KALMers, in the previous article we talked about “5 Most Common Types of Defense Mechanisms”. But since there are so many other types, in this article KALM wants to introduce you to the other less known types of defense mechanism. These types may not be as well-known as the five categories of defense mechanisms discussed in the previous article, but it does not mean people do not use them.
What is it? Keep on reading if you want to know more!
Types of Defense Mechanisms
1. Reaction Formation
KALMers, have you ever behaved in a way that contradicts your feelings? When you hate someone, for example, you do not show that dislike in front of that person; instead, you appear polite and friendly towards them.
This act is called reaction formation, KALMers. Reaction formation happens when we act or express something that is totally opposite to how we feel. According to Freud, reaction formation is intended to hide our true feelings because those feelings are considered embarrassing or make us feel anxious and threatened.
Sublimation is a self-defense mechanism that allows us to express something unacceptable by transforming it into a more acceptable behavior. For example, someone who decides to box or practice other martial arts when they are angry to vent their frustration.
Rationalization is a type of self-defense mechanism in which a person deliberately makes up reasons (even if those reasons are illogical) in order to cover up the true reasons for their actions. For example, when a student gets poor grades on an exam and stated that their teacher dislikes her/him and purposefully assigned difficult questions. When actually, she/he failed the exam because she/he did not prepare beforehand.
A person usually rationalizes to protect her/himself from feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, or insecurity. As human beings, we tend to recognize success as a result of our own efforts. However, when it comes to failure, we tend to blame circumstances or even other people. Well, that’s how humans are.
This defense mechanism explains how some people choose to focus on intellectual analysis rather than dealing with emotions when facing problems. Some people may not be used to or uncomfortable talking about their feelings. So instead of validating what they are feeling, they attempt to explain their situation with logical reasons that they believe make sense. For example, when a person is dumped by their girlfriend/ boyfriend, they will analyze the intellectual reasons why they were dumped; there is a mismatch, there are still other women/men out there, etc. so they don’t need to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
In the short term, this defense mechanism can help us postpone processing the hard emotions until we think it is the appropriate time. However, if we are not careful, we will continue to hold it in and ignore our feelings or other people’s feelings at all, which is not healthy.
5. Acting Out
Acting out describes the behavior of someone who expresses her/his thoughts or feelings excessively and in a dramatic way. For example, instead of telling someone that you are angry with them, you inappropriately swear and curse at them or throw things at the wall. You do that to vent your anger on that person.
For some conditions this can also explain self-harm or self-injury behavior, KALMers. Self-harm may be a way for some people to express their emotional pain. When they couldn’t hold it anymore and had a hard time expressing their emotions, they turned it to physical pain.
What do you think about this matter, KALMers?
The Importance of Knowing Our Defense Mechanism
As stated in the previous article, defense mechanism is our way of protecting ourselves from harm or unpleasant events. Although it can be useful, some of them can actually harm you. For example, when we act out, instead of expressing our feelings assertively, we do extreme acts to tell people what we feel. This act not only will hurt the people that become your anger target, but also you. This is not a healthy way to express our emotions, actually.
So, it is very important for us to understand and identify what kind of self-defense mechanisms we often do. Therefore, we can identify which habits are healthy and which are unhealthy.
Kalmselor in KALM app can help you identify your unhealthy defense mechanisms. With counseling, Kalmselor will teach you more effective coping skills in dealing with stressful events to help you develop healthier behaviors, KALMers. Download the KALM app right now (here) to start your counseling.
Written by: Rachma Fitria
Translated by: Dzulfani S Nisa
Edited by: Lukas Limanjaya
Cherry, K. (2021, November 29). 20 common defense mechanisms used for anxiety. Verywell Mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/defense-mechanisms-2795960
Holland, K. (2019, February 11). 10 defense mechanisms: what are they and how they help us cope. Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/defense-mechanisms