We've all experienced tense situations where we felt great anxiety feelings such as fear and apprehension. Anxiety is a warning of impending real or imagined dangers as well as a painful experience and it forces an individual to take corrective action.
Often, the ego can cope with objective anxiety through rational measures. However, neurotic and moral anxiety, because they are unconscious usually cannot be dealt with through rational measures.
In these cases the ego resorts to irrational protective measures that are referred to as ego-defense mechanisms.
The function of ego-defense mechanisms is to discharge or sooth anxiety, but they do so by helping a person push painful ideas out of consciousness instead of dealing directly with the problem. Eventually, these mechanisms result in a distorted view of reality.
Displacement: discharging pent-up feelings often of hostility on objects less dangerous than those arousing the feelings.
Example: A husband having a bad day at work comes home takes his anger out on his wife, then the wife takes it out on the the children, which result in a vicious cycle. Communication is key in this type of situation to prevent a cycle of violence in the home.
Projection: Attributing one's unacceptable motives or characteristics to others.
Example: A single mother telling her daughter that she doesn't need a man in her life to make her happy, and she is willing to live independently without a male figure in her life. Now, that is a bit extreme in my opinion because evidently the mother is projecting her personalized negative experience with men onto her daughter.
Rationalization: using continued "explanations" to conceal or disguise unworthy motives for one's behavior.
Attributing one's achievement to their own qualities and skills while failures are blamed on other people or outside forces.
Example: A student who gets a poor score on an exam might blame it on the instructor rather than on his or her lack of preparation.
Reaction Formation: Preventing the awareness or expression of unacceptable desires by an exaggerated adoption of seemingly opposite behavior.
Example1: Like "some" married women who love to brag about their married life how their husbands can't stand to be distant from them or the many times their husbands have expressed their love for them. Sadly, it is overdone, extravagant, showy, and affected. Which tells you these ladies are full of crap! :-)) But its sad at the same time because their life is empty and full of anxiety. The fear of possible infidelity on part of the husband my lead to this type of behavior.
Example 2: Treating someone you strongly dislike in an excessively friendly manner.
Regression: retreating to an earlier development level involving less mature behavior and responsibilities.
Example: Lol.....lets all be honest now i think we've all been through this phase.
If you don't get your way, you throw a big fit! :-)) Do you remember the many times you stamped your foot on the floor or throwing your self on the bed. Been there done that ;-) Lol
Repression: preventing painful or dangerous thoughts from entering consciousness.
Example: Like someone who was sexually assaulted.
Sublimation: channeling frustration or anger or sexual energy into substitutive activities.
Example: A man that exhibits high levels of anger/frustration can involve himself in activities such as sports. In Islam it is advised of single men and women to fast in order to control their sexual desires. This way their focus is reverted to the spiritual aspect.
Foremost, understanding our behavior is key to understanding our selves as human beings. Therefore, being aware of our actions reflect our personality.
Be observant of others behavior and instead of judging you'll have a better understanding instead.
Shrink say's: "Talking is the best medicine." Find someone you trust and feel comfortable with and pour out your thoughts and feeling to. Trust me you will feel better after wards. We all need a shoulder to lean on :-))