Nov 02

Freudian Defense Mechanisms: Part II

Why Defense Mechanism?

In psychoanalytic theory, any of a group of mental processes that enables the mind to reach a solution for conflicts or problems. The Ego is unable to resolve; therefore, the mind uses the defense mechanism to protect the ego from harm and social pain.

3) *Repression-
Repression is the unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses. The key to repression is that people do it unconsciously, so they often have very little control over it. “Repressed Memories” are memories that have been unconsciously blocked from access or view.
Example 1:
Sara as an individual who had repressed memories of childhood abused; later on, she has difficulty forming a healthy relationships with people. Sara has a hard time to trust people and to bond a healthy relationship with people.

Example 2:
Jack who has seen a lot of trauma in the war, and he has repressed a lot of emotional and psychological trauma of war memories. He has difficulty acting in a healthy manner with his family.

4) *Regression-
It means going backwards. It is a defense mechanism in which the individual engages in behavior that is belong to the earlier age.

Example 1:
When Sam the younger brother of Sara is born, she is jealous and not very much happy about that. She has started going back to the pattern of her childhood behavior.

Example 2:
While Michel was walking with his father, she confronted a big dog. She was a little scared. After going home, she begins to talk like the time she was much younger, and she holds her father finger and asks for an ice cream. She sits on her daddy’s knee and eat her ice cream.
Most of us DO regress (go back) at some points in life where there was no stress and the life was easy, and it happens to a person who does not have coping strategies.

Sometimes, there is a correlation between *REGRESSION* and *FIXATION* stage at psycho sexual development. It is like a bridge which connects neck pain to a headache.

Example 3:
Sara has begun to chew on her pencils.
According to her Analyst she has an Oral Fixation. That chewing on pencil has happened again due to stress of final exam. Stress that she is experiencing now is due to the final exam. She is regressing to a behavior that she was fixated at childhood.

Example 4:
Rose got married about 3 weeks ago. She begins to have a little marital problems with her new husband . The first thing that she does, she goes back to her parents home where there was no marital quarrel, and less stress for her.

Example 5:
Sara is a 14 years old girl who is missing her father at home.
She has been going to her room and playing with her toys the way she was playing during child hood.
Sara is unconsciously regressing to childlike behavior; at the time, her father was around, and she was not missing him.

Usually, psychoanalysts say the regression is harmless and a person regresses to vent his or her feelings of frustration, at the time; that he or she is unable to cope with adult situations and problems.

Regression becomes a problem only when it is used regularly to avoid situations and problems.


Saeid R. Sedaghat


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