The Positivity in Defense

Aakriti Joanna

Published on


We all have our own defense mechanisms that we mostly use when the situation is too much for us to handle or when we are too overwhelmed. Defense mechanisms is the common way to cope with unpleasant/unacceptable emotions or behaviours. It can be healthy or unhealthy.

Here are few positive defense mechanisms that we mostly use in our daily life.

Intellectualisation- It helps in reducing anxiety by separating the emotional constituents and focussing towards facts. It overemphasises on thinking rather than emotions and helps to deal with the unacceptable situation. For example, if you are suffering from any chronic illness, instead of worrying of what is going to happen and being depressed about it you should do research on the symptoms, treatment, side effects etc. One more example can be if you are going through a break up, you can go to your favourite places or meet friends who you couldn’t meet when you were in the relationship. Intellectualising doesn’t mean that you are incapable of facing your emotions, instead you block or avoid your emotions till you are strong enough to face the situation.

Rationalisation- We tend to rationalise when we want to explain something. Rationalisation involves explaining the undesirable behaviour in a rational or a logical manner. We try to rationalise our own thoughts and behaviours to justify our own action. For example, you might be angry or in a bad mood and you rationalise by saying that there was a lot of traffic because of which you are in such a mood. Or if you feel shy to interact with new people or meet new people you might say that you prefer staying alone or you have enough friends.

Sublimation- Sublimation helps us to act out the unwanted behaviours to a more acceptable form. According to Freud, sublimation allows individuals to function normally in socially acceptable way. For example, when you are angry you might indulge yourself in vigorous exercise. Sublimation is also done using humour as it reduces the intensity of the situation. For example, in the series Friends, Chandler uses humour as his defense mechanism. When Joey and Chandler start living separately, Chandler uses his humour and pretends that he doesn’t miss Joey.

Defense mechanisms are learned behaviours, it is good to use defense mechanisms as it helps us cope up with the unpleasant situation but it is not healthy to use our defenses all the time. Using one defense mechanisms continuously is like take crocin for illnesses. As much as it helps it also harms if it is used continuously.