Defense mechanisms, in short, could be described as ways of distracting ourselves from unconscious feelings involving unpleasant thoughts, feelings or desires. Defense mechanisms are actually defiend as self-deceptive techniques for reducing stress. According to this definition (from our Psychology textbook) defense mechanisms may help reduce stress, but still are deceiving and put away in the unconscious mind. In Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the defense mechanisms can be seen as a mediation by the ego of id impulses that are in conflict with any of the wishes and needs of the superego and ego. A person makes theses mediations tolerable by altering and distorting reality, which is one of the the two chief characteristics of defense mechanisms. .


Rationalization is one of the more common defense mechanisms. Rationalization is used by making excuses for our behaviors. it has two common principles:.

a. It helps to justify what we do and what we believe.

b. It aids in softening the disappointment connected with unattainable goals we may have.

Rationalization is commonly seen in three classifications of examples:.

a. Sour Grapes - In sour grapes, one might make excuses for the disappointment by saying something along the lines of, "I didn't want it anyway," or "It's not worth having.".

b. Sweet lemons - In sweet lemons, one's excuses may include "I'm happy with what I have," to justify that they did not need what their goal was.

c. Pollyanna - In pollyanna, one might see good in the bad. A common example is the saying, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining." .

Regression: .

Regression is another one of the more common defense mechanisms. It is used by moving back in psychological time when one may have been faced with stress. Many times, when we are troubled or frightened, our behaviors may tend to become more childish or primitive.