Defense Mechanisms Flashcards Preview

Term IV: Behavioral Science > Defense Mechanisms > Flashcards

Flashcards in Defense Mechanisms Deck (28):

refers to the basic instincts of an individual. We need food, water, sexual gratification, and dominance. Seeks its gratification.



conscious and unconscious mediator of our existence. Provides us with the ability to perceive realistically, remember accurately, think logically, act skillfully, anticipate consequences, and utilize defense mechanisms.



moral conscience (or the nagging voice of your mother). It is our internal moral values existing with us through life and remains consistent under most circumstances. It is unconscious and internalized at an early age. Failure to develop one results in sociopathic behavior.



action rather than by feelings. Instead of telling your friend you are hungry too, you start ripping pages out of their syllabus as a manifestation of your anger.

Acting Out - less mature


refusing to acknowledge some painful aspect of external reality or subjective experience that would be apparent to others.

Denial- less mature


attributing exaggerated negative qualities to one’s self or others. I’m hungry but look at the amount of mayonnaise on that sandwich! Mayonnaise is fattening. I bet the cheese has mold on it too. The fable of The Fox and the Grapes is also an example. The fox can’t get the grapes so he says, “They must be sour anyway.”

Devaluation- less mature


attributing exaggerated positive qualities to others. You look at your neighbor and think, “They are so smart for getting a sandwich during the break. In fact, they are such a good student and such a nice person.” This diffuses anxiety because you make it impossible to harm them.

Idealization- less mature


breakdown of consciousness, memory, perception of self or the environment. My friend may be eating a sandwich, but I am elsewhere dining on a four course meal. Often experienced by most traumatized individuals, ex: victims of sexual abuse, veterans

Dissociation- less mature


What is often created by a conflict between id and superego?



What intervenes between our wants/desires and our moral compass through defense mechanisms?



making repetitious requests for help that disguise covert feelings of hostility or reproach toward others, which are then expressed by rejecting the suggestions, advice, or help offered by others.

Help-Rejecting Complaining- less mature


falsely attributing to another his or her own unacceptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts. You would look at your neighbor and say, “What is wrong with you? You just keep looking like you want something from me.”

Projection- less mature


compartmentalizing opposite emotional states and failing to integrate the positive and negative qualities of individuals into a cohesive picture.

Splitting- less mature


transferring a feeling about, or response to, an object onto another (usually less threatening) substitute object. You look for the most passive classmate you know and steal his potato chips

Displacement - neurotic level or "moderately mature"


accompanying separation from or loss of an object (real or threatened) by identifying with the loved object. Children will often dress up like their parents and pretend to go to work each day

Identification - neurotic level or "moderately mature"


excessive use of abstract thinking or the making of generalizations to control or minimize disturbing feelings. Going back to your neighbor’s sandwich, you think about the muscles and nerves involved in chewing, etc. You become so wrapped up in a cognitive process, you are no longer aware of your desire to take the sandwich.

Intellectualization- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


internalizing qualities of an object (or person), often obliterating the distinction between the individual and the object. This is the essence of the Stockholm syndrome – where prisoners begin to identify with their captors and may become loyal to them

Introjection- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


separation of ideas from the feelings originally associated with them. The individual loses touch with the feelings associated with a given idea (I really just wanted to reach over and take that sandwich but I felt so anxious about it, I couldn’t.) while remaining aware of the cognitive elements of it

Isolation of affect- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


indirectly and unassertively expressing aggression toward others. There is a façade of overt compliance masking covert resistance, resentment, or hostility.

Passive aggression- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


concealing the true motivations for his or her own thoughts, actions, or feelings through the elaboration of reassuring or self-serving, but incorrect, explanations. You would look at your neighbor’s sandwich and think to yourself, “I don’t want that sandwich.

Rationalization- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


substituting behavior, thoughts, or feelings diametrically opposed to his or her own unacceptable thoughts or feelings. You would look at your neighbor with a sudden dislike because they have food and you are hungry. But, you would turn to your neighbor, smile, and congratulate them for their outstanding performance last block.

Reaction Formation- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


expelling disturbing wishes, thoughts, or experiences from conscious awareness. Occurs in extreme traumatic events, most often abuse.

Repression- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


words or behavior designed to negate or make amends symbolically for unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or actions. You want your neighbor’s sandwich. You offer to buy sandwiches for both of you tomorrow.

Undoing- neurotic level or "moderately mature"


dedication to meeting the needs of others. Instead of taking your friend’s sandwich, you go make sandwiches at a shelter to feed others who are hungry.

Altruism - mature


experiencing emotional reactions in advance of, or anticipating consequences of, possible future events and considering realistic, alternative responses. You know your friend eats a sandwich every day at 11 AM. You expect being hungry and bring your own sandwich

Anticipation- mature


emphasizing the amusing or ironic aspects of the conflict or stressor.

Humor - mature


channeling potentially maladaptive feelings or impulses into socially acceptable behaviors. If you were looking at your neighbor’s sandwich, you would acknowledge to yourself how appetizing it looked. However, you would go the gym and work out because you would attempt to channel your aggressive feelings to take the sandwich into a very hard run on the treadmill.

Sublimation- mature


INTENTIONALLY avoiding thoughts related to the stress. The idea of intent is of greatest importance. Every other defense mechanism just happens; it is unconscious. This is the ONLY defense mechanism a person has control over.

Suppression- mature