Repression and denial are two primary defense

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Repression and Denial are two primary defense mechanisms which everybody uses. Children find denial easier, as with age, the ego matures and understands more about the "objective reality" it must operate within. Denial is one of Anna Freud's original defense mechanisms . So what? When you appear to deny a situation, then the other person may join you in the denial or may have to handle it in a way that is not as direct as they otherwise might. Repression and suppression are very similar defense mechanisms, which people use in order for them to cope with a stimulus that can harm them. What is suppression? Suppression is a useful psychological mechanism; here we force the unwanted information out of our awareness. We consciously choose to not
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indulge in a conscious thought, feeling or action even though we are aware of it. This permits us to focus on our affairs without being distracted by every impulse that arises, and without having to act on those impulses. We suppress because of the impulse’s inappropriateness with regard to the situation or because of time constraints in which we feel that “I just can’t deal with that right now.” For example, a wife may be peeved about her husband’s behaviour. Because of some guests around her, she may control her reaction and decide to bring it up later when no one is around them. Until the guests are around, she may continue chatting/serving them, internally she may tell herself ‘I need to look after the guests, forget about him right now, I’ll speak to my husband later’. Thus, she is focusing on the other areas, managing feelings of anger, and controlling her actions in the present, consciously. This is helpful because, she is buying time to take action. What is repression? Repression, also known as dis-associative amnesia, is similar to suppression but it involves unconsciously forgetting or blocking some unpleasant thoughts, feelings and impulses. Individuals might use repression to become unconscious about traumatic past memories. Some examples of repression include: 1. A person having no recollection of the abuse suffered during childhood 2. A man having no recollection of an accident he had met with 3. A woman having no recollection of intense pain she had gone through during child birth This is helpful in the short run because it is saving the person from the intense negative emotions associated with these memories. However, these
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memories don’t just disappear; they manifest through a symptom, or series of symptoms and may continue to influence our behaviour. In the first example above, the person may find it difficult to get into relationships later or in the second one, the man may develop a fear of driving without knowing the reason behind the same.
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