Thursday, September 8, 2016

15 Common Defense Mechanisms/Compensation

Compensation is a very common adult defense mechanism. It is used to emphasize a particular strength in place of a weakness. Compensation is one of the most effective ways to make a person look larger than life, and can help to raise self-esteem when admitting you have a weakness. Compensation is extremely effective in building other people's confidence in your abilities. One of my favorite examples of compensation is, people driving lifted trucks to make up for their genetic traits. The person may be far shorter than the national average, but they are far larger than anyone else when they are on the road.

Compensation: Compensation is a process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weaknesses by emphasizing strength in other arenas. By emphasizing and focusing on one’s strengths, a person is recognizing they cannot be strong at all things and in all areas in their lives. For instance, when a person says, “I may not know how to cook, but I can sure do the dishes!,” they’re trying to compensate for their lack of cooking skills by emphasizing their cleaning skills instead. When done appropriately and not in an attempt to over-compensate, compensation is defense mechanism that helps reinforce a person’s self-esteem and self-image. (

Have you ever had a friend that always wants to do the same activities? They are compensating for the fact that they don't know how to do other activities, and don't want to show any weaknesses when attempting something new.  A great example of compensation is, choosing where to go for a first date. A person who is not a great conversationalist may choose to do an activity such as dancing or a movie. These activities give the person an opportunity to focus on other strengths and distract from the weakness of not being able to engage in a dialogue.

Do people compensate in MLM!??!! No doubt! People use MLM to compensate for everything else in their lives. There are various versions of compensation that are dependent on your position within the MLM. Here are some of the different people who compensate in MLM:

1. Top Tier Members (TTMs) - These are the people showing videos, flashing trophies, bragging about their wealth, and continuously focusing on tangible possessions to edify themselves.  These people will exaggerate the opportunity to have success, and even suggest it is possible for everyone to have their lifestyles. They are compensating for the overwhelmingly bad statistics involved in the business by showing what you can have if you achieve their level of success.

2. Middle of the road members (MRMs) - These are the people who are just starting to turn a profit,or have a larger downline than most, but aren't even close to the top tier members. These are the people who will constantly mention retiring soon, and talk about all of the wonderful trips and free products they have gotten from the company. These people are compensating for the grueling hours, loss of friends, and lack of income after committing large amounts of time, energy, and money to the MLM.

3. New members (NMs) - These are the people with little to no downline and are losing lots of money each month on seminars, trips, tools, and standing orders. These people will have the most upbeat energy, and consistently show an outward appearance of perfect bliss. They will say they are investing in themselves, and that they are already seeing returns in their learning and friendships. These people are constantly compensating for the agonizing bills, the long nights, and the instability in their lives.

Compensation is helpful to keep people motivated and positive. However, compensation can be used to deceive and manipulate as well.


  1. Good analysis. Most people snap out of it after a short while because of the economic reality. Some people get fully indoctrinated and stay involved for a long time. My former sponsor bit hard and he's still in Amway, since 1993. I believe he went Gold in 1994 but he never got beyond that and never broke a downline "direct". His volume has fallen off but last I heard, he's still a loyal consumer of tools.

    It's a waste of his life.

    1. I would love to hear an update on your sponsor in the future. He would be a great person to interview if he ever quits. He could probably write an unbelievable autobiography on his life in Amway.

    2. My sponsor was a good friend (until after Amway). He joined sometime in 1993. He was always good at convincing people of things. He called me and talked to me about Amway. I politely declined. But I told him I would hear him out if he ever made anything out of the business. A year or two later (1995-1996?) he told me we was Gold (direct) so I let him show me the plan.

      He told me he was now set up to make at least $2000 a month residual income forever. He explained that nothing about Amway is rocket science and that I could easily accomplish what he did.

      He ended up sponsoring maybe 50 people in the time I was in the business and I'm sure he sponsored over 100 people in his tenure. Problem was most people don't do much and quit.

      He was hard core and stayed up all night working Amway and his position as a physician. He had a son and a daughter, born 1995 and 1996 I believe. They are adults now but I wonder how much of their childhood was missed chasing the Amway dream?

      In 2000 or 2001, a mutual friend of ours contacted both of us to help sell us a home. I bought a modest home for $300K, which is more than halfway paid off. My friend declined because as per upline teaching, you only buy homes in cash. My home today is worth more than $800K (real estate in Hawaii, Windward Oahu is valuable). My friend still lives in a rented home in a middle class neighborhood.

      I'll be retiring in 2 years. I'm not sure where my friend is, but since he's still chasing Amway last I heard, I guess he's a lifer. Too bad, he wasted a good portion of his life.