Lifechariot Home Page Button

Concepts Explained

Defence Mechanism

Defence Mechanism is a name of the psychological process, that our unconscious employs to protect us from unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses. We can be aware of the activity, and as such, the process is not entirely unconscious. Yet stems from an "unconscious fear" that the impulses, feeling and thoughts about reality will be detrimental to us.

Ignorance, defined as denying validity, is probably the most commonly employed defence mechanism. We all have a structure to our personalities and an individual identity. If we fear information would weaken or break a part of that structure, then on a unconscious level we can choose 'not to let' that information into our conscious awareness. We really do feel a certain way, but we simply have an "unconscious reaction" to deny it.

This is the essence of all defence mechanisms. We "unconsciously fear" admitting an impulse, feeling or thought about reality.

This includes the "unconscious fear" of admitting we're wrong. How interesting is that? We're frightened of looking at ourselves in the world? As that's what defence mechanism boil down to. The way our psychological makeup is designed to acknowledge our impulses and the information of reality.

On a perceptual level, it's about keeping things at bay that we may not consciously be able to handle. It can be seen as an attempt to 'buy time' why we try and find a way to deal with the situation. If the situation is only temporary, we may not have to develop a way to deal with the problem, especially if it doesn't occur again. Yet if the thoughts, feelings or impulses, we are susceptible to, are present on an ongoing basis, then we will need to develop a way to deal with them effectively and consciously. We'll be increasingly at risk of an emotional and mental breakdown otherwise.

We all use defence mechanisms. It's moreover a healthy filtering process that enables each of us to deal, more comfortably, with the vast amount of different information that we encounter in our everyday lives. However, when defence mechanisms like ignorance are over used, our internal frame of reference becomes overly sheltered from reality. This means that we are more at risk from a breakdown of our mental state from seemingly everyday information. As we haven't adapted to all the information we ignored, we 'do not know' what to do with it. This may emerge as increasingly defencive reactions, regarding an increasingly fragile and sheltered view of ourselves.

Ignorance is bliss, lived in a fragile glass tower!

A defence mechanism can be seen as a way to buffer real thoughts, feelings and impulses, that we "unconsciously fear" associating with our identity. It's not that they are acceptable or unacceptable in nature, only that the psychological makeup of our personality, 'unconsciously fears' accepting them for some reason.

Defence Mechanism

Freud = Unconscious psychological strategies bought into play to cope with reality.

1. Usually an unconscious filtering of information to protect our view of ourselves and view of the world from seriously conflicting information.

Back to List