Weeks ago I published a post which talked about the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorder. In that post I wrote about how people use different defense mechanism as an attempt to cover up their anxieties.
This post is specifically dedicated to the various type of defense mechanisms that one uses to hide their insecurities and and as I said above… anxieties.
After noticing my own over excited and over dramatic behavior and also that of others around me from time to time and reading a lot of articles and essays about what exactly is a defense mechanism online, I am going to try and summarize the entire thing for you, my lovely readers and viewers. 🙂
So basically a defense mechanism refers to an automatic reaction of the body or a mental process initiated consciously or subconsciously to avoid/hide the feeling of conflict or anxiety. Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
There are many type of defense mechanism b. But the ones that I and the people around me generally stick to are as follows:
1. Denial- The refusal to accept a reality or fact, acting like a painful thought or experience never existed. Many people use it in their day to day lives as an attempt to avoid dealing with painful experiences or the areas of their life which are not pleasant. They try and act like their life is great even though it is constantly falling apart. People in denial are mostly the ones who don’t believe in talking about what’s going on with the people around them.
2. Acting out- There are indeed many people who are not good at expressing themselves verbally. Acting Out is performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or feelings the person feels incapable of otherwise expressing. Instead of saying, “I’m angry with you,” a person who acts out may instead throw a book at the person, or punch a hole through a wall. When a person acts out, it can act as a pressure release calming down the person and therefore restoring peace (even if it is just for a moment or so).
3. Dissociation- A person who dissociates can “disconnect” from the real world for a time, and live in a different world that is not cluttered with thoughts, feelings or memories that are unbearable. They choose their own company over any other. They try and cancel out plans anytime they possibly can. They involve themselves in activities which block the flow of unpleasant and anxious thoughts. A person who dissociates often loses track of time or themselves and their usual thought processes. It leads to their having a weak memory.
4. Reaction Formation- Reaction Formation is the converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings or impulses into their opposites. For instance, a girl who does not like another girl for her doings and would like to scream at her may instead be overly kind and generous towards her.. She is incapable of expressing the negative emotions of anger and unhappiness with that girl, and instead becomes overly kind and sweet to her.
5. Displacement- Displacement is the redirecting of thoughts feelings and impulses directed at one person or object, but taken out upon another person or object. People often use displacement when they cannot express their feelings in a safe manner to the person they are directed at. For example, a boy gets angry at his parents, but can’t express his anger to them for the very fact that they are his parents! He instead goes to his younger sibling and yells or beats him. Naturally, this is a pretty ineffective defense mechanism, because while the anger finds a route for expression, it’s misapplication to other harmless people or objects will cause additional problems for most people.
6. Intellectualization- It is the overemphasis on thinking when confronted with an unacceptable impulse, situation or behavior without employing any emotions whatsoever to help mediate and place the thoughts into an emotional, human context. Rather than deal with the painful associated emotions, a person might employ intellectualization to distance themselves om the impulse, event or behavior.
7. Rationalization- Rationalization is putting something into a different light or offering a different explanation for one’s perceptions or behaviors in the face of a changing reality. For instance, a woman who starts dating a man she really, really likes and thinks the world of is suddenly dumped by the man for no reason. She reframes the situation in her mind with, “I suspected he was a loser all along.” Lol.
The above stated types of defense mechanism are according to Sigmund Freud’s description of how the Ego uses a range of mechanisms to handle the conflict between the Id, the Ego and the Super ego.
Now let me tell you a little about another behavior-The state of over-excitement.
Some of the signs that are exhibited by people with an inclination towards over-excitement are as below:
- A tendency towards being overly talkative, or overly expressive with their body movements, to the extent of being incoherent, repetitive, over-zealous and draining to the listener.
- A tendency towards being awkward in a social situation instead of being relaxed. Awkward behavior includes being fidgety, exhibiting a restless body language, trying to please with nervous smiles etc. Basically these are indications of becoming overly excited in a social situation instead of maintaining an inner balance.
- Tendency to be unpredictable in their moods, swinging from high moods to low moods in an erratic manner.
- Exhibiting a strong tendency towards impatience. In some cases, it’s difficult for such a person to sit still even for a few minutes without wanting to fiddle with something.
- A constant tendency towards restlessness.
- A tendency towards becoming overly passionate to the point of losing oneself in the activity or experience.
There are two polarities of over excitement- This momentum can take any form – light natured and dark natured. When it takes the light natured form you feel over-exuberant or ecstatic and when it takes the dark natured form you feel over-anxious or depressed. They are both, actually, forms of excitement (or instability), only differing polarities.
You can see how an over-excited “anxiety” state can cause you to take frantic actions in the hope of getting back to an exuberant state. You soon become a person craving the high states (or states of relief) to the extent of taking reckless actions to fuel this craving, and looking for different forms of pseudo-security from the outside.
This is natural, because the over-excited states of dark polarity are far more difficult to handle, causing the need for immediate relief. It’s common for such people to take up addictions like alcoholism, drugs or even adrenaline based entertainment. The problem lies with the fact that these distractions are used as a constant form of escape rooted in the fear of low states.
Often, people use this unstable level of over excitement to escape their own anxiety disorder which does them no good.
It’s like a never ending battle they fight where if they use over excitement as a sort of defense mechanism to overcome their anxiety disorder, they end making a fool out of themselves in public. people tend to consider them as shallow, having surface-level thinking, insincerity, recklessness and insensitivity.
And if they don’t become over excited, they are usually overcome by many irrational fears and feelings adding up to their anxiety disorder.
You know how one gets habitual to a certain way of expressing themselves that they don’t have any clue how to stop? That.
A person going through anxiety disorder and having an imbalanced level of excitement leads a difficult life everyday because both of his behavior and disorder feed on each other.
Reach out and understand.