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defense mechanismsWe all use defense mechanisms. Many of us may not even realize that we are using them. A defense mechanism is an unconscious psychological tool people use to avoid unpleasant feelings, such as anxiety. Defense mechanisms take many forms, and learning whether you use any of them is an important part of your recovery journey and overall well-being. Once we realize we do something, we can learn how it affects our lives. 


  1. Denial

Everyone experiences denial at times. Denial may take the form of stating that you do not have an addiction or maintaining that your depression or anxiety is not affecting your overall well-being. It’s hard to work through struggles and challenges if you don’t accept that you have them. 


  1. Rationalization

Rationalizing your thought process or actions may be another defense mechanism you use. Suppose you use rationalization as a defense mechanism. In that case, you justify or explain behavior or feelings in what seems to be a logical or rational manner to avoid the real explanation.  


  1. Repression

Repression is when you actively prevent specific thoughts, memories, or impulses from entering your consciousness. We try to push our memories or feelings deep down in an attempt to keep them from affecting us. If these past events or feelings aren’t affecting us, then we don’t need to work on them. 


  1. Regression

When we regress, we cope with our stressors in a manner that sends us back into earlier developmental stages. We will start to behave and have the emotional reactions of someone younger than our chronological age. As an example, we might have a tantrum if we don’t get what we want, or we may begin to depend on another person in an excessive way.


  1. Displacement

Displacement is extremely common and something that almost everyone has done at one point or another. Displacement is redirecting a negative emotion towards a less threatening recipient. You may experience anger or sadness at one person and then direct all of your anger or sadness toward someone else. For example, your boss criticizes your work on an important project, so you fight with your partner when you get home. 


Everyone uses defense mechanisms from time to time. Often, this occurs on a subconscious level. This is our mind trying to keep us safe. However, these mechanisms are not helping you work through your mental health issues, trauma, or addiction and can stifle growth and hinder progress. Here at The Guest House, we understand that using defense mechanisms has many underlying components that need to be worked through. We are ready to help you understand what you are feeling and experiencing. Call today to learn more about the support we can offer you at (855) 483-7800.