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TABLE 5: DEFENSE MECHANISMS NARCISSISTIC DEFENSES IMMATURE DEFENSES NEUROTIC DEFENSES MATURE DEFENSES Denial- Negates sensory data to avoid awareness Acting Out- Acts an unconscious impulse or affect Controlling- Manage or regulate environment Altruism- Experiences vicarious pleasure by of painful aspect of reality. Abolishes external to avoid affect. Acting gives into the impulse rather excessively to avoid anxiety. serving others constructively and instinctually. reality. Used in normal and pathological states. than prohibiting it. Avoids the tension of Reaction formation is benign and constructive. postponing expression. Serving others does not take the place of meeting own needs. Distortion- Reshapes external reality to suit inner Blocking- Inhibits thinking temporarily. May Displacement- Shifts an emotion or drive from Anticipation- Anticipates, plans for future inner needs. Beliefs, hallucinations, delusions. Sustains include affects and impulses. Resembles one idea or object to another. Permits symbolic discomfort that is goal directed. Careful planning or feelings of superiority, entitlement. repression, except tension felt. representation of less distress. worrying and premature but realistic affective anticipation of dire and potentially dreadful outcomes. Primitive Idealization- Endows either “all good, Hypocondriasis- Transforms bereavement, Dissociation- Drastically modifies personal Asceticism- Eliminates pleasurable effects of omnipotent” or “all bad,” inflated external objects loneliness, aggressive impulses into self-reproach, identity or character to avoid emotional distress, experiences. Uses morals to assign values to with great power pain, somatic illness. Avoids responsibility, including fugue states, hysterical conversion, DID, specific pleasures. Derives gratification from circumvents guilt. Affliction due to ego-alien nature drug highs, religious joy. renunciation of all consciously-perceived base of introjects. pleasures. Projection- Perceives and reacts to inner qualities Identification- Crucial to ego development. But Externalization- Perceives in external and Humor- Permits overt expression of feelings and as though outside the self. May include frank person may identify with love object to defend objects, elements of one’s own personality, thoughts without personal discomfort or delusions, persecutions, and acting on the against anxiety or pain, real or threatened. Person including impulses, conflicts, moods, attitudes, and immobilization and does not produce unpleasant perceptions. adopts quality or symptom of one about whom styles of thinking. effects on others. Person may focus and tolerate feels guilty. Identifies with aggressor. what is too terrible to be borne. Wit, however, does not allow feeling of the affect at all. Projective Identification- Deposits unwanted Introjection- Although, vital to development, when Repression- Expels or withholds idea from Sublimation- Achieves impulse gratification and aspects into another person so projector feels at used as a defense, can obliterate distinction consciousness. Primary curbs ideas before retention of goals via altering object to one that is one with object. Recipient modifies projections and between subject and object. Avoids painful reaching consciousness; secondary excludes what socially acceptable. Channels instincts rather than projector recovers them. Allows one to distance awareness of separateness of threat of loss. was once conscious. Not really forgotten. Symbolic blocking them. Acknowledges, modifies, directs and make self understood by exerting pressure on Avoids the anxiety of feared object as in behavior may be present. May lose cherished feelings toward an object or goal, yet allows another to experience similar feelings. identification with aggressor. goals. modest gratification of instincts. Splitting- Divides external objects into “all good” Passive Aggressive Behavior- Expresses Inhibition- Inhibits or renounces ego functions Suppression- Decision or action to postpone and “all bad.” Abruptly shifts from one extreme to aggression indirectly through failures, consciously to evade anxiety arising out of attention to a conscious impulse or conflict Does other. Sudden and complete reversals of feeling. procrastination, illness that affect others more than conflicts with impulses, superego, environmental not avoid issues, but cuts them off. Acknowledges Self-concept may oscillate. self. forces or figures. discomfort, but minimizes it. Projection- Attributes own feelings to another due Intellectualization- Avoids affective expression, to intolerable feelings or painful affects. In experience, relationship. Attends to external reality psychosis, become frank delusions and to avoid feelings, and details to avoid whole. persecutions. Regression- Attempts to return to earlier Isolation- Splits or separates idea from affect. functioning to avoid tension at current level. Represses affect. May remove one from object Necessary for creativity. relationships. Schizoid Fantasy- Retreats autistically to avoid Rationalization- Offers rational explanations to intimacy, obtain gratification. Eccentricity repels. justify attitudes, beliefs, behaviors instinctually based. NOTE: Those identified by Anna Freud are Somatization- Converts psychic derivatives into Reaction Formation- (Reversal) Transforms an grayed. She also identified Reversal and Turning body symptoms. Desomatization, infantile somatic unacceptable impulse into its opposite. If Against the Self (Fairbairn’s Moral Defense in responses replaced by thought, affect frequently used early, can become obsessional Children.) Adapted by Martha Blake 5/02. From character trait. Vaillant, Adaptation to Life, 1977. Sexualization- Endows sexual significance to an object or function.
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