Defense Mechanisms - A List of Choices
- acting out - giving expression to forbidden desires without concern for negative consequences.
- compensation - hiding a weakness in one area by excelling or being rewarded in another.
- denial - refusing to acknowledge the thought or feeling
- displacement - channelling thoughts or feelings to a neutral or weaker person or object..
- emotional insulation - withdrawing into inaction so one doesn't get hurt.
- externalisation - pinpointing outside forces as the cause of our behaviour so we don't have to accept personal responsibility for our actions.
- fantasizing - not paying attention or using daydreams to escape an uncomfortable situation.
- identification - identifying oneself with a prestigious individual or institution to build one's sense of self-worth.
- intellectualisation - coming up with highly intellectual reasons or convincing arguments to justify the situation and keep attention away from feelings.
- introjection - adopting external values and standards as one's own to ensure those standards are not used against him/her.
- isolation - separating feelings and thoughts that are connected
- isolation of affect - 'thinking' feelings rather than actually experiencing them
- know it all
- laughing it off
- minimizing - writing off problematic events and behaviors as being too minor to worry about.
- passive aggression - indirect and unassertive expression of aggression towards another.
- projection - perceiving that another has our thoughts or feelings so we don't have to own them.
- rationalization - thinking up reasons to justify what's happening while ignoring one's feelings.
- reaction formation - unconsciously thinking, feeling and acting in ways that are opposite to how we really think and feel.
- regression - slipping back into old, often immature, ways of behaving to release the feelings.
- repression - burying thoughts and feelings in our unconscious so we no longer have memory of them.
- seeking approval
- sublimation - channelling socially unacceptable feelings into a socially productive activity.
- suppression - some awareness of a thought or feeling, but we try to hide it.
- undoing - doing the opposite of how one feels to try to negate the feelings.
4 FREE Tools for Emotional Development, Awareness and Self Healing –
Check out our 7 steps to self healing workbook and many other Self Healing Resources.