The Dig into Defense Mechanisms Concealing Non-Substance Addictions

The Dig into Defense Mechanisms Concealing Non-Substance Addictions

Sobriety is a long road. It involves consistent learning and active application. It will require you to delve into understanding non-substance addiction and its many different aspects that are not known to many. Developing a defense mechanism and concealing addiction is one of the many things that people know nothing about.

This is the very thing that makes sobriety a challenge. It is the very thing that blocks progression – denial. When one denies reality, one becomes unable to cope with it. Reading this article will help you to see through defense mechanisms. Knowing what it is will enable you to act accordingly.

What is a defense mechanism?

A defense mechanism is a psychological strategy that individuals unconsciously use to protect themselves from uncomfortable emotions, thoughts, or situations.

It operates on an unconscious level and becomes a way for the body to maintain psychological equilibrium as it leads to the reduction of anxiety and the management of internal conflicts. They can show up in different ways and can become automatic responses to perceived threats. 

One who tries to conceal non-substance addiction will employ a defense mechanism because it is hard to face the truth that one is already addicted to something. It takes a lot of courage for one to face reality.

It all the more becomes challenging when such a reality involves addiction.  This is why it’s important for all to become generally aware of defense mechanisms. Such knowledge will enable one to smoothly ease into sobriety. It will remove the friction that comes from the mind wanting to maintain a delusional status quo.

The following are the most common defense mechanisms used in concealing addictions:

1. Denial

Denial happens when a person refuses to accept the now. There is a refusal to accept reality. This can happen in different ways. One can simply avoid the topic or insist that it is not a big deal. This is where the problem takes place. Because the current reality is not addressed, no growth or healing can even begin to take place. 

How to help?

Ensure that there is a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Gently encourage someone who could be in denial to confront a challenge that is being denied. There should be no force or violence whatsoever. You should keep in mind that it will take a long time for a person who has been in denial to come to terms with reality. 

2. Repression

A person is repressing something when he or she pushes stressful memories, thoughts, or emotions into the unconscious. This is an effective protective mechanism as it enables a person to run away from pain or accountability. 

How to help?

You can help by providing a safe space for a person to explore his or her emotions at his or her own pace. This should not be forced or rushed.

3. Projection

Projection happens when a person attributes his feelings, thoughts, or behaviors to others. People who do this project their own unwanted qualities or insecurities to others so they may effectively avoid confronting such painful and challenging aspects head-on.

How to help?

You can help by being understanding and allowing individuals to gently explore their projections. Promote self-reflection and introspection.

4. Rationalization

This defense mechanism is done through the use of logic. A person who is rationalizing as a form of defense mechanism gives justifications or logical explanations for his or her feelings, thoughts, or actions. This effectively avoids feeling a sense of guilt or shame. 

How to help?

A person who rationalizes can be helped by giving support through the provision of a non-judgmental space where one’s justifications can be gently challenged. Encouraging one to reflect on one’s underlying motivations will be of great help. 

5. Displacement

This defense mechanism happens when a person redirects his or her behavior or emotion from the original source to a less threatening target. This allows for the release of emotional tension without having the face the real issue at hand.

How to help?

Empathy and understanding must be given. A gentle explanation of the concept can help individuals in recognizing their displacement patterns. This can in turn lead to a healthier expression and management of emotions.

6. Intellectualization

This defense mechanism is done by emotionally detaching one’s self from a distressing situation by focusing solely on analyzing matters from an intellectual perspective. This gives a superficial sense of control. However, it results in an emotional disconnect. 

How to help?

One can help by acknowledging one’s intellectual capabilities while gently encouraging an integrated emotional exploration. 

7. Avoidance

This defense mechanism is very easy to do. It simply involves the deliberate avoidance of a topic, person, or situation. It is effective in providing temporary relief. However, it effective hinders personal growth as no issues are faced head-on.

How to help?

An avoidant person can be helped by providing a safe and supportive environment that encourages emotional exploration and promotes one’s emotional strength. 

8. Sublimation

This is a subtle defense mechanism that is hard to notice because it involves the channeling of impulses or unacceptable thoughts into socially acceptable endeavors or outlets. This redirection of energy leads to productive activities but direct confrontation of actual issues never takes place.

How to help?

A person who uses sublimation as a form of defense mechanism should be encouraged to keep on doing productive goals while learning to explore and embrace their emotional landscape. They should be allowed to be ever creative but gentle reminders on the necessity of dealing with conflicts must take place.