The Freudian defense mechanisms, which are unconscious maneuvers intended to minimize anxiety, are something that we engage in; more often than we realize. Don't you agree? I have seen Denial being exhibited by my aunt when my uncle passed away in a motorcycle accident. Denial is motivated forgetting of distressing experiences. Recently, my dad engaged in rationalization when he came to know that he might be told to retire in a few years. Rationalization is nothing but providing reasonable sounding explanations for unreasonable behaviors or failures. We knew that he was clearly upset about it because my dad is a person who doesn't like to sit at home and relax. But he kept on saying that he would enjoy his life by traveling and doing other activities that he wouldn't normally do, if he was asked to retire. I engage in rationalization whenever I get lower grades and when I fail job interviews. I use displacement, which is directing an impulse from a socially unacceptable target onto a more acceptable one, when I am stressed out. The acceptable one is either eating or running on a treadmill until I sweat it all out. Projection is also another very common one, where we unconsciously attribute our negative attributes onto others; like blaming the teacher for our poor performance in class.
Apart from these, there are other defense mechanisms like Repression, motivated forgetting of an emotional memory; Regression, returning psychologically to a younger and safer time; Reaction-Formation, transforming an anxiety producing experience into its opposite; Intellectualization, avoiding anxiety by focusing on abstract and impersonal thoughts; Sublimation, transforming a socially unacceptable impulse into an acceptable one; and Identifying with the aggressor, adopting psychological characteristics of the person we find threatening.
Which of these do you use more?