Ego defense mechanisms are methods to attempt protect the self and cope with the basic drives or emotionally painful thoughts, feelings or events. Defense mechanisms are mostly operate at the unconscious level of awareness, so people are not aware of what they are doing.

Below is a list of the ego defense mechanisms.

Name Description
Compensation Over-achievement in one area to offset real or perceived deficiencies in another area
Conversion Expression of an emotional conflict through the development of a physical symptom, usually sensorimotor in nature
Denial Failure to acknowledge an unbearable condition; failure to admit the reality of a situation or how one enables the problem to continue
Displacement Ventilation of intense feelings toward persons less threatening than the one who aroused those feelings
Dissociation Dealing with emotional conflict by a temporary alteration in consciousness or identity
Fixation Immobilization of a portion of the personality resulting from unsuccessful completion of tasks in a developmental stage
Identification Modeling actions and opinions of influential others while searching for identity, or aspiring to reach a personal, social, or occupational goal
Intellectualization Separation of the emotions of a painful event or situation from the facts involved; acknowledging the facts but not the emotions
Introjection Accepting another person’s attitudes, beliefs, and values as one’s own
Projection Unconscious blaming of unacceptable inclinations or thoughts on an external object
Rationalization Excusing own behavior to avoid guilt, responsibility, conflict, anxiety, or loss of self-respect
Reaction Formation Acting the opposite of what one thinks or feels
Regression Moving back to a previous developmental stage to feel safe or have needs met
Repression Excluding emotionally painful or anxiety-provoking thoughts and feelings from conscious awareness
Resistance Overt or covert antagonism toward remembering or processing anxiety-producing information
Submlimation Substituting a socially acceptable activity for an impulse that is unacceptable
Substitution Replacing the desired gratification with one that is more readily available
Suppression Conscious exclusion of unacceptable thoughts and feelings from conscious awareness
Undoing Exhibiting acceptable behavior to make up for or negate unacceptable behavior