Defence Mechanism


Are you being defensive for no reason?

We’ve got to admit the fact that everyone engages in some form of self deception at least some of the time, it may be to protect yourself or someone else from some uncomfortable situation. For lack of a better word, defence mechanism is an anti virus for human beings against perceived conflict or anxiety. The stimuli could be yourself or someone else, but all of us use different ways (defence mechanism) to cope with it. 

We live in a time where everything is “get set go” and as such we have turned our biological clock into a mess- No wonder we are winded by 5 pm. Our lifestyle is so expeditious, we end up taking everything at face value and as such our response to situations, most of the times, are unwarranted. In layman’s term it means we might be using a defence mechanism even when it is not needed -as a precautionary measure, for instance we say ”Hi” or “How are you?” almost every day, but to be honest we don’t really feel it, it is just a robotic reflex of being courteous most of the time.

Defence mechanism is an automatic reflex, and learning to have some control over it might save us from making impulsive decisions – helping us understand ourselves and the people around us better. And we shall all live happily ever after (Lol. Sigh!) Wish life was that simple. But hey! Something is better than nothing right ?

If you are a psychology aficionado you can dig deeper and find numerous research papers or articles on the internet to surf through. I will warn you though – nothing is conclusive, but for sure you’ll learn something different from each read.

For those who find it depressing to go through such materials i shall try and break it down for you in this write up. I’ve handpicked a few defence mechanisms which I believe are widely in use in our everyday life as young individuals. But that doesn’t mean it is confined to a particular age group, since psychology is a very subjective topic anyone can get something out of it. 

So here is a list of defence mechanisms and my take on them, in no particular order:


This is a classic. How many of you have been caught using cell phones during lectures? I am sure many of us have (not me though, I swear!). The situation goes something like this – we end up rebutting or give a frown instead of just admitting it. We come up with so many excuses and argue like our life depends on winning the situation, throwing our sense of integrity out of the window. Why not just admit it?  Because nothing good is coming out of you denying it, it only spoils the professor’s momentum, and the next class will suffer for no fault of theirs. Lol. See the chain reaction my friend? You’ve the power to make or break someone’s day. 


This mechanism shades light on our everyday life – dodging opportunities for fear of failure, or abstaining from doing something different to avoid being judged, or assuming someone to be something they are actually not. Avoidance usually occurs because of our preconceived notions, for instance we fear approaching our HOD’s because they represent power but at the end of the day they are just normal human beings like you and me – don’t confuse their profession with their normal life. Avoiding uncomfortable situations might make you feel safe, but have you ever realized what you might be missing by doing so? I am sure we’ve all got the gist of what I am trying to sell. Face your fears! Maybe go and have a conversation with your HOD about your career etc. – Yes you should totally try that ;). 


Let’s be honest, we all day dream once in a while, just so we can cope with uncomfortable situations by removing ourselves from them, and this phenomenon according to psychology, is called dissociation. If I were to take something realistic out of it, I would say dissociating ourselves from the crowd once in a while is a healthy choice. It could be meditation, reading a book, watching a movie or anything that doesn’t strain your mind to process. I call it “ME TIME”


In this day and age, having a good sense of humour is extremely important. You never know when someone might blurt out something that will have you to raging in mere seconds (happens to me all the time).You learning to laugh it off or smile will not only save your day but will prevent you from saying something stupid out of impulse.



Humility is not only admirable but it also helps you to lower your expectations and as such gives you more space to focus and stay in the moment. Humility as a defence mechanism encourages you to stay unaffected by negative criticism or a high opinion for that matter. It motivates you to cooperate with other people and enables to pacify stressors.

In the balance, my opinion would be learn to smile. It not only makes your day but it also enriches and encourages people who encounter you to be positive. Learning to inculcate the habit of acceptance will not only help you to get through rough times but it will also present you as a person with principles.


I hope this write-up gives you the nudge to reflect on yourself and help you to live at peace with yourself and people around you.

Lastly, as I always say, we are all works in progress, so never stop learning and never lose the drive to be better than yesterday.