Common Defense Mechanism People Use In Handling Stress

Common Defense Mechanism People Use In Handling Stress

The ego has a challenging job to fulfill. That is balanced between the Id and the Super Ego. This theory was propounded by Sigmund Freud, who was an Austrian neurologist. 

Sigmund Freud emphasis that to understand behaviour lies in the unconscious aspect of the mind which are the Id, Ego and the Super Ego.

The Id is said to be the primitive part of an individual, that expresses our sexual and aggressive instinct in seeking immediate gratification of needs in regardless of the external situation. For example a baby who is not up to 1 year of age is likely to do anything in other for him or her to satisfy their needs in regardless of the external circumstances.

The Ego mediate around the Id in postponing of immediate gratification of needs till when it can be achieved in a socially acceptable way. Why Super Ego are those rules and regulations governing the individual.

However, Sigmund Freud acknowledge that most individuals are uses we called the Ego defensive mechanism to handle stress or events whenever their primitive instinct is not achievable.

Top Common Defensive Mechanism

Defensive mechanisms are common behavior users by individuals to protect themselves from pains and unpleasant experience when not able to achieve their desires. However, there are lots of mechanisms acknowledged by psychologist but some are commonly used.

Defense mechanism can also be considered mal-adaptive if they are misused. So below are top common defense mechanism people used in handling of stress.


Repression is one of the most commonly known defensive mechanism used by individuals. It refers to a situation where unacceptable ideas, wishes, memories and desires are blocked from consciousnesses, it can also be referred to as forgetting. For example;

An unpleasant and dangerous experience resulted from childhood, which caused a horrific accident. Repression evolves when you choose to forget such memory in other to be relieved from the pain.

Reaction Formation

This is a situation when an individual reacts in an opposite way of their instinct. A good example is a person who is depressed or frustrated but still smiles at others.


Is a situation where individuals satisfy their desires with a different object, because they know that satisfying or focusing on the primary object may get them in trouble.

A good example of this mechanism loves someone outside your marriage or relationship but instead of spending time with them and fulfilling your needs, you intended fulfilling it on your family or spouse.


Is a situation where individuals attributes threatening desires or unacceptable motives on others. This mechanism explains that there are some thoughts, feelings or emotions that an individual might have for others. For instance you might love your ex-girlfriend but instead of loving her you pretend to hate her.


Sublimation refers to a situation where individuals find a socially acceptable way to express their desires. For instance having a desire for flogging your partner, but instead you prefer going to the gym or football arena with others.


This is a mechanism used by adults and sometimes students, it refers to a situation where individuals moved from a well matured behaviour to the ones that are infertile in nature. For instance an adult behaving like a baby when feels overwhelmed in a current situation.


Is a situation where individuals moved from their current thoughts, motives and desires to do other things, but unreality they are not what they truly want to do. For instance a teacher who may be angry for the student disturbing in the classroom might over look it or tend to ignore the facts that they are disturbing.


This is also one of the most popular mechanisms used by individuals, it refers to a situation where people avoid emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspect of the current situation. For instance, someone died, instead of focusing on the emotion aspect they tend to focus on the intellectual aspect of burying the dead.


These mechanisms are being used by most individuals unconsciously and consciously in handling if stress in any given situation. So which of the mechanism do you find similar among the ones mentioned above?

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