A 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 the prompts stems from an 'unconscious fear' of information that will cause conscious anxiety.
Ignorance is probably the most commonly employed defence-mechanism and it's called denial when its prompt is from our unconscious. Our conscious minds have a psychological architectures which are as individual and complex as our personalities. If information would weaken, cause disturbance or break a part of that structure, then on an unconscious level we fear letting that information into conscious awareness.
This is the essence of all defence-mechanisms. We 'unconsciously fear' admitting an impulse, feeling or thought about reality into conscious awareness. This includes the 'unconscious fear' of admitting we're wrong. We can feel frightened about looking at ourselves in particular ways. Defence-mechanism protect our subjective view of the world and psychological makeup from conflicting information.
On a perceptual level, it is about keeping things at bay that we may not consciously be able to handle. Or ignoring information that is unnecessary to incorporate. If the situation is temporary, we may not have to develop a way to deal with the information that is making us anxious, especially if the situation doesn't occur again. From an evolutionary perspective, there is no point spending time and energy introducing information into our psychological architecture if it is not going to be of value. 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 all use defence-mechanisms. They are part of a healthy filtering process that enables each of us to deal, more comfortably, with the vast amount of information that we encounter in our everyday lives. However, when defence-mechanisms like denial are over used our internal frame of reference becomes overly sheltered from reality. This means that we are more at risk from breakdowns of our mental structures from seemingly everyday information. As we have not adapted to all the information we have ignored, we do not know what to do when faced with that information. Increasingly defensive reactions can develop in regard to an increasingly fragile and sheltered subjective view.
Ignorance is bliss, lived in a fragile glass tower!
A defence-mechanism relates to thoughts, feelings and impulses, that would cause us conscious anxiety. It is not that they are acceptable or unacceptable for everyone, but rather that the information does not fit comfortably into our psychological structure and that leads to 'unconscious fear' of accepting the information. Defence-mechanisms always relate to information that will take effort, energy and time to integrate.
Freud = Unconscious psychological strategies bought into play to cope with reality.
1. An unconscious filtering of information to protect our view of ourselves and our view of the world from seriously conflicting information.
2. A subconsciously motivated denial of information to keep anxieties out of conscious awareness.
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