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Defense Mechanisms Cheat Sheet by

cheat sheet on defense mechanisms


Defense mechanisms are uncons­cious psycho­logical responses that protect people from feelings of anxiety, threats to self-e­steem, and things that they don't want to think about or deal with.

According to Freud

These mechanisms protect the conscious mind from contra­dic­tions between the animal­istic id and the idealistic superego, ultimately contri­buting to "­mental homeos­tas­is."­
Mental homeos­tasis is the tendency of a person to maintain stability or uniformity in their psycho­logical states. It is a term used for psycho­logical balance achieved when one's needs and desires have been met.

Primary Defense Mechanisms


DD - Denial, Displa­cement
RSS - Repres­sion, Suppre­ssion, Sublim­ation
PIRRR - Projec­tion, Intell­ect­ual­iza­tion, Ration­ali­zation, Regres­sion, Reaction Formation

How does it work?

Ego is the aspect of the mind that deals with inner confli­cting demands of the Id(primal part, urges) and Superego (internal morals and values)
When confli­cting, anxiety is created and ego shields with defense mechan­isms.
According to Freud, anxiety is is an unpleasant inner state that people seek to avoid. Anxiety acts as a signal to the ego that things are not going the way they should. As a result, the ego employs some sort of defense mechanism to help reduce these feelings of anxiety.

Other Defense Mechanisms according to Resear­chers


AHA - Altruism, Humor, Aim Inhibition
CUP - Compen­sation, Undoing, Passiv­e-a­ggr­ession
FADA - Fantasy, Acting­-out, Dissoc­iation, Avoidance

Types of Anxiety

Moral Anxiety
Neurotic anxiety
Reality anxiety
A fear of violating our own moral principles
The uncons­cious worry that we will lose control of the id's urges, resulting in punishment for inappr­opriate behavior
Fear of real-world events.


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