Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Defense Mechanisms Part 6:

First off Thank you all for your well wishes! My wife is home and doing well. The surgery went well and she is moving around.

Now down to business once again J  Today will be more on the Neurotic Defenses.

Intellectualization is when a person just focuses on the facts, distancing themselves from the emotional aspects of a situation.  This is part of the next defense, isolation, and is a way a person isolates him/herself from a situation. I see this much more in men than women, does not mean it doesn’t happen in women.

Isolation is separating feelings from ideas and events. I have talked to a lot of young children who will just give the facts about a horrendous abuse situation and show absolutely no emotion about the event. They separate themselves emotionally from the event so that it doesn’t hurt. If we can move ourselves away from emotions and no longer feel, we also no longer have to hurt. This is very sad to me but understandable.

Rationalization (making excuses) is a person convincing him/herself that all is well and that no wrong has been done by using faulty reasoning. A person will make convenient excuses for the situation or behavior. It is a way to get away from responsibility. Now days I see this behavior a lot for our children who are now becoming adults. It seems that that our children are given excuses by society ranging from bad parenting to mental and health problems. This does not mean that they are not valid excuses only that if that is all they are given then there is a chance that they will always use them. For example ADHD is a real problem and definitely causes a lot of stress in a child and adult’s life but it is manageable and with help the person can become an amazing person. It is important for them to see their weaknesses but to also see their strengths and that they can succeed.

I think I would like to use rationalization in a story to show a person going from not being able to succeed but to one who does succeed. I also think that a good comic relief could have the intellectualization defense mechanism in a dark humorous situation. He could be the sidekick who always looks at the horrible events without any emotion. Think of the show “bones” the main character drives me insane with her lack of emotion but tweaking her personality and the situation a little I could see some humor there. I don’t know I will have to think on that one just an idea.

How would you use these defense mechanisms in your characters?


  1. Truth is stranger than fiction. My "characters" are real. Really, really can't make this stuff up. Although, I do tend to buffer some of my more likable "characters".

  2. This information is perfect for the story I am currently working on. Both characters experienced similar traumatic events as children but they cope with it in different ways. Thanks for all of the great information that will help me give my characters more depth.

  3. I write about my own and family's experieinces in life so only write what is true, however one of my offspring has cut me out of his life also my grandchildren can no longer see me why? I don't know our last conversation was great no sign of what was to come most abusive text's beyond me.

    Thank you for that very lovely comment It's one I will never forget.

  4. oh i see isolation a lot in the kids i work with who have been through horrific situations....

  5. I was actually thinking of Bones when you first starting discibing this defense mechanism, Monk also kinda comes to mind in how her he is so precis and OCD, which if I understand the story right, hes like that mostly in how he deals with his wife's death. It is very interesting to see how different people cope with trama- some ways really sad to see!

  6. So glad your wife is doing well and recovering! And glad they caught it in time too.

  7. Isolation works in horrible circumstances. Survival at the expense of emotion.

  8. Interesting idea. I think I may just have a character who I could use this on. :O)

  9. I think of serial killers lack of emotion when I read this. The ones I'm thinking were the ones who usually had a hard life as children as well. So this makes perfect sense to me.

  10. I'm glad your wife is on the mend, Josh.

  11. Hi Josh .. I'm battling with blogger ..

    I was wondering if they same would apply to adult males looking after their mother .. ie not accepting any emotional attachment at all .. and not really be interested?

    Or a similar psychological separation?

    Thanks - Hilary

  12. Thanks all, for the support of my wife.
    Hilary - in general I think that this could apply it would depend on the circumstances and what the underlying reason is. When looking at defense mechanisms it sometimes is more important to find out the why than the actual behavior. Because of the similarities between them you would want to look at the why. Ans so, when we create our characters it is important to think about why they are behaving this way.


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