluate your actions to ensure you are not attributing your own issues or emotions to someone else.
- Displacement: Acting out an impulse or punishment on a substitute object or person is common. Your boss yelled at you, so you came home and yelled at your spouse. Rather than giving into this impulse, take time to understand the choices and resources available to us as adults for stress management, support, and mental health.
- Repression: Sometimes your ego will unconsciously block disturbing thoughts from your conscious. Repressed feelings often lead to the development of additional defense mechanisms. Good therapy with a competent and trustworthy therapist will help you gradually get in touch with repressed thoughts, feelings, and memories in a way that your mind can tolerate. The more we are in touch with different parts of our minds and our lives, the better we are able to function.
An important part of therapy is addressing mental mechanisms and learning how to differentiate between the past and the present. Present circumstances are often different from the past in one way or another, which is why today is a great day to start anew and find a fresh perspective.
“Therapy with a good, well-trained therapist can help us understand unconscious mechanisms and change them, leading then to happier relationships and a more fulfilled life,” says Dr. Aisha Abbasi, Founder and Center Director of Tampa Bay Center for Psychological Health.