Have you ever thought of defending yourself? Have you ever defended yourself in front of someone? If your answer is no, then you are unaware of the continuous process of being defensive in our daily routines. We use unique defence mechanisms commonly during our communication and interaction with others.
Here, I am going to present different kinds of mechanisms with examples through which you will be able to understand your reactions. These mechanisms are pretty extensive but I will just highlight the more commonly used ones for you to be more aware of, so as to discard the immature reactions and adopt more matured reactions as a healthy LGBT individual. Take a look!
The Immature Defence
- Regression – when a situation arises, in which you find yourself > unable to survive, you will want to reject that scenario and the demands of the situation, you will then regress and start to behave immaturely so that you can prove that it is not the right time for you to avail that opportunity. For example, a friend wants to invite you to visit institutions for fundraising and you are afraid of going and of asking others to give because you don’t like asking for help. You will then make excuses and show that you cannot do this or are not prepared for it yet.
- Altruism – this is when you feel that you are responsible to make others happy and constructively dedicate yourself to helping others. In doing so, you will compromise your own tasks and commitments. For example, you have an assignment to complete by tonight and your friend asks you to help to complete his assignment. If you complete his assignment at the expense of your work, you may have done well to help your friend but only by compromising your own.
- Projection – This happens commonly in almost all relationships. When you resist taking any blame or ownership for the mistakes you did or if you think in a certain way and want to express your thoughts, yet at the same time, do not want others to know that it is your perception, you will then likely project these onto others. For example, you have a negative comment about someone’s dress, and instead of saying and taking ownership of your comment, you say that someone else commented as such.
- Acting out – This behavior is highly immature. You do whatever you want without the limitations of place, person or time. For example, you are travelling in a bus and a man abuses another, and you feel overwhelmed by his actions and give the abuser a punch resulting in you being charged for aggravated assault.
- Denial – This is an unconscious act of rejecting a reality just because it is not pleasant to you. For example, you accidently injured a cat. You are in a state of shock and you then automatically deny that you did it instead of accepting that it was an accident.
The Mature Defense Mechanisms:
- Affiliation – it works, as a support from you to others and indirectly you will also receive support from others too. For example, you want to achieve a position which others already have. Instead of getting jealous and confronting them, you learn from them. For example, you’d like to join a political party yet you can’t, so instead you become friends with other members of the party and join them as their supporters. In this way, you can also get much satisfaction.
- Suppression – This is a conscious process of controlling your impulses for sometime. Attentively, you hide the distressing feelings to avoid a certain argument. It prevents you from shame and regret. It is not easy but you can always try. For example, you are around a crowd where people are talking about harassing someone and want to argue that it is not right. If you confront them, they might beat you up and you are not prepared to deal with this. You suppress that urge to express and delay till the appropriate time or use other ways which may be less provocative.
- Anticipation – This includes planning for future outcomes. Whenever you direct a goal, you will analyze the results of a particular action. It is a realistic approach to adopt a perspective for improvements, avoid potential losses and prepare for the obstacles in advance. For example, when you are going to make a speech on equality of rights, a reasonable judgment of its effect on public, audience and place where you are going to deliver it needs to be thought through thoroughly.
- Sublimation – it is possible to satisfy your inner desires in a socially acceptable and practical way. In this mechanism, you satisfy your inner needs in a socially approved manner without social objection. For example, you have a high level of anger and aggression and you do kickboxing as a hobby to release your anger rather than taking your aggression out on others.
- Humour – Usage of humour attracts others. Usually, fun-loving people are always admired and popular. This is healthy and allows others to accept provocative perceptions. You can communicate your thoughts and personal views using funny statements and actions. This rarely causes hurtful feelings and breaks the ice to open sharing. > For example, you are irritated by a specific behavior of your colleague and you want to express this, and you imitate that behaviour in a joking manner. This can help in releasing your frustrations.
By identifying these defence mechanisms which we commonly use, you can thereby be more aware of using the mature mechanisms that can help you greatly in maintaining healthy and close interpersonal relationships instead of using immature mechanisms consciously or sub-consciously.