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DEFENCE MECHANISMS

DEFENCE MECHANISMS
Highlights

Have you ever seen a person who gets angry at his boss, but can't express his anger to his boss for fear of being fired? He instead, comes home ...

dr bv

  • Have you ever seen a person who gets angry at his boss, but can't express his anger to his boss for fear of being fired? He instead, comes home and kicks the dog or starts an argument with his wife. The man is redirecting his anger from his boss to his dog or wife.
  • Have you heard about a daughter-in-law getting angry at mother-in-law but yells at her little son as she cannot yell at mother-in-law and satisfies herself that she could hurt the feelings of mother-in-law.
  • Did you come across any person who is partially deaf, but does not accept he has hearing problem, but on the other hand say that you are talking slow and you cannot talk loud? In the same manner, there are some alcoholics who do not accept that they are alcoholics, but say they have never failed in their jobs.
  • Have you read about the leaders and senior officials who always talk about honesty and values and boast themselves as very sincere and strict, caught by CBI and Anti-Corruption bureau officers?

The science of Psychology explains that these persons depend upon Defense Mechanisms. These 'Defense mechanisms' or manners in which we behave or think in certain ways to protect or "defend" ourselves. Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious. That means most of us don't realise we're using them in the moment. Psychologists have categorised mainly seven defense mechanisms based upon beliefs.

1. Compensation Compensation is a process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weaknesses by emphasising strength in other areas. The persons depend upon this mechanism recognise that they cannot be strong at all things and in all areas in their life.

For instance a person who is a polio victim does not curse his inability to walk, but practices vocabulary and become a great speaker or a writer. I recently saw on YouTube a spine-chilling performance in a dance reality show on national television by a guy called Kamlesh Patel who is physically challenged. Such persons try to compensate for their lack of normal skills by emphasising their skills in a different manner.

2.Denial Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, as it is a painful event or feeling. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Many people use denial in their everyday activities to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don't wish to admit. The person who is partially deaf will deny that he has hearing problem.

3. Regression Have you ever seen young adults behave sometimes like kids? A college girl always carry a teddy bear doll and playing with little kids. Such persons unknowingly depend upon the mechanism called regression. Regression is the reversion to an earlier stage of development in the face of unacceptable thoughts or impulses. For example an adolescent who is overwhelmed with fear, anger and growing sexual impulses might become clingy and start exhibiting earlier childhood behaviour he has long since overcome, such as bedwetting. An adult may regress when under a great deal of stress, refusing to leave their bed and engage in normal, everyday activities.

4. Displacement The daughter-in-law who yells at her little son to show her anger on mother-in-law unknowingly depended upon the defense mechanism called as Displacement. Displacement is the redirecting of thoughts feelings and impulses directed at one person, but taken out upon another person. People often use displacement when they cannot express their feelings in a safe manner to the person they are directed at. This is a pretty ineffective defense mechanism, because while the anger finds a route for expression, it's misapplication to other innocent people.

dr bv pattabhi ram

5. Projection We keep reading news from all over the world and we watch on TV about the leaders, judges, officials and industrialists who claim they are as straight forward but later get caught for an offence and are sent to the jail. They depend on the defense mechanism known as Projection.Projection is the misattribution of a person's attitude. It is just opposite to his traits. Projection is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one's own motivations and feelings

6. Reaction Formation A person who is very angry with a particular community and feels the government is pampering them would feel like criticising them but pretends to be kind and generous towards them and expresses a desire to support them forever. Reaction Formation is the converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings or impulses into their opposites. It is also called as step- mother treatment. She is incapable of expressing the negative emotions of anger and unhappiness with the step son. Instead she becomes overly kind to the boy publicly to demonstrate her lack of anger and unhappiness. Of course not all step mothers come into this category.

7. Rationalisation Rationalisation is putting something into a different light or offering a different explanation for one's perceptions or behaviours in the face of a changing reality. For instance, a student says he did not get top rank because all other top rankers copied and cheated. When a girl friend rejects a boy, he tells his friends that he gave up the friendship on his own because she is not attractive and having affairs with other guys too. While some defense mechanisms can be unhealthy, few of mechanisms can be adaptive and allow us to function normally. The greatest problems arise when defense mechanisms are overused in order to avoid dealing with problems. Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious and most of us don't realise we're using them in the moment. Positive talk and counseling can help a person become aware of what defense mechanisms they are using.

US state dept announces institutional partnership projects

As part of educational partnership between India and the US, the State Department has announced institutional partnership projects for the second round of 'Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative' awards of USD 250,000 to National Institute of Technology, Tirucharapalli.

The research group comprises Dr A Vadivel, Fellow-IUSSTF, Associate Professor of Department of Computer Applications and Prof M Punniyamoorthy, Professor, Department of Management Studies along with their research teams, a NIT-T release said.

The project title is Cognitive based Curriculum Development Tool for emerging areas of Computer Engineering and Management Studies for improving Teaching-Learning Process. NIT-T has collaborated with University of Nevada, Las Vegas, US. Dr Henry Selvaraj and Laxmi P. Gewali will be the partners with their research students. This initiative is aimed at strengthening collaboration and build partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education, it said.

The project would receive an award of approximately USD 250,000 that can be utilised over three years, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding, educational reform and economic growth, as well as development of junior faculty at Indian and American institutions of higher learning, it said.

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