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Reaction formation , Rationalization,Intellectualization

Reaction formation, Rationalization, Intellectualization

  • Reaction formation

 The conversion of an undesirable impulse into its opposite is known as reaction formation. Freud considered it a lower form of sublimation (Freud, 1938d, p. 625). A man who hates his wife and yet is exceedingly kind to her would be a pertinent example. He could be said to be killing her with kindness.

  • Rationalization

 Rationalization is the justification of behavior through the use of plausible, but inaccurate, excuses. For example, a young athlete, dropped from the team because of lack of ability, comes to the conclusion that he did not really want to be on the team because it is going to lose so many games.

  • Intellectualization 

Intellectualization is a process that allows individuals to protect themselves against unbearable pain. It involves a dissociation between one’s thoughts and feelings. For example, a woman may conjure up an elaborate rationale to explain the death of her young husband. By citing reasons and focusing on the logic of her argument, she may avoid, for a while at least, the tremendous pain associated with such a traumatic experience.

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