Rus Articles Journal

How mechanisms of psychological protection work?

the Patient on reception at the psychiatrist takes Rorshakh`s test.

- What you see in this drawing?

the Patient with nervousness peers into a black spot:

- the Beautiful naked girl moves apart legs.

- And on it?

- the Man and the woman do it in the boat.

- Well, and on it?

- Two men... Doctor and you pervert!

- I - that why?

- And why to you such book?


(The known joke) of

knows Long ago that almost its contrast is behind each excessively expressed trait of character. But the matter is that this contrast, as a rule, is not realized by the person. For example, extraordinary bravery can quite be attempt to overcome fear - and not just to overcome, and as if to change a sign from minus to plus, that is the strong fear disappears the strong neglect which is “stuck so out“ on the foreground to the life, courage etc. of

the Fear often masks also the aggression aiming to convince the carrier of these qualities of own courage (so a little doggie, going crazy from own “dreadfulness“, from a distance furiously oblaivat a large dog who can retire out of harm`s way).

All this is manifestation of special mechanisms of reaction of our mentality to irritants which are called “psychological protection“. Psychologists allocate a number of such protection, to some extent peculiar to all people. Attempt of flight with own “unworthy“, unacceptable feelings is their reason. What in ourselves we reject? What does not match our idea of itself and what is rejected by society (very often these two categories coincide) - to refuse from accepted, “correct“ there is no need. It is important that the person is not always inclined to fight with that in himself that does not suit him. Absolutely unacceptable we are inclined in general “not to notice factors“, forcing out them from consciousness. Naturally, at the same time we cease to realize their existence - but it does not mean that factors disappear, just now they work gradually.

The persistent unwillingness of the individual to recognize them in attempts to point to their existence can serve as additional confirmation of action of the hidden installations or feelings. And denial, and denial furious, protesting, emotional will be its reaction in this case not just. Degree of this emotional overexcitement at the same time, at a third-party look, is absolutely incommensurable to negligibility of an occasion. It is just that case when “on the thief the cap burns“. And here - the person feels that attributed to him he corresponds to reality, but he and himself (and not that another) is afraid to admit it. And in the light of this its excessively acute reaction is quite natural and clear - we, in fact, groped its “sore point“, and in the house of hung up do not speak about a rope.

One of the main and the most interesting from the point of view of interaction between people of mechanisms of personal protection - a projection. Here unacceptable factors not only are forced out from consciousness, but also removed“ outside, that is projected, attributed to other people. And the individual reacts to them already as on “others“ lines. It turns out, for identification of protection it is worth paying attention not only to excessive pointedness and “protrusion“ of any personal qualities, but also to continuous “vision“ of the same lines (mainly, negative) in other people.

It is quite probable that the individual in this way simply protects himself from understanding of own negative feelings and thoughts, and their negativity or inadmissibility is relative - they are those for this individual. Its assessment can coincide with the accepted social installations, but personal feeling of unacceptability is important for operation of the mechanism of a projection. So, desires of the person can contradict public norms, but quite correspond to his idea of themselves, organically keeping within a context of his personality. In this case the person can quite realize the asociality, but not feel any need internally to be protected from it.

We will get acquainted in brief and with other mechanisms of psychological protection. Denial consists in avoiding of information incompatible with image of and the world. This mechanism operates by the principle: “an eye is not seen - the stomach does not suffer“.

By other principle such mechanisms as rationalization and replacement function. Rationalization is connected with search of the reasonable explanation “justifying“ (at least, in our eyes) our unacceptable behavior. For example, in one more joke the wife saws the husband:

- When you will stop drinking?

- Masha, you know - I have no will power...

- And half a year not to sleep with the wife will power is?

Actually this quite typical behavior of the alcoholic who will surely manage to explain why he drinks. (You remember Marmeladov reveling in the sense of guilt before the daughter from the “Crime and punishment “: “I drink because I especially want to suffer!“) In other cases rationalization can carry out a constructive role, serving not concealment from itself of certain information, but change of the relation to a situation (“If to another the bride leaves, then it is unknown who was lucky“).

The mechanism of replacement transfers our reaction from object in relation to which it cannot be shown, to other object. The small employee who is completely terrorized by the administration himself in the bosom of the family turns into the house tyrant. The housewife, without daring to clash openly with the husband, breaks on children or just furiously rattles pans in a sink. At last, axiom: Lev Tolstoy chopping firewood to muffle sexual hunger.

Protective mechanisms of the personality are extremely important for psychological self-control as they allow to support mentality in dynamic balance. They reduce “time of reaction to an irritant“ and promote maintenance of internal comfort. At the same time, as any “mechanism“, they are uncontrollable and while they remain unconscious, interfere with our understanding themselves (and other people).

Automatic start of “the built-in mechanism“ of psychological protection everything is very much differs from conscious behavior at which we do not react automatically to a situation (it conducts us), and independently and actively we act in it with full understanding of what occurs here and now, in this concrete interpersonal interaction.

Therefore it is useful for the person seeking for spiritual growth and disclosure of as persons to know about mechanisms of psychological protection, to be able to trace them and if to resort to them, then it is conscious also without any tricks - at least before by itself. Only having realized own hidden impulses, it is possible to become the original owner of the feelings.