Ego Defense Mechanisms Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Ego Defense Mechanisms?
Ego defense mechanisms are psychological strategies employed by the ego, or conscious mind, to protect a person from anxiety and the negative emotions associated with it. They are thought to be unconscious processes which help an individual cope with reality and manage difficult feelings. These can range from denial and repression of unpleasant memories, to blaming others for one’s own misfortune. The goal of these processes is to maintain a sense of stability in our lives by avoiding or reducing stressful situations that could cause us emotional pain. One example of an ego defense mechanism is projection, which occurs when we project our own thoughts and feelings onto someone else instead of acknowledging them within ourselves. For instance, if you feel angry but don’t want to admit it out loud due to fear or guilt, you might accuse someone else of being mad at you instead. Projection is often used as a way to distance ourselves from unpleasant emotions that we find too uncomfortable to confront directly. Another common type of ego defense mechanism is displacement, where people take out their frustrations on objects or people who aren’t responsible for causing them distress in the first place. This happens when individuals transfer aggression away from its original source onto something less threatening like hitting a pillow after an argument with your partner or yelling at your pet after having a bad day at work. By displacing these negative emotions onto something not as emotionally charged, they can deal with their anger without creating more conflict in their relationships. Lastly there’s rationalization; this occurs when people attempt to justify why they did something wrong despite knowing deep down that was wrong all along. Rationalizing behavior allows us to avoid feeling guilty about choices we make and preserve our self-esteem even though we know what we did was morally questionable (or even outright unethical). People may also use rationalization as a way of convincing themselves that certain acts were necessary for survival such as lying about being sick so they don’t have go into work on a particular day despite understanding that deceiving someone isn’t particularly noble behavior either. Ego defense mechanisms are important tools for managing stressors in life and helping us remain psychologically healthy over time. While each has its pros and cons depending on how they’re used (i..e., whether consciously or unconsciously), understanding how they operate can help us become aware when we’re trying too hard not acknowledge our true feelings and ultimately better regulate our emotions overall.