Every person copes with difficult situations or threats in life in different ways. Sigmund Freud said that although defense mechanisms prevent apprehension and or guilt in the short run, they drain a person’s energy and actually causes the problems in a person’s life to worsen eventually. People use defense mechanisms every day without even realizing it. Four defense mechanisms include denial, rationalization, repression, and displacement.
Suppose a woman has been in a serious, loving relationship with a man for over two years, when all of a sudden, they start growing apart. He no longer does cute things for her, doesn’t come home at night, and one day when the couple was driving in his car, she found a brasserie in the backseat. Soon after this, the woman starts noticing several other signs of her partner’s infidelity. Instead of confronting the situation or leaving him, she decides not to believe it. The woman tells herself it isn’t true and pushes away every sign. No matter how obvious her partner’s cheating is, she will not accept the truth. This is an example of the defense mechanism denial. Denial is when a person discards the presence of any intimidating impulses, which is exactly what the woman in this example did to the signs and worries in her head of her husband cheating.
Another defense mechanism is rationalization. This is when a person makes excuses or irrational reasons in an effort to make a certain action reasonable. For example, if a teenager only has $200 in their checking account and they already owe $50 to their sister for a purse, the rational thing to do would be to not spend over $100 at the mall. However, this teen decides to spend $130, leaving them $20 left in their checking account. When being yelled at by their mother, the person explains that he desperately needed all of the clothes he bought. Although this may sound like a rational reason, it is highly unlikely that this teen “needed” $130 worth of new...
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