Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Defense Mechanisms Part 1

Defense Mechanisms are defenses the ego uses to protect the self. The ego uses these defense mechanisms when there is conflict with the super ego and the id. According to psychoanalytic theory they are unconscious behaviors.

When we become anxious and overwhelmed the ego steps in with certain defenses to protect self. It is important to understand that these are not always good defenses. The majority of people use good strategies to overcome difficult situations.

There are four categories that these defense mechanisms are placed. They are: Pathological, Immature, Neurotic and Mature. Pathological mechanisms are ways the ego uses to escape reality. We often view these people as being insane and crazy. Immature mechanisms are most frequently seen in adolescents. When seen in adults we view them as immature and undesirable to be around, in children it is considered normal behavior. Neurotic mechanisms are common in adults. They give short term benefits but often cause long term damage. Mature mechanisms are found in emotionally strong adults. These mechanisms provide support in short term and long term situations.

There are a lot of different defense mechanisms and over the next couple of weeks we will be going over them. I hope that this will help us in our ability to better understand the reactions that our characters have to difficult situations.

What do you already know about defense mechanisms?

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  1. Supposedly I learned all about this in my high school AP psychology class. I am glad for the refresher. It takes a lot of effort to retrain our defense mechanisms and while we may never be able to react in a mature fashion every time, it is definitely something we can work on and incorporate into our characters. This is a great way to show character development. Have your character go from whiny tantrums to actually coping with the situation in a mature manner. I imagine this works especially well if you are writing for the YA market.

  2. I think fear plays a huge part, when fear strikes our bodies go into fight and flight but we have nothing to fight and nowhere to go. Fear is not a pleasant situation......I speak from expereience, but when this happens I close the curtains lay down and play a relaxation cd.
    I have learned much from books and cds and am a positive person but at the end of the day we are all afraid of something.

  3. i would say that in many cases people look for the answer that will make them the happiest right now versus over the long run. of course then they have to deal with the ramifications of that...especially when in a stressful situ...

  4. Interesting, I thouht I suffered from OCD alone and now I have this super ego to deal with too? :D

  5. I am so here all week! I need a bit of complexity in my characters - looks like I'm going to get it here:)

    Sorry to have been absent recently, crazy world, but I'm back now - yay!!!
    See you tomorrow

  6. It's so hard reading this, I see so much of myself, and not the good, healthy things. But it's good to learn why I do things!

  7. Minnie(on your side bar) is awsome, but she keeps distracting me... I've forgotten what i wanted to say

  8. Well, I dunno anything much about these defenses but denial is the first form of defense. Usually we deny what we don't want to happen.

    This way, we feel secure. Don't we??

    with warm regards
    CatchyTips for Writers

  9. Thanks all for the comments I am having a tough time getting baack to everyone but I will. It is finals week and I'm getting killed with grading and setting up for graduation. Next week will be much calmer.

  10. I didn't know about those 4 different methods. Can't wait to see your series of posts :)



  11. I stay away from anything labelled Mature.

  12. I dont recall learning much about the defense mechanisms- but I can totally see these sort of these in people I know and sometimes myself aswell. I could see it being very important for an author to keep these in mind, it could really shape their characters and the plot aswell!

  13. I'm excited to learn more about this. Sometimes, I really get hung up on how my characters should react. Especially when I'm exploring a personality that is very different from my own. My own defense mechanisms are often those things I can dissect and internalize after the fact and do, over and over and over!

  14. I guess we employ different defense mechanisms to cope with various situations. Me? I like to mediate and work through situations. If that doesn't work then I might distance myself from the situation.


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