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Freud Defense mechanism ( repression )

Defense Mechanisms 

The person needs protection from anxiety because it is a highly unpleasant state that signals danger to the ego (self). The danger may be that the person’s instinctual impulses are out of control and are threatening to overwhelm him or her; or the danger may arise because the individual fears punishment from his or her conscience for thinking about doing something that the superego considers wrong; or the threat may come from an outside source in the environment (for example, the death of a parent, severe injury in a car accident, the rejection by a boyfriend or girlfriend). 
In the face of these dangers, the person’s ego unconsciously attempts to regain control by activating defensive processes. 

These defense mechanisms can serve a useful purpose in that they protect the person against pain. They are normal and universally used reactions to pain. The primary defenses are as follows:


 Repression is an attempt by the ego to keep undesirable id impulses from reaching consciousness. In the course of analyzing dreams, Freud discovered that certain thoughts were blocked from consciousness—repressed—because they were too painful to acknowledge, and that attempts to make patients aware of these experiences met with resistance. In Freudian terms, the battle for supremacy between the ego and the id involved an opposition between energy forces. The driving forces he called cathexes; the restraining forces, anti-cathexes

In other words, certain unconscious wishes or ideas were energized and strove for expression in consciousness but were met by other ideas energized by restraining forces seated in the ego. If the ego forces dominated, the wishes would be repressed—that is, forced back into the unconscious. If the id forces dominated, the person would act out his or her socially unacceptable impulses. For example, a woman who hated her father might repress her hostility and anger, and thus be totally unaware of her actual feelings. If these feelings broke through to the surface, the individual might physically attack her father or even try to kill him. The battle would be centered on her attempts to express her feelings and the ego’s attempt to store press them because their expression could lead to serious problems. The ego would attempt to protect the individual by forcing her to keep her unpleasant thoughts repressed.

 Freud considered repression the most fundamental of all defense mechanisms. As he put it, “the theory of repression is the pillar upon which the edifice of psychoanalysis rests” (Freud, 1938a, p. 939). Repression occurs entirely on an unconscious level and involves preventing unpleasant experiences that are repulsive to the ego from reaching consciousness. Repressed memories are not under the conscious control of the person.

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