Wednesday, September 7, 2016

15 Common Defense Mechanisms/Sublimation

Sublimation is designed to uncomfortable feelings and turn them into something that is more manageable. Sometimes it comes out in the form of laughter after an extremely difficult situation is encountered, or if the person has just received bad news. Sublimation is a more advanced way to deal with trauma and anxiety.

Sublimation: Sublimation is simply the channeling of unacceptable impulses, thoughts and emotions into more acceptable ones. For instance, when a person has sexual impulses they would like not to act upon, they may instead focus on rigorous exercise. Refocusing such unacceptable or harmful impulses into productive use helps a person channel energy that otherwise would be lost or used in a manner that might cause the person more anxiety.
Sublimation can also be done with humor or fantasy. Humor, when used as a defense mechanism, is the channeling of unacceptable impulses or thoughts into a light-hearted story or joke. Humor reduces the intensity of a situation, and places a cushion of laughter between the person and the impulses. Fantasy, when used as a defense mechanism, is the channeling of unacceptable or unattainable desires into imagination. For example, imagining one’s ultimate career goals can be helpful when one experiences temporary setbacks in academic achievement. Both can help a person look at a situation in a different way, or focus on aspects of the situation not previously explored. (
Have you ever had a friend that is constantly diminishing the severity of a situation? What I mean by this is, someone who seems to make light of a situation that would otherwise be very significant. They can do this in the form of joking, trivializing, or distracting themselves. An example of this is dealing with the death of another being (human or pet). Instead of showing sadness, a person may pretend like it never happened. The person may also make a joke, and laugh at their misfortune. These are ways to lighten the intensity of the tragedy. 
Do MLMers use sublimation??? Most definitely. MLMers are constantly focusing on the dream and the future rather than consistently negative reports of their business's financial situation. They make light of the fact that they are losing money hand over fist, or they completely ignore it. MLMers have found multiple ways to use sublimation to strengthen their resolve.  MLMers joke about the 95+% failure rates, and pretend that they are exceptions to the rule. Also, MLMers use the perceived negatives in their lives to fuel their energy and passion for the business of MLM. Finally, MLMers trivialize their losses by suggesting it is part of investing and growing their business. These forms of sublimation are all used to cope with the fact that the business is bad, the products are ordinary, and their efforts are in vain. 


  1. Does sublimation eventually turn into cognitive dissonance?

    1. I believe they are related to each other rather than cause and effect. Defense mechanisms are used to trigger cognitive dissonance in an effort to diminish or eliminate a traumatic or anxiety provoking feeling. It is much easier for someone to use a defense mechanism, especially since most activate subconsciously, than it is for people to deal with the perceived negatives (I say perceived negatives, because people have different reactions to certain situations).

      Hope this helps!