Although, according to Freud, the ego-defense mechanisms function on the unconscious level, it is sometimes possible to detect one's own use of them by carefully observing one's behavior. Discuss four of the ego-defense mechanisms you use and give specific examples of how you have used them. Integrate into your paper a discussion of the purpose of defense mechanisms, and how Freud defined the defense mechanisms you address.
Freud believed that all aspects of our personalities derive from unconscious biological instincts. We are the product of three forces, the Id, Ego, and the Super Ego, who are constantly trying to balance instinctive drives, reality, and social norms. The Id is the part of the unconscious connected with primary processes. The Id is in accordance with the pleasure principle, the idea that humans seek pleasure and try to avoid pain. While the Id has this long wish list to be fulfilled, the Ego is the part of the unconscious that satisfies all the needs of the Id. The Ego is connected to the reality principle. By working on the unconscious as well as a conscious level, the Ego is able to find appropriate objects in reality that will satisfy the Id. Although the Id and the Ego seem to form a perfect pair, if the two were the only components of our personality we would be incredibly spontaneous and animalistic creatures. For example, a person with this condition could simply be walking down the street hungry and in order to satisfy their instincts they would take a child’s ice cream right off their hands without any guilt. Thankfully, we have a superego. The superego is the part of our personality that keeps us from taking a child’s ice cream no matter how badly we may want to. The superego works with the Ego to satisfy the Id’s wishes by taking into consideration what is socially acceptable in reality.
Although the Id, Ego, and Superego seem to have everything under control, the Ego sometimes becomes overwhelmed by the Id and the Superego. When this happens, the Ego unconsciously distorts part of reality in order to dissolve the pressure by using defense mechanisms. There are many forms of ego-defense mechanisms, but they all have two common factors: the person using the defense mechanism is completely unaware because it’s an unconscious process, and they distort some aspect of reality. Even though these happen in an unconscious level one can easily become aware of them by understanding what they are and carefully observing our behavior and the behavior of others. Some defense mechanisms I am guilty of committing are denial, reaction formation, displacement, and Rationalization.
Denial is one of the most commonly known defense mechanisms used to describe a person who does not seem to accept the obvious truth. A person going through denial is guilty of selective forgetting. They are able to identify that the event happened in reality but they simply chose to not think about it. This is a person’s way of minimizing the problem they are dealing with. I have a serious problem with selective forgetting. It usually only happens with people who are very close to me or I have been affiliated with for very long. They could be talking to me about something very important that has been going on in their life or simply having a normal conversation with me, but I will forget what they said within minutes. It’s as if everything they just said to me goes through one ear and out through the other. I know we had that conversation but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it was about.
Have you ever been so upset with someone that you wanted to do something really terrible to them but instead, you talk yourself out of it because you are aware of the consequences? Reaction Formation is when a person does the opposite of what they really want to do because their impulses are deemed unacceptable. As a...
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