Psychology in Writing: Mature Defense Mechanisms – Introduction


Peacock Butterfly

Peacock Butterfly (Photo credit: [Duncan])

Mature defense mechanisms (you can find pathological, immature, and neurotic defense mechanisms in the archives) will be the final entry in our defense mechanism series.  Mature defenses are how we think of well-functioning adults coping with the challenges of the world.  These individuals tend to have both the ego strength and emotional reserves to navigate adequately the pressures of the Id, Super Ego, and reality without ignoring or distorting one to cope with the world.  The mature defense mechanisms help individuals feel in control, which allow them to be present in the moment and frees up emotional energy to allow them to more deeply enjoy experiences.

Despite using mature defense mechanisms, this does not mean they will not slip back to using the lower level defenses, or that someone who is primarily using lower level defenses will not use mature defenses.  The difference between a well-functioning individual and a person who is struggling more with coping with the world is that the well-functioning individual consistently uses mature defense mechanisms over time to maintain both her/his own functioning and to preserve social relationships.

The mature defense mechanisms are:


4 thoughts on “Psychology in Writing: Mature Defense Mechanisms – Introduction

  1. Mmm, I can see how any of these can be used defensively, but I wouldn’t have thought of those at the top of the list as actual defence mechanisms in the way of e.g. sublimation. And what about intellectualisation? That’s quite a biggie in my book

    • They are defense mechanisms insofar as they preserve (re: defend) the self. Check out today’s post to see what these defense mechanisms may appear like in the wild.

      As an aside, I covered intellectualization in the neurotic defense mechanisms blog posts if you’re curious.

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