ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Defense Mechanisms We All Use In Daily Life

Updated on June 30, 2013

Defense Is The Best Offense

To Protect And Preserve

Protection, well-being, safety, refuge from the unknown. These terms are all emotions we've expressed at one point or another in our lives.

In fact, as young children, we often held onto habits which continued to make us feel safe even when the time came to release these treasure troves of comfort.

But, why the need to feel protected and comforted? Wouldn't life seem more interesting if life was a series of unpredictable events based on the often elusive idea of the unknown?

Apparently, not, says the world of psychology and the need for human beings to seek comfort from pain, protection of danger or solace from tragedy.

Wikipedia provides a clearer understanding of human needs by noting the work of psychology theory which classifies the need for protection to be as a fundamental human need. People can only feel secure and content when their need to feel protected is met.

The website, Simply Psychology, provides a clearer understanding of a person's need to feel protected and the use of defense mechanisms.

It uses the work of Sigmund Freud to clarify the use of a defense mechanism. Sigmund Freud theorized that human emotion is both powerful and vulnerable in its need to secure and keep a person protected from times of uncertainty and insecurity.

Defense mechanisms, as it reveals, are subconscious coping tools used by humans to ward of feelings of anxiety and conflict.

In effect, protect human beings from situations in life that are periods of great anxiety and turmoil.

Common Defense Mechanism: Rationalization


Common Defense Mechanisms: Defined

Using Defense Mechanisms In Daily Life

The website, Psychology Today, identifies the 9 major defense mechanisms we use to protect us from feelings of fear, emotions that make us feel uncomfortable, ideas that keep us grounded.

These include: Denial, Repression, Regression, Displacement, Projection, Reaction Formation, Intellectualization, Rationalization and Sublimation.

Using three of the following defense mechanisms, Denial, Displacement and Rationalization, a picture of various responses to daily stress and anxiety will become clearer.

Denial - "Forget About Defense Mechanisms; They Don't Exist!"

People use denial as a way of avoiding the memory of something painful that happened to them. This defense mechanism enables the person to avoid dealing with the emotions they have towards a painful time in life. In denying what happened, the person doesn't have to explain how they felt about an issue or how the issue may have affected them.

Real Life Example: Someone close to you (i.e family member, friend, colleague, pet) dies and you cannot remember attending the funeral of the deceased

Displacement - "Jim Thinks He Knows All About Defense Mechanisms; World! Stop Breathing My Air!"

People are great communicators. If they don't use verbal means to say something they mean, non-verbal cues are just as useful.

When using the defense mechanism of displacement, people express what they really feel through another means of communication. Instead of dealing with the source of their anxiety, displacing a feeling of anxiety is communicated through another form. Sometimes, unrelated.

Real Life Example: You had a terrible day at the office; you boss is a fanatic and micromanages everything you do. While driving on your commute homeward bound, you displace the anger you have towards your boss onto other people around you; you speed, engage in road rage issues, etc.

Rationalization - "Everyone Uses Defense Mechanisms As An Excuse; I'm Going To Do That Too!"

People are critical thinkers and equally staunch observers of what their fellow humans do and sometime get away with.

Using rationalization as a defense mechanism, people justify their reactions or behavior towards something using "good, beneficial" reasons to mask their real motivation (which, in this situation, is either unacceptable or society frowns upon)

Real Life Example: When your colleagues come back from lunch everyday about 10 minutes late and you've been prompt, you rationalize taking an additional 50 minutes of lunch at week's end.

If / when questioned about your habit, you remind the person who questions you about how you are prompt when others are not so you took take advantage; just not at the same time.

What Are Your Opinions?

Do Defense Mechanisms Help Or Hinder In Times Of Stress?

See results

Defend Your Feelings, Much?

Defense Mechanisms: Are They Helpful? Or Do They Hinder?

In gaining a better idea of our perception of self and we safely defend ourselves from emotions we'd rather not face, the debate in using defense mechanisms becomes an exercise in the practice of choosing how you will learn to approach issues in your life.

If your approach to life hinges on the motto, "Out of sight, out of mind", then, yes, using a defense mechanism is useful to your approach in life and how you choose to guard your emotions after experiencing an anxiety-laden situation.

In comparison, if you choose to be completely transparent in your life by choosing to accept and feel whatever emotion you will as you continue to encounter periods of great stress around you, maybe, then, using defense mechanisms to deal with uncomfortable issues actually hinders what it means for you to be human.

Ultimately, the decision lies with you.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)