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Defense Mechanism: Displacement,Sublimation

Defense Mechanism:

  •  Displacement
 Displacement refers to the unconscious attempt to obtain gratification for id impulses by shifting them to substitute objects if objects that would directly satisfy the impulses are not available.

 For example, a young boy who is insulted by a strong teenager may not be able to retaliate for fear that the adolescent might physically hurt him. Instead, he may vent his anger on someone smaller and weaker than he is. In this case, a substitute object is sought so that the impulse can be gratified, even though aggressing against the weaker child will not be as satisfying as aggressing against the teenage antagonist.

  • Sublimation 
Sublimation is a form of displacement in which the unacceptable id impulses themselves are transformed, rather than the object at which they aim. The unacceptable impulses are displaced by ones that are socially acceptable (A. Freud, 1946, p. 56).

 A woman with a strong need for aggression may channel her energies into activities that are socially acceptable—becoming, for example, an outstanding scientist or a world-class athlete. By so doing, she can demonstrate her superiority and domination of others, but in a way that contributes to society. In like manner, poets and painters may satisfy some of their sexual needs through their art. Freud believed that creative sublimations of human instincts are necessary if civilized society is to survive. He also believed, unfortunately, that such creativity is available only to the few people with special gifts and talents. Furthermore, in his rather pessimistic view, even the creative elite will suffer, because sublimated activities could not fully satisfy their primitive sexual and aggressive impulses.

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