Unconscious Defenses

The brain is automatically self-protective. When there’s any kind of pain, it tends to push it away.  So, rather than facing the pain of truth about one’s self, a tendency is to use what psychotherapists call the “mask.” Psychiatrists and psychologists call it “defense mechanism” to feel okey with what is not okey.

Once, I was counseling a man who left his wife to continue his repeated affairs and sexual activities. In front of a current single girl friend, he’d engage a married woman to “sex via texting.” When told he needed to address his “addiction,” he asked one of his partners if there’s something wrong with him. His partner said no and he agreed. He quit therapy. Denial just can’t see the problem.

Repression is the grand daddy of masks or defense mechanisms of a self-deluded, addicted person. It means that unacceptable feelings, motives, impulses or ideas are banished from consciousness, or unconscious feelings, motives, impulses or ideas are prevented from coming into consciousness. Psychotherapists would cite over 39 offsprings of repression, including denial, projecting faults in the other person, rationalizing, displacing, sexualizing, among others.

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