Stepping up from the pathological defense mechanisms covered last week are the immature defense mechanisms. In this instance immature does not refer to chronological age, but that individuals with less developed defense mechanism use them. Also, these defense mechanisms are frequently demonstrated by typically developing children, they become problematic when more mature defenses are not learned.
Just like the other defense mechanisms, immature defenses are used to help individuals’ egos cope with reality. Unlike pathological defenses, immature defenses do not completely obscure reality from an individual, but those who use them still appear to be out of touch with reality (though not denying it) by outside observers. This lack of being in touch with reality can impair a person’s ability to deal with situations and lead to greater psychological problems.
The immature defenses that will be covered this week are:
- Acting out
- Wishful thinking
- Passive aggression
- Projective identification